Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

among the leaves as he passed.

This grieved poor Thistle, and he longed to tell them how changed

he had become; but they would not listen. So he tried to show, by

quiet deeds of kindness, that he meant no harm to them; and soon

the kind-hearted birds pitied the lonely Fairy, and when he came near

sang cheering songs, and dropped ripe berries in his path, for he

no longer broke their eggs, or hurt their little ones.

And when the flowers saw this, and found the once cruel Elf now

watering and tending little buds, feeding hungry insects, and

helping the busy ants to bear their heavy loads, they shared the pity

of the birds, and longed to trust him; but they dared not yet.

He came one day, while wandering through the garden, to the little

rose he had once harmed so sadly. Many buds now bloomed beside her,

and her soft face glowed with motherly pride, as she bent fondly over

them. But when Thistle came, he saw with sorrow how she bade them

close their green curtains, and conceal themselves beneath the leaves,

for there was danger near; and, drooping still more closely over them,

she seemed to wait with trembling fear the cruel Fairy’s coming.

But no rude hand tore her little ones away, no unkind words were

spoken; but a soft shower of dew fell lightly on them, and Thistle,

bending tenderly above them, said,–

“Dear flower, forgive the sorrow I once brought you, and trust me now

for Lily-Bell’s sake. Her gentleness has changed my cruelty to

kindness, and I would gladly repay all for the harm I have done;

but none will love and trust me now.”

Then the little rose looked up, and while the dew-drops shone

like happy tears upon her leaves, she said,–

“I WILL love and trust you, Thistle, for you are indeed much

changed. Make your home among us, and my sister flowers will soon

learn to love you as you deserve. Not for sweet Lily-Bell’s sake,

but for your own, will I become your friend; for you are kind and

gentle now, and worthy of our love. Look up, my little ones, there is

no danger near; look up, and welcome Thistle to our home.”

Then the little buds raised their rosy faces, danced again upon

their stems, and nodded kindly at Thistle, who smiled on them through

happy tears, and kissed the sweet, forgiving rose, who loved and

trusted him when most forlorn and friendless.

But the other flowers wondered among themselves, and Hyacinth said,–

“If Rose-Leaf is his friend, surely we may be; yet still I fear he may

soon grow weary of this gentleness, and be again the wicked Fairy he

once was, and we shall suffer for our kindness to him now.”

“Ah, do not doubt him!” cried warm-hearted little Mignonette; “surely

some good spirit has changed the wicked Thistle into this good little

Elf. See how tenderly he lifts aside the leaves that overshadow pale

Harebell, and listen now how softly he sings as he rocks little

Eglantine to sleep. He has done many friendly things, though none

save Rose-Leaf has been kind to him, and he is very sad. Last night

when I awoke to draw my curtains closer, he sat weeping in the

moonlight, so bitterly, I longed to speak a kindly word to him.

Dear sisters, let us trust him.”

And they all said little Mignonette was right; and, spreading wide

their leaves, they bade him come, and drink their dew, and lie among

the fragrant petals, striving to cheer his sorrow. Thistle told them

all, and, after much whispering together, they said,–

“Yes, we will help you to find the Earth Spirits, for you are striving

to be good, and for love of Lily-Bell we will do much for you.”

So they called a little bright-eyed mole, and said, “Downy-Back,

we have given you a pleasant home among our roots, and you are

a grateful little friend; so will you guide dear Thistle to the

Earth Spirits’ home?”

Downy-Back said, “Yes,” and Thistle, thanking the kindly flowers,

followed his little guide, through long, dark galleries, deeper

and deeper into the ground; while a glow-worm flew before to light

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May