his weary wings could bear him no longer, it was in vain. So, faint
and sad, he lay down to rest on a broad vine-leaf, that fluttered
gently in the wind; and as he lay, he saw beneath him the home
of the kind bees whom he had so disturbed, and Lily-Bell had helped
“I will seek to win their pardon, and show them that I am no longer
the cruel Fairy who so harmed them,” thought Thistle, “and when they
become again my friends, I will ask their help to find the Air
Spirits; and if I deserve it, they will gladly aid me on my way.”
So he flew down into the field below, and hastened busily from
flower to flower, till he had filled a tiny blue-bell with sweet,
fresh honey. Then he stole softly to the hive, and, placing it near
the door, concealed himself to watch. Soon his friend Nimble-Wing
came flying home, and when he spied the little cup, he hummed with
joy, and called his companions around him.
“Surely, some good Elf has placed it here for us,” said they; “let us
bear it to our Queen; it is so fresh and fragrant it will be a fit
gift for her”; and they joyfully took it in, little dreaming who had
placed it there.
So each day Thistle filled a flower-cup, and laid it at the door;
and each day the bees wondered more and more, for many strange things
happened. The field-flowers told of the good spirit who watched
above them, and the birds sang of the same kind little Elf bringing
soft moss for their nests, and food for their hungry young ones;
while all around the hive had grown fairer since the Fairy came.
But the bees never saw him, for he feared he had not yet done enough
to win their forgiveness and friendship; so he lived alone among the
vines, daily bringing them honey, and doing some kindly action.
At length, as he lay sleeping in a flower-bell, a little bee came
wandering by, and knew him for the wicked Thistle; so he called his
friends, and, as they flew murmuring around him, he awoke.
“What shall we do to you, naughty Elf?” said they. “You are in
our power, and we will sting you if you are not still.”
“Let us close the flower-leaves around him and leave him here
to starve,” cried one, who had not yet forgotten all the sorrow
Thistle had caused them long ago.
“No, no, that were very cruel, dear Buzz,” said little Hum; “let us
take him to our Queen, and she will tell us how to show our anger for
the wicked deeds he did. See how bitterly he weeps; be kind to him,
he will not harm us more.
“You good little Hum!” cried a kind-hearted robin who had hopped near
to listen to the bees. “Dear friends, do you not know that this is
the good Fairy who has dwelt so quietly among us, watching over bird
and blossom, giving joy to all he helps? It is HE who brings the
honey-cup each day to you, and then goes silently away, that you may
never know who works so faithfully for you. Be kind to him, for if
he has done wrong, he has repented of it, as you may see.”
“Can this be naughty Thistle?” said Nimble-Wing.
“Yes, it is I,” said Thistle, “but no longer cruel and unkind. I have
tried to win your love by patient industry. Ah, trust me now, and you
shall see I am not naughty Thistle any more.”
Then the wondering bees led him to their Queen, and when he had told
his tale, and begged their forgiveness, it was gladly given; and
all strove to show him that he was loved and trusted. Then he asked
if they could tell him where the Air Spirits dwelt, for he must not
forget dear Lily-Bell; and to his great joy the Queen said, “Yes,”
and bade little Hum guide Thistle to Cloud-Land.
Little Hum joyfully obeyed; and Thistle followed him, as he flew
higher and higher among the soft clouds, till in the distance they saw