a radiant light.
“There is their home, and I must leave you now, dear Thistle,” said
the little bee; and, bidding him farewell, he flew singing back; while
Thistle, following the light, soon found himself in the Air Spirits’
The sky was gold and purple like an autumn sunset, and long walls of
brilliant clouds lay round him. A rosy light shone through the silver
mist, on gleaming columns and the rainbow roof; soft, fragrant winds
went whispering by, and airy little forms were flitting to and fro.
Long Thistle wondered at the beauty round him; and then he went
among the shining Spirits, told his tale, and asked a gift.
But they answered like the Earth Spirits. “You must serve us first,
and then we will gladly give you a robe of sunlight like our own ”
And then they told him how they wafted flower-seeds over the earth,
to beautify and brighten lonely spots; how they watched above the
blossoms by day, and scattered dews at night, brought sunlight
into darkened places, and soft winds to refresh and cheer.
“These are the things we do,” said they, ” and you must aid us
for a time.”
And Thistle gladly went with the lovely Spirits; by day he joined
the sunlight and the breeze in their silent work; by night, with
Star-Light and her sister spirits, he flew over the moon-lit earth,
dropping cool dew upon the folded flowers, and bringing happy dreams
to sleeping mortals. Many a kind deed was done, many a gentle word
was spoken; and each day lighter grew his heart, and stronger his
power of giving joy to others.
At length Star-Light bade him work no more, and gladly gave him
the gift he had won. Then his second task was done, and he flew gayly
back to the green earth and slumbering Lily-Bell.
The silvery moonlight shone upon her, as he came to give his second
gift; and the Brownie spoke more kindly than before.
“One more trial, Thistle, and she will awake. Go bravely forth and
win your last and hardest gift.”
Then with a light heart Thistle journeyed away to the brooks and
rivers, seeking the Water Spirits. But he looked in vain; till,
wandering through the forest where the Brownies took him captive,
he stopped beside the quiet lake.
As he stood here he heard a sound of pain, and, looking in the tall
grass at his side, he saw the dragon-fly whose kindness he once
repayed by pain and sorrow, and who now lay suffering and alone.
Thistle bent tenderly beside him, saying, “Dear Flutter, do not
fear me. I will gladly ease your pain, if you will let me; I am your
friend, and long to show you how I grieve for all the wrong I did you,
when you were so kind to me. Forgive, and let me help and comfort
Then he bound up the broken wing, and spoke so tenderly that Flutter
doubted him no longer, and was his friend again.
Day by day did Thistle watch beside him, making little beds of
cool, fresh moss for him to rest upon, fanning him when he slept,
and singing sweet songs to cheer him when awake. And often when
poor Flutter longed to be dancing once again over the blue waves,
the Fairy bore him in his arms to the lake, and on a broad leaf,
with a green flag for a sail, they floated on the still water; while
the dragon-fly’s companions flew about them, playing merry games.
At length the broken wing was well, and Thistle said he must again
seek the Water Spirits. “I can tell you where to find them,” said
Flutter; “you must follow yonder little brook, and it will lead you
to the sea, where the Spirits dwell. I would gladly do more for you,
dear Thistle, but I cannot, for they live deep beneath the waves.
You will find some kind friend to aid you on your way; and so
Thistle followed the little brook, as it flowed through field and
valley, growing ever larger, till it reached the sea. Here the wind
blew freshly, and the great waves rolled and broke at Thistle’s feet,