and they brought sad memories of green old forests, and sunny fields,
to the lonely little Fairy floating on the great, wild sea.
Day after day went by, and slowly Thistle’s task drew towards an end.
Busily toiled the coral-workers, but more busily toiled he; insect
and Spirit daily wondered more and more, at the industry and patience
of the silent little Elf, who had a friendly word for all, though
he never joined them in their sport.
Higher and higher grew the coral-boughs, and lighter grew the Fairy’s
heart, while thoughts of dear Lily-Bell cheered him on, as day by day
he steadily toiled; and when at length the sun shone on his work,
and it was done, he stayed but to take the garland he had won, and
to thank the good Spirits for their love and care. Then up through
the cold, blue waves he swiftly glided, and, shaking the bright drops
from his wings, soared singing up to the sunny sky.
On through the fragrant air went Thistle, looking with glad face
upon the fair, fresh earth below, where flowers looked smiling up,
and green trees bowed their graceful heads as if to welcome him. Soon
the forest where Lily-Bell lay sleeping rose before him, and as he
passed along the cool, dim wood-paths, never had they seemed so fair.
But when he came where his little friend had slept, it was no longer
the dark, silent spot where he last saw her. Garlands hung from every
tree, and the fairest flowers filled the air with their sweet breath.
Bird’s gay voices echoed far and wide, and the little brook went
singing by, beneath the arching ferns that bent above it; green
leaves rustled in the summer wind, and the air was full of music.
But the fairest sight was Lily-Bell, as she lay on the couch of
velvet moss that Fairy hands had spread. The golden flower lay
beside her, and the glittering robe was folded round her little form.
The warmest sunlight fell upon her, and the softest breezes lifted
her shining hair.
Happy tears fell fast, as Thistle folded his arms around her,
crying, “O Lily-Bell, dear Lily-Bell, awake! I have been true to you,
and now my task is done.”
Then, with a smile, Lily-Bell awoke, and looked with wondering eyes
upon the beauty that had risen round her.
“Dear Thistle, what mean these fair things, and why are we in this
“Listen, Lily-Bell,” said the Brownie King, as he appeared beside her.
And then he told all that Thistle had done to show his love for her;
how he had wandered far and wide to seek the Fairy gifts, and toiled
long and hard to win them; how he had been loving, true, and tender,
when most lonely and forsaken.
“Bird, bee, and blossom have forgiven him, and none is more loved
and trusted now by all, than the once cruel Thistle,” said the King,
as he bent down to the happy Elf, who bowed low before him.
“You have learned the beauty of a gentle, kindly heart, dear Thistle;
and you are now worthy to become the friend of her for whom you have
done so much. Place the crown upon her head, for she is Queen of all
the Forest Fairies now.”
And as the crown shone on the head that Lily-Bell bent down on
Thistle’s breast, the forest seemed alive with little forms, who
sprang from flower and leaf, and gathered round her, bringing gifts
for their new Queen.
“If I am Queen, then you are King, dear Thistle,” said the Fairy.
“Take the crown, and I will have a wreath of flowers. You have toiled
and suffered for my sake, and you alone should rule over these little
Elves whose love you have won.”
“Keep your crown, Lily-Bell, for yonder come the Spirits with their
gifts to Thistle,” said the Brownie. And, as he pointed with his
wand, out from among the mossy roots of an old tree came trooping
the Earth Spirits, their flower-bells ringing softly as they came,
and their jewelled garments glittering in the sun. On to where
Thistledown stood beneath the shadow of the flowers, with Lily-Bell