Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

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

lovely place?”

“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

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May