they cried, “Love and little Violet.”
Then down from the throne, hand in hand, came the Queen and Violet,
and till the moon sank did the Fairies toil, to weave a wreath
of the fairest flowers. Tenderly they gathered them, with the
night-dew fresh upon their leaves, and as they wove chanted sweet
spells, and whispered fairy blessings on the bright messengers
whom they sent forth to die in a dreary land, that their gentle
kindred might bloom unharmed.
At length it was done; and the fair flowers lay glowing
in the soft starlight, while beside them stood the Fairies, singing
to the music of the wind-harps:–
“We are sending you, dear flowers,
Forth alone to die,
Where your gentle sisters may not weep
O’er the cold graves where you lie;
But you go to bring them fadeless life
In the bright homes where they dwell,
And you softly smile that ‘t is so,
As we sadly sing farewell.
O plead with gentle words for us,
And whisper tenderly
Of generous love to that cold heart,
And it will answer ye;
And though you fade in a dreary home,
Yet loving hearts will tell
Of the joy and peace that you have given:
Flowers, dear flowers, farewell!”
The morning sun looked softly down upon the broad green earth,
which like a mighty altar was sending up clouds of perfume from its
breast, while flowers danced gayly in the summer wind, and birds sang
their morning hymn among the cool green leaves. Then high above,
on shining wings, soared a little form. The sunlight rested softly
on the silken hair, and the winds fanned lovingly the bright face,
and brought the sweetest odors to cheer her on.
Thus went Violet through the clear air, and the earth looked
smiling up to her, as, with the bright wreath folded in her
arms, she flew among the soft, white clouds.
On and on she went, over hill and valley, broad rivers and
rustling woods, till the warm sunlight passed away, the winds
grew cold, and the air thick with falling snow. Then far below
she saw the Frost-King’s home. Pillars of hard, gray ice supported
the high, arched roof, hung with crystal icicles. Dreary gardens
lay around, filled with withered flowers and bare, drooping trees;
while heavy clouds hung low in the dark sky, and a cold wind
murmured sadly through the wintry air.
With a beating heart Violet folded her fading wreath more closely
to her breast, and with weary wings flew onward to the dreary palace.
Here, before the closed doors, stood many forms with dark faces and
harsh, discordant voices, who sternly asked the shivering little Fairy
why she came to them.
Gently she answered, telling them her errand, beseeching them
to let her pass ere the cold wind blighted her frail blossoms.
Then they flung wide the doors, and she passed in.
Walls of ice, carved with strange figures, were around her;
glittering icicles hung from the high roof, and soft, white snow
covered the hard floors. On a throne hung with clouds sat
the Frost-King; a crown of crystals bound his white locks, and
a dark mantle wrought with delicate frost-work was folded over
his cold breast.
His stern face could not stay little Violet, and on through
the long hall she went, heedless of the snow that gathered on
her feet, and the bleak wind that blew around her; while the King
with wondering eyes looked on the golden light that played upon the
dark walls as she passed.
The flowers, as if they knew their part, unfolded their bright leaves,
and poured forth their sweetest perfume, as, kneeling at the throne,
the brave little Fairy said,–
“O King of blight and sorrow, send me not away till I have
brought back the light and joy that will make your dark home bright
and beautiful again. Let me call back to the desolate gardens the
fair forms that are gone, and their soft voices blessing you will
bring to your breast a never failing joy. Cast by your icy crown
and sceptre, and let the sunlight of love fall softly on your heart.
“Then will the earth bloom again in all its beauty, and your dim eyes