Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

in withered leaves, that no chilling drops might reach them; and

safely dreamed the flowers, till summer winds should call them forth;

while lighter grew each Fairy heart, as every gentle deed was

tenderly performed.

At length the snow was gone, and they heard little voices calling them

to come up; but patiently they worked, till seed and root were green

and strong. Then, with eager feet, they hastened to the earth above,

where, over hill and valley, bright flowers and budding trees smiled

in the warm sunlight, blossoms bent lovingly before them, and rang

their colored bells, till the fragrant air was full of music; while

the stately trees waved their great arms above them, and scattered

soft leaves at their feet.

Then came the merry birds, making the wood alive with their gay

voices, calling to one another, as they flew among the vines,

building their little homes. Long waited the Elves, and at last

she came with Father Brown-Breast. Happy days passed; and

summer flowers were in their fullest beauty, when Bud bade the Fairies

come with her.

Mounted on bright-winged butterflies, they flew over forest and

meadow, till with joyful eyes they saw the flower-crowned walls

of Fairy-Land.

Before the gates they stood, and soon troops of loving Elves

came forth to meet them. And on through the sunny gardens they went,

into the Lily Hall, where, among the golden stamens of a graceful

flower, sat the Queen; while on the broad, green leaves around it

stood the brighteyed little maids of honor.

Then, amid the deep silence, little Bud, leading the Fairies to the

throne, said,–

“Dear Queen, I here bring back your subjects, wiser for their sorrow,

better for their hard trial; and now might any Queen be proud of them,

and bow to learn from them that giving joy and peace to others

brings it fourfold to us, bearing a double happiness in the blessings

to those we help. Through the dreary months, when they might have

dwelt among fair Southern flowers, beneath a smiling sky, they toiled

in the dark and silent earth, filling the hearts of the gentle Flower

Spirits with grateful love, seeking no reward but the knowledge of

their own good deeds, and the joy they always bring. This they have

done unmurmuringly and alone; and now, far and wide, flower blessings

fall upon them, and the summer winds bear the glad tidings unto those

who droop in sorrow, and new joy and strength it brings, as they look

longingly for the friends whose gentle care hath brought such

happiness to their fair kindred.

“Are they not worthy of your love, dear Queen? Have they not won

their lovely home? Say they are pardoned, and you have gained

the love of hearts pure as the snow-white robes now folded over them.”

As Bud ceased, she touched the wondering Fairies with her wand,

and the dark faded garments fell away; and beneath, the robes

of lily-leaves glittered pure and spotless in the sun-light.

Then, while happy tears fell, Queen Dew-Drop placed the bright crowns

on the bowed heads of the kneeling Fairies, and laid before them

the wands their own good deeds had rendered powerful.

They turned to thank little Bud for all her patient love,

but she was gone; and high above, in the clear air, they saw

the little form journeying back to the quiet forest.

She needed no reward but the joy she had given. The Fairy hearts

were pure again, and her work was done; yet all Fairy-Land had learned

a lesson from gentle little Bud.

“Now, little Sunbeam, what have you to tell us?” said the Queen,

looking down on a bright-eyed Elf, who sat half hidden in the deep

moss at her feet.

“I too, like Star-Twinkle, have nothing but a song to offer,”

replied the Fairy; and then, while the nightingale’s sweet voice

mingled with her own, she sang,–


IN a quiet, pleasant meadow,

Beneath a summer sky,

Where green old trees their branches waved,

And winds went singing by;

Where a little brook went rippling

So musically low,

And passing clouds cast shadows

On the waving grass below;

Where low, sweet notes of brooding birds

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May