Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

her shining hair and softly kissed her cheek, while the sunbeams,

looking most kindly in her face, made little rainbows in her tears,

and lingered lovingly about her. But Annie paid no heed to sun,

or wind, or flower; still the bright tears fell, and she forgot

all but her sorrow.

“Little Annie, tell me why you weep,” said a low voice in her ear;

and, looking up, the child beheld a little figure standing on a

vine-leaf at her side; a lovely face smiled on her, from amid

bright locks of hair, and shining wings were folded on a white and

glittering robe, that fluttered in the wind.

“Who are you, lovely little thing?” cried Annie, smiling through

her tears.

“I am a Fairy, little child, and am come to help and comfort you; now

tell me why you weep, and let me be your friend,” replied the spirit,

as she smiled more kindly still on Annie’s wondering face.

“And are you really, then, a little Elf, such as I read of

in my fairy books? Do you ride on butterflies, sleep in flower-cups,

and live among the clouds?”

“Yes, all these things I do, and many stranger still, that all

your fairy books can never tell; but now, dear Annie,” said the Fairy,

bending nearer, “tell me why I found no sunshine on your face; why are

these great drops shining on the flowers, and why do you sit alone

when BIRD and BEE are calling you to play?”

“Ah, you will not love me any more if I should tell you all,”

said Annie, while the tears began to fall again; “I am not happy,

for I am not good; how shall I learn to be a patient, gentle child?

good little Fairy, will you teach me how?”

“Gladly will I aid you, Annie, and if you truly wish to be

a happy child, you first must learn to conquer many passions that

you cherish now, and make your heart a home for gentle feelings and

happy thoughts; the task is hard, but I will give this fairy flower

to help and counsel you. Bend hither, that I may place it in your

breast; no hand can take it hence, till I unsay the spell that

holds it there.”

As thus she spoke, the Elf took from her bosom a graceful flower,

whose snow-white leaves shone with a strange, soft light. “This is

a fairy flower,” said the Elf, “invisible to every eye save yours;

now listen while I tell its power, Annie. When your heart is filled

with loving thoughts, when some kindly deed has been done, some duty

well performed, then from the flower there will arise the sweetest,

softest fragrance, to reward and gladden you. But when an unkind word

is on your lips, when a selfish, angry feeling rises in your heart,

or an unkind, cruel deed is to be done, then will you hear the soft,

low chime of the flower-bell; listen to its warning, let the word

remain unspoken, the deed undone, and in the quiet joy of your own

heart, and the magic perfume of your bosom flower, you will find

a sweet reward.”

“O kind and generous Fairy, how can I ever thank you for this lovely

gift!” cried Annie. “I will be true, and listen to my little bell

whenever it may ring. But shall I never see YOU more? Ah! if you

would only stay with me, I should indeed be good.”

“I cannot stay now, little Annie,” said the Elf, “but when

another Spring comes round, I shall be here again, to see how well

the fairy gift has done its work. And now farewell, dear child;

be faithful to yourself, and the magic flower will never fade.”

Then the gentle Fairy folded her little arms around Annie’s neck,

laid a soft kiss on her cheek, and, spreading wide her shining wings,

flew singing up among the white clouds floating in the sky.

And little Annie sat among her flowers, and watched with wondering joy

the fairy blossom shining on her breast.

The pleasant days of Spring and Summer passed away, and in

little Annie’s garden Autumn flowers were blooming everywhere,

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May