Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

with each day’s sun and dew growing still more beautiful and bright;

but the fairy flower, that should have been the loveliest of all,

hung pale and drooping on little Annie’s bosom; its fragrance seemed

quite gone, and the clear, low music of its warning chime rang often

in her ear.

When first the Fairy placed it there, she had been pleased with

her new gift, and for a while obeyed the fairy bell, and often tried

to win some fragrance from the flower, by kind and pleasant words

and actions; then, as the Fairy said, she found a sweet reward in

the strange, soft perfume of the magic blossom, as it shone upon her

breast; but selfish thoughts would come to tempt her, she would yield,

and unkind words fell from her lips; and then the flower drooped pale

and scentless, the fairy bell rang mournfully, Annie would forget

her better resolutions, and be again a selfish, wilful little child.

At last she tried no longer, but grew angry with the faithful flower,

and would have torn it from her breast; but the fairy spell still

held it fast, and all her angry words but made it ring a louder,

sadder peal. Then she paid no heed to the silvery music sounding

in her ear, and each day grew still more unhappy, discontented,

and unkind; so, when the Autumn days came round, she was no better

for the gentle Fairy’s gift, and longed for Spring, that it might

be returned; for now the constant echo of the mournful music made her

very sad.

One sunny morning, when the fresh, cool Winds were blowing,

and not a cloud was in the sky, little Annie walked among her flowers,

looking carefully into each, hoping thus to find the Fairy, who alone

could take the magic blossom from her breast. But she lifted up their

drooping leaves, peeped into their dewy cups in vain; no little Elf

lay hidden there, and she turned sadly from them all, saying, “I will

go out into the fields and woods, and seek her there. I will not

listen to this tiresome music more, nor wear this withered flower

longer.” So out into the fields she went, where the long grass

rustled as she passed, and timid birds looked at her from their nests;

where lovely wild-flowers nodded in the wind, and opened wide their

fragrant leaves, to welcome in the murmuring bees, while butterflies,

like winged flowers, danced and glittered in the sun.

Little Annie looked, searched, and asked them all if any one

could tell her of the Fairy whom she sought; but the birds looked

wonderingly at her with their soft, bright eyes, and still sang on;

the flowers nodded wisely on their stems, but did not speak,

while butterfly and bee buzzed and fluttered away, one far too busy,

the other too idle, to stay and tell her what she asked.

Then she went through broad fields of yellow grain, that waved

around her like a golden forest; here crickets chirped, grasshoppers

leaped, and busy ants worked, but they could not tell her what

she longed to know.

“Now will I go among the hills,” said Annie, “she may be there.”

So up and down the green hill-sides went her little feet; long she

searched and vainly she called; but still no Fairy came. Then

by the river-side she went, and asked the gay dragon-flies, and the

cool white lilies, if the Fairy had been there; but the blue waves

rippled on the white sand at her feet, and no voice answered her.

Then into the forest little Annie went; and as she passed along the

dim, cool paths, the wood-flowers smiled up in her face, gay squirrels

peeped at her, as they swung amid the vines, and doves cooed softly

as she wandered by; but none could answer her. So, weary with

her long and useless search, she sat amid the ferns, and feasted

on the rosy strawberries that grew beside her, watching meanwhile

the crimson evening clouds that glowed around the setting sun.

The night-wind rustled through the boughs, rocking the flowers

to sleep; the wild birds sang their evening hymns, and all within

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May