Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

the wood grew calm and still; paler and paler grew the purple light,

lower and lower drooped little Annie’s head, the tall ferns bent

to shield her from the dew, the whispering pines sang a soft lullaby;

and when the Autumn moon rose up, her silver light shone on the child,

where, pillowed on green moss, she lay asleep amid the wood-flowers

in the dim old forest.

And all night long beside her stood the Fairy she had sought, and

by elfin spell and charm sent to the sleeping child this dream.

Little Annie dreamed she sat in her own garden, as she had often

sat before, with angry feelings in her heart, and unkind words upon

her lips. The magic flower was ringing its soft warning, but she paid

no heed to anything, save her own troubled thoughts; thus she sat,

when suddenly a low voice whispered in her ear,–

“Little Annie, look and see the evil things that you are cherishing;

I will clothe in fitting shapes the thoughts and feelings that now

dwell within your heart, and you shall see how great their power

becomes, unless you banish them for ever.”

Then Annie saw, with fear and wonder, that the angry words she uttered

changed to dark, unlovely forms, each showing plainly from what fault

or passion it had sprung. Some of the shapes had scowling faces and

bright, fiery eyes; these were the spirits of Anger. Others, with

sullen, anxious looks, seemed gathering up all they could reach, and

Annie saw that the more they gained, the less they seemed to have;

and these she knew were shapes of Selfishness. Spirits of Pride were

there, who folded their shadowy garments round them, and turned

scornfully away from all the rest. These and many others

little Annie saw, which had come from her own heart, and taken form

before her eyes.

When first she saw them, they were small and weak; but as she looked

they seemed to grow and gather strength, and each gained a

strange power over her. She could not drive them from her sight,

and they grew ever stronger, darker, and more unlovely to her eyes.

They seemed to cast black shadows over all around, to dim the

sunshine, blight the flowers, and drive away all bright and lovely

things; while rising slowly round her Annie saw a high, dark wal],

that seemed to shut out everything she loved; she dared not move,

or speak, but, with a strange fear at her heart, sat watching the dim

shapes that hovered round her.

Higher and higher rose the shadowy wall, slowly the flowers near her

died, lingeringly the sunlight faded; but at last they both were gone,

and left her all alone behind the gloomy wall. Then the spirits

gathered round her, whispering strange things in her ear, bidding her

obey, for by her own will she had yielded up her heart to be their

home, and she was now their slave. Then she could hear no more, but,

sinking down among the withered flowers, wept sad and bitter tears,

for her lost liberty and joy; then through the gloom there shone

a faint, soft light, and on her breast she saw her fairy flower,

upon whose snow-white leaves her tears lay shining.

Clearer and brighter grew the radiant light, till the evil spirits

turned away to the dark shadow of the wall, and left the child alone.

The light and perfume of the flower seemed to bring new strength

to Annie, and she rose up, saying, as she bent to kiss the blossom

on her breast, “Dear flower, help and guide me now, and I will listen

to your voice, and cheerfully obey my faithful fairy bell.”

Then in her dream she felt how hard the spirits tried to tempt

and trouble her, and how, but for her flower, they would have led

her back, and made all dark and dreary as before. Long and hard

she struggled, and tears often fell; but after each new trial,

brighter shone her magic flower, and sweeter grew its breath, while

the spirits lost still more their power to tempt her. Meanwhile,

green, flowering vines crept up the high, dark wall, and hid its

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May