will rest only on fair forms, while music shall sound through these
dreary halls, and the love of grateful hearts be yours. Have pity
on the gentle flower-spirits, and do not doom them to an early death,
when they might bloom in fadeless beauty, making us wiser by their
gentle teachings, and the earth brighter by their lovely forms.
These fair flowers, with the prayers of all Fairy Land, I lay
before you; O send me not away till they are answered.”
And with tears falling thick and fast upon their tender leaves,
Violet laid the wreath at his feet, while the golden light grew ever
brighter as it fell upon the little form so humbly kneeling there.
The King’s stern face grew milder as he gazed on the gentle Fairy,
and the flowers seemed to look beseechingly upon him; while their
fragrant voices sounded softly in his ear, telling of their dying
sisters, and of the joy it gives to bring happiness to the weak
and sorrowing. But he drew the dark mantle closer over his breast
and answered coldly,–
“I cannot grant your prayer, little Fairy; it is my will
the flowers should die. Go back to your Queen, and tell her
that I cannot yield my power to please these foolish flowers.”
Then Violet hung the wreath above the throne, and with weary foot
went forth again, out into the cold, dark gardens, and still the
golden shadows followed her, and wherever they fell, flowers bloomed
and green leaves rustled.
Then came the Frost-Spirits, and beneath their cold wings the
flowers died, while the Spirits bore Violet to a low, dark cell,
saying as they left her, that their King was angry that she had dared
to stay when he had bid her go.
So all alone she sat, and sad thoughts of her happy home came back
to her, and she wept bitterly. But soon came visions of the gentle
flowers dying in their forest homes, and their voices ringing
in her ear, imploring her to save them. Then she wept no longer,
but patiently awaited what might come.
Soon the golden light gleamed faintly through the cell, and she heard
little voices calling for help, and high up among the heavy cobwebs
hung poor little flies struggling to free themselves, while their
cruel enemies sat in their nets, watching their pain.
With her wand the Fairy broke the bands that held them, tenderly bound
up their broken wings, and healed their wounds; while they lay in the
warm light, and feebly hummed their thanks to their kind deliverer.
Then she went to the ugly brown spiders, and in gentle words
told them, how in Fairy Land their kindred spun all the elfin cloth,
and in return the Fairies gave them food, and then how happily they
lived among the green leaves, spinning garments for their neigbbors.
“And you too,” said she, “shall spin for me, and I will give you
better food than helpless insects. You shall live in peace,
and spin your delicate threads into a mantle for the stern King;
and I will weave golden threads amid the gray, that when folded over
his cold heart gentle thoughts may enter in and make it their home.
And while she gayly sung, the little weavers spun their silken
threads, the flies on glittering wings flew lovingly above her head,
and over all the golden light shone softly down.
When the Frost-Spirits told their King, he greatly wondered and
often stole to look at the sunny little room where friends and enemies
worked peacefully together. Still the light grew brighter, and
floated out into the cold air, where it hung like bright clouds
above the dreary gardens, whence all the Spirits’ power could not
drive it; and green leaves budded on the naked trees, and
flowers bloomed; but the Spirits heaped snow upon them, and
they bowed their heads and died.
At length the mantle was finished, and amid the gray threads
shone golden ones, making it bright; and she sent it to the King,
entreating him to wear it, for it would bring peace and love
to dwell within his breast.
But he scornfully threw it aside, and bade his Spirits take her