Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

roughness from her sight; and over these she watched most tenderly,

for soon, wherever green leaves and flowers bloomed, the wall beneath

grew weak, and fell apart. Thus little Annie worked and hoped,

till one by one the evil spirits fled away, and in their place

came shining forms, with gentle eyes and smiling lips, who gathered

round her with such loving words, and brought such strength and joy

to Annie’s heart, that nothing evil dared to enter in; while slowly

sank the gloomy wall, and, over wreaths of fragrant flowers, she

passed out into the pleasant world again, the fairy gift no longer

pale and drooping, but now shining like a star upon her breast.

Then the low voice spoke again in Annie’s sleeping ear, saying,

“The dark, unlovely passions you have looked upon are in your heart;

watch well while they are few and weak, lest they should darken your

whole life, and shut out love and happiness for ever. Remember well

the lesson of the dream, dear child, and let the shining spirits

make your heart their home.”

And with that voice sounding in her ear, little Annie woke to find

it was a dream; but like other dreams it did not pass away; and as she

sat alone, bathed in the rosy morning light, and watched the forest

waken into life, she thought of the strange forms she had seen, and,

looking down upon the flower on her breast, she silently resolved to

strive, as she had striven in her dream, to bring back light and

beauty to its faded leaves, by being what the Fairy hoped to render

her, a patient, gentle little child. And as the thought came to her

mind, the flower raised its drooping head, and, looking up into the

earnest little face bent over it, seemed by its fragrant breath to

answer Annie’s silent thought, and strengthen her for what might come.

Meanwhile the forest was astir, birds sang their gay good-morrows

from tree to tree, while leaf and flower turned to greet the sun,

who rose up smiling on the world; and so beneath the forest boughs

and through the dewy fields went little Annie home, better and wiser

for her dream.

Autumn flowers were dead and gone, yellow leaves lay rustling on the

ground, bleak winds went whistling through the naked trees, and cold,

white Winter snow fell softly down; yet now, when all without looked

dark and dreary, on little Annie’s breast the fairy flower bloomed

more beautiful than ever. The memory of her forest dream had never

passed away, and through trial and temptation she had been true, and

kept her resolution still unbroken; seldom now did the warning bell

sound in her ear, and seldom did the flower’s fragrance cease to float

about her, or the fairy light to brighten all whereon it fell.

So, through the long, cold Winter, little Annie dwelt like a sunbeam

in her home, each day growing richer in the love of others, and

happier in herself; often was she tempted, but, remembering her dream,

she listened only to the music of the fairy bell, and the unkind

thought or feeling fled away, the smiling spirits of gentleness

and love nestled in her heart, and all was bright again.

So better and happier grew the child, fairer and sweeter grew the

flower, till Spring came smiling over the earth, and woke the flowers,

set free the streams, and welcomed back the birds; then daily did

the happy child sit among her flowers, longing for the gentle Elf

to come again, that she might tell her gratitude for all the magic

gift had done.

At length, one day, as she sat singing in the sunny nook where

all her fairest flowers bloomed, weary with gazing at the far-off sky

for the little form she hoped would come, she bent to look with joyful

love upon her bosom flower; and as she looked, its folded leaves

spread wide apart, and, rising slowly from the deep white cup,

appeared the smiling face of the lovely Elf whose coming she had

waited for so long.

“Dear Annie, look for me no longer; I am here on your own breast,

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May