for you have learned to love my gift, and it has done its work
most faithfully and well,” the Fairy said, as she looked into the
happy child’s bright face, and laid her little arms most tenderly
about her neck.
“And now have I brought another gift from Fairy-Land, as a fit reward
for you, dear child,” she said, when Annie had told all her gratitude
and love; then, touching the child with her shining wand, the Fairy
bid her look and listen silently.
And suddenly the world seemed changed to Annie; for the air was filled
with strange, sweet sounds, and all around her floated lovely forms.
In every flower sat little smiling Elves, singing gayly as they rocked
amid the leaves. On every breeze, bright, airy spirits came floating
by; some fanned her cheek with their cool breath, and waved her long
hair to and fro, while others rang the flower-bells, and made a
pleasant rustling among the leaves. In the fountain, where the water
danced and sparkled in the sun, astride of every drop she saw merry
little spirits, who plashed and floated in the clear, cool waves, and
sang as gayly as the flowers, on whom they scattered glittering dew.
The tall trees, as their branches rustled in the wind, sang a low,
dreamy song, while the waving grass was filled with little voices
she had never heard before. Butterflies whispered lovely tales in
her ear, and birds sang cheerful songs in a sweet language she had
never understood before. Earth and air seemed filled with beauty
and with music she had never dreamed of until now.
“O tell me what it means, dear Fairy! is it another and a lovelier
dream, or is the earth in truth so beautiful as this?” she cried,
looking with wondering joy upon the Elf, who lay upon the flower
in her breast.
“Yes, it is true, dear child,” replied the Fairy, “and few are the
mortals to whom we give this lovely gift; what to you is now so full
of music and of light, to others is but a pleasant summer world;
they never know the language of butterfly or bird or flower, and they
are blind to aIl that I have given you the power to see. These fair
things are your friends and playmates now, and they will teach you
many pleasant lessons, and give you many happy hours; while the garden
where you once sat, weeping sad and bitter tears, is now brightened
by your own happiness, filled with loving friends by your own kindly
thoughts and feelings; and thus rendered a pleasant summer home
for the gentle, happy child, whose bosom flower will never fade.
And now, dear Annie, I must go; but every Springtime, with the
earliest flowers, will I come again to visit you, and bring
some fairy gift. Guard well the magic flower, that I may find all
fair and bright when next I come.”
Then, with a kind farewell, the gentle Fairy floated upward
through the sunny air, smiling down upon the child, until she vanished
in the soft, white clouds, and little Annie stood alone in her
enchanted garden, where all was brightened with the radiant light,
and fragrant with the perfume of her fairy flower.
When Moonlight ceased, Summer-Wind laid down her rose-leaf fan, and,
leaning back in her acorn cup, told this tale of
RIPPLE, THE WATER-SPIRIT.
DOWN in the deep blue sea lived Ripple, a happy little Water-Spirit;
all day long she danced beneath the coral arches, made garlands
of bright ocean flowers, or floated on the great waves that sparkled
in the sunlight; but the pastime that she loved best was lying
in the many-colored shells upon the shore, listening to the low,
murmuring music the waves had taught them long ago; and here
for hours the little Spirit lay watching the sea and sky, while
singing gayly to herself.
But when tempests rose, she hastened down below the stormy billows,
to where all was calm and still, and with her sister Spirits waited
till it should be fair again, listening sadly, meanwhile, to the cries
of those whom the wild waves wrecked and cast into the angry sea,