the poor mother, and would most gladly help her; but alas! I am a
Spirit like yourself, and cannot serve you as I long to do.”
“Ah, dear Queen! if you had seen her sorrow, you too would seek to
keep the promise I have made. I cannot let her watch for ME in
vain, till I have done my best: then tell me where the Fire-Spirits
dwell, and I will ask of them the flame that shall give life to the
little child and such great happiness to the sad, lonely mother:
tell me the path, and let me go.”
“It is far, far away, high up above the sun, where no Spirit ever
dared to venture yet,” replied the Queen. “I cannot show the path,
for it is through the air. Dear Ripple, do not go, for you can
never reach that distant place: some harm most surely will befall;
and then how shall we live, without our dearest, gentlest Spirit?
Stay here with us in your own pleasant home, and think more of this,
for I can never let you go.”
But Ripple would not break the promise she had made, and besought
so earnestly, and with such pleading words, that the Queen at last
with sorrow gave consent, and Ripple joyfully prepared to go. She,
with her sister Spirits, built up a tomb of delicate, bright-colored
shells, wherein the child might lie, till she should come to wake him
into life; then, praying them to watch most faithfully above it,
she said farewell, and floated bravely forth, on her long, unknown
journey, far away.
“I will search the broad earth till I find a path up to the sun,
or some kind friend who will carry me; for, alas! I have no wings,
and cannot glide through the blue air as through the sea,” said Ripple
to herself, as she went dancing over the waves, which bore her swiftly
onward towards a distant shore.
Long she journeyed through the pathless ocean, with no friends
to cheer her, save the white sea-birds who went sweeping by, and
only stayed to dip their wide wings at her side, and then flew
silently away. Sometimes great ships sailed by, and then with
longing eyes did the little Spirit gaze up at the faces that looked
down upon the sea; for often they were kind and pleasant ones, and
she gladly would have called to them and asked them to be friends.
But they would never understand the strange, sweet language that
she spoke, or even see the lovely face that smiled at them above the
waves; her blue, transparent garments were but water to their eyes,
and the pearl chains in her hair but foam and sparkling spray; so,
hoping that the sea would be most gentle with them, silently she
floated on her way, and left them far behind.
At length green hills were seen, and the waves gladly bore the little
Spirit on, till, rippling gently over soft white sand, they left her
on the pleasant shore.
“Ah, what a lovely place it is!” said Ripple, as she passed through
sunny valleys, where flowers began to bloom, and young leaves rustled
on the trees.
“Why are you all so gay, dear birds?” she asked, as their cheerful
voices sounded far and near; “is there a festival over the earth,
that all is so beautiful and bright?”
“Do you not know that Spring is coming? The warm winds whispered it
days ago, and we are learning the sweetest songs, to welcome her
when she shall come,” sang the lark, soaring away as the music gushed
from his little throat.
“And shall I see her, Violet, as she journeys over the earth?” asked
“Yes, you will meet her soon, for the sunlight told me she was near;
tell her we long to see her again, and are waiting to welcome her
back,” said the blue flower, dancing for joy on her stem, as she
nodded and smiled on the Spirit.
“I will ask Spring where the Fire-Spirits dwell; she travels over
the earth each year, and surely can show me the way,” thought Ripple,
as she went journeying on.