Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

Soon she saw Spring come smiling over the earth; sunbeams and breezes

floated before, and then, with her white garments covered with

flowers, with wreaths in her hair, and dew-drops and seeds falling

fast from her hands the beautiful season came singing by.

“Dear Spring, will you listen, and help a poor little Spirit,

who seeks far and wide for the Fire-Spirits’ home?” cried Ripple; and

then told why she was there, and begged her to tell what she sought.

“The Fire-Spirits’ home is far, far away, and I cannot guide you

there; but Summer is coming behind me,” said Spring, “and she may know

better than I. But I will give you a breeze to help you on your way;

it will never tire nor fail, but bear you easily over land and sea.

Farewell, little Spirit! I would gladly do more, but voices are

calling me far and wide, and I cannot stay.”

“Many thanks, kind Spring!” cried Ripple, as she floated away on the

breeze; “give a kindly word to the mother who waits on the shore, and

tell her I have not forgotten my vow, but hope soon to see her again.”

Then Spring flew on with her sunshine and flowers, and Ripple went

swiftly over hill and vale, till she came to the land where Summer

was dwelling. Here the sun shone warmly down on the early fruit,

the winds blew freshly over fields of fragrant hay, and rustled with

a pleasant sound among the green leaves in the forests; heavy dews

fell softly down at night, and long, bright days brought strength

and beauty to the blossoming earth.

“Now I must seek for Summer,” said Ripple, as she sailed slowly

through the sunny sky.

“I am here, what would you with me, little Spirit?” said a musical

voice in her ear; and, floating by her side, she saw a graceful form,

with green robes fluttering in the air, whose pleasant face looked

kindly on her, from beneath a crown of golden sunbeams that cast

a warm, bright glow on all beneath.

Then Ripple told her tale, and asked where she should go; but

Summer answered,–

“I can tell no more than my young sister Spring where you may find

the Spirits that you seek; but I too, like her, will give a gift to

aid you. Take this sunbeam from my crown; it will cheer and brighten

the most gloomy path through which you pass. Farewell! I shall carry

tidings of you to the watcher by the sea, if in my journey round the

world I find her there.”

And Summer, giving her the sunbeam, passed away over the distant

hills, leaving all green and bright behind her.

So Ripple journeyed on again, till the earth below her shone

with ye]low harvests waving in the sun, and the air was filled

with cheerful voices, as the reapers sang among the fields or in

the pleasant vineyards, where purple fruit hung gleaming through

the leaves; while the sky above was cloudless, and the changing

forest-trees shone like a many-colored garland, over hill and plain;

and here, along the ripening corn-fields, with bright wreaths of

crimson leaves and golden wheat-ears in her hair and on her purple

mantle, stately Autumn passed, with a happy smile on her calm face,

as she went scattering generous gifts from her full arms.

But when the wandering Spirit came to her, and asked for what she

sought, this season, like the others, could not tell her where to go;

so, giving her a yellow leaf, Autumn said, as she passed on,–

“Ask Winter, little Ripple, when you come to his cold home; he knows

the Fire-Spirits well, for when he comes they fly to the earth,

to warm and comfort those dwelling there; and perhaps he can tell you

where they are. So take this gift of mine, and when you meet his

chilly winds, fold it about you, and sit warm beneath its shelter,

till you come to sunlight again. I will carry comfort to the

patient woman, as my sisters have already done, and tell her you are

faithful still.”

Then on went the never-tiring Breeze, over forest, hill, and field,

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May