Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

to a colder cell, deep in the earth; and there with harsh words

they left her.

Still she sang gayly on, and the falling drops kept time so musically,

that the King in his cold ice-halls wondered at the low, sweet sounds

that came stealing up to him.

Thus Violet dwelt, and each day the golden light grew stronger; and

from among the crevices of the rocky walls came troops of little

velvet-coated moles, praying that they might listen to the sweet

music, and lie in the warm light.

“We lead,” said they, “a dreary life in the cold earth; the

flower-roots are dead, and no soft dews descend for us to drink,

no little seed or leaf can we find. Ah, good Fairy, let us be

your servants: give us but a few crumbs of your daily bread, and we

will do all in our power to serve you.”

And Violet said, Yes; so day after day they labored to make

a pathway through the frozen earth, that she might reach the roots

of the withered flowers; and soon, wherever through the dark galleries

she went, the soft light fell upon the roots of flowers, and they

with new life spread forth in the warm ground, and forced fresh sap

to the blossoms above. Brightly they bloomed and danced in the

soft light, and the Frost-Spirits tried in vain to harm them, for when

they came beneath the bright clouds their power to do evil left them.

From his dark castle the King looked out on the happy flowers,

who nodded gayly to him, and in sweet colors strove to tell him

of the good little Spirit, who toiled so faithfully below,

that they might live. And when he turned from the brightness without,

to his stately palace, it seemcd so cold and dreary, that he folded

Violet’s mantle round him, and sat beneath the faded wreath upon his

ice-carved throne, wondering at the strange warmth that came from it;

till at length he bade his Spirits bring the little Fairy from

her dismal prison.

Soon they came hastening back, and prayed him to come and see

how lovely the dark cell had grown. The rough floor was spread

with deep green moss, and over wall and roof grew flowery vines,

filling the air with their sweet breath; while above played the clear,

soft light, casting rosy shadows on the glittering drops that lay

among the fragrant leaves; and beneath the vines stood Violet,

casting crumbs to the downy little moles who ran fearlessly about

and listened as she sang to them.

When the old King saw how much fairer she had made the dreary cell

than his palace rooms, gentle thoughts within whispered him to grant

her prayer, and let the little Fairy go back to her friends and home;

but the Frost-Spirits breathed upon the flowers and bid him see how

frail they were, and useless to a King. Then the stern, cold thoughts

came back again, and he harshly bid her follow him.

With a sad farewell to her little friends she followed him, and

before the throne awaited his command. When the King saw how pale and

sad the gentle face had grown, how thin her robe, and weak her wings,

and yet how lovingly the golden shadows fell around her and brightened

as they lay upon the wand, which, guided by patient love, had made

his once desolate home so bright, he could not be cruel to the one

who had done so much for him, and in kindly tone he said,–

“Little Fairy, I offer you two things, and you may choose

between them. If I will vow never more to harm the flowers you may

love, will you go back to your own people and leave me and my Spirits

to work our will on all the other flowers that bloom? The earth

is broad, and we can find them in any land, then why should you care

what happens to their kindred if your own are safe? Will you do this?”

“Ah!” answered Violet sadly, “do you not know that beneath

the flowers’ bright leaves there beats a little heart that loves

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49

Categories: Alcott, Louisa May