Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

and sorrows like our own? And can I, heedless of their beauty,

doom them to pain and grief, that I might save my own dear blossoms

from the cruel foes to which I leave them? Ah no! sooner would I

dwell for ever in your darkest cell, than lose the love of those

warm, trusting hearts.”

“Then listen,” said the King, “to the task I give you. You shall

raise up for me a palace fairer than this, and if you can work

that miracle I will grant your prayer or lose my kingly crown.

And now go forth, and begin your task; my Spirits shall not harm you,

and I will wait till it is done before I blight another flower.”

Then out into the gardens went Violet with a heavy heart; for

she had toiled so long, her strength was nearly gone. But the

flowers whispered their gratitude, and folded their leaves as if they

blessed her; and when she saw the garden filled with loving friends,

who strove to cheer and thank her for her care, courage and strength

returned; and raising up thick clouds of mist, that hid her from the

wondering flowers, alone and trustingly she began her work.

As time went by, the Frost-King feared the task had been

too hard for the Fairy; sounds were heard behind the walls of mist,

bright shadows seen to pass within, but the little voice was never

heard. Meanwhile the golden light had faded from the garden,

the flowers bowed their heads, and all was dark and cold as when

the gentle Fairy came.

And to the stern King his home seemed more desolate and sad; for

he missed the warm light, the happy flowers, and, more than all,

the gay voice and bright face of little Violet. So he wandered

through his dreary palace, wondering how he had been content

to live before without sunlight and love.

And little Violet was mourned as dead in Fairy-Land, and many tears

were shed, for the gentle Fairy was beloved by all, from the Queen

down to the humblest flower. Sadly they watched over every bird

and blossom which she had loved, and strove to be like her in

kindly words and deeds. They wore cypress wreaths, and spoke of her

as one whom they should never see again.

Thus they dwelt in deepest sorrow, till one day there came to them an

unknown messenger, wrapped in a dark mantle, who looked with wondering

eyes on the bright palace, and flower-crowned elves, who kindly

welcomed him, and brought fresh dew and rosy fruit to refresh the

weary stranger. Then he told them that he came from the Frost-King,

who begged the Queen and all her subjects to come and see the palace

little Violet had built; for the veil of mist would soon be withdrawn,

and as she could not make a fairer home than the ice-castle, the King

wished her kindred near to comfort and to bear her home. And while

the Elves wept, he told them how patiently she had toiled, how

her fadeless love had made the dark cell bright and beautiful.

These and many other things he told them; for little Violet had won

the love of many of the Frost-Spirits, and even when they killed the

flowers she had toiled so hard to bring to life and beauty, she spoke

gentle words to them, and sought to teach them how beautiful is love.

Long stayed the messenger, and deeper grew his wonder that the Fairy

could have left so fair a home, to toil in the dreary palace of his

cruel master, and suffer cold and weariness, to give life and joy to

the weak and sorrowing. When the Elves had promised they would come,

he bade farewell to happy Fairy-Land, and flew sadly home.

At last the time arrived, and out in his barren garden, under a canopy

of dark clouds, sat the Frost-King before the misty wall, behind which

were heard low, sweet sounds, as of rustling trees and warbling birds.

Soon through the air came many-colored troops of Elves. First the

Queen, known by the silver lilies on her snowy robe and the bright

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May