Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

But the Fairies took each a hand, and flew lightly over the stream.

The Queen and her subjects came to meet her, and all seemed glad to

say some kindly word of welcome to the little stranger. They placed

a flower-crown upon her head, laid their soft faces against her own,

and soon it seemed as if the gentle Elves had always been her friends.

“Now must we go home,” said the Queen, “and you shall go with us,

little one.”

Then there was a great bustle, as they flew about on shining wings,

some laying cushions of violet leaves in the boat, others folding the

Queen’s veil and mantle more closely round her, lest the falling dews

should chill her.

The cool waves’ gentle plashing against the boat, and the sweet chime

of the lily-bells, lulled little Eva to sleep, and when she woke

it was in Fairy-Land. A faint, rosy light, as of the setting sun,

shone on the white pillars of the Queen’s palace as they passed in,

and the sleeping flowers leaned gracefully on their stems, dreaming

beneath their soft green curtains. All was cool and still, and the

Elves glided silently about, lest they should break their slumbers.

They led Eva to a bed of pure white leaves, above which drooped

the fragrant petals of a crimson rose.

“You can look at the bright colors till the light fades, and then

the rose will sing you to sleep,” said the Elves, as they folded the

soft leaves about her, gently kissed her, and stole away.

Long she lay watching the bright shadows, and listening to the song

of the rose, while through the long night dreams of lovely things

floated like bright clouds through her mind; while the rose bent

lovingly above her, and sang in the clear moonlight.

With the sun rose the Fairies, and, with Eva, hastened away to

the fountain, whose cool waters were soon filled with little forms,

and the air ringing with happy voices, as the Elves floated in the

blue waves among the fair white lilies, or sat on the green moss,

smoothing their bright locks, and wearing fresh garlands of dewy

flowers. At length the Queen came forth, and her subjects gathered

round her, and while the flowers bowed their heads, and the trees

hushed their rustling, the Fairies sang their morning hymn to

the Father of birds and blossoms, who had made the earth so fair a

home for them.

Then they flew away to the gardens, and soon, high up among the

tree-tops, or under the broad leaves, sat the Elves in little groups,

taking their breakfast of fruit and pure fresh dew; while the

bright-winged birds came fearlessly among them, pecking the same

ripe berries, and dipping their little beaks in the same flower-cups,

and the Fairies folded their arms lovingly about them, smoothed their

soft bosoms, and gayly sang to them.

“Now, little Eva,” said they, “you will see that Fairies are not

idle, wilful Spirits, as mortals believe. Come, we will show you

what we do.”

They led her to a lovely room, through whose walls of deep green

leaves the light stole softly in. Here lay many wounded insects,

and harmless little creatures, whom cruel hands had hurt; and pale,

drooping flowers grew beside urns of healing herbs, from whose fresh

leaves came a faint, sweet perfume.

Eva wondered, but silently followed her guide, little Rose-Leaf,

who with tender words passed among the delicate blossoms,

pouring dew on their feeble roots, cheering them with her loving words

and happy smile.

Then she went to the insects; first to a little fly who lay in a

flower-leaf cradle.

“Do you suffer much, dear Gauzy-Wing?” asked the Fairy. “I will

bind up your poor little leg, and Zephyr shall rock you to sleep.”

So she folded the cool leaves tenderly about the poor fly, bathed his

wings, and brought him refreshing drink, while he hummed his thanks,

and forgot his pain, as Zephyr softly sung and fanned him with her

waving wings.

They passed on, and Eva saw beside each bed a Fairy, who with gentle

hands and loving words soothed the suffering insects. At length

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May