Little Men Louisa May Alcott 4. Jo's Boys Louisa May Alcott 4. Rose in Bloom Louisa May Alcott 4. Eight Cousins Louisa May Alcott 4. Jack and Jill Louisa May Alcott 4. Under the Lilacs Louisa May Alcott 4. Hospital Sketches Louisa May Alcott 4. Flower Fables Louisa May Alcott 4. Moods Louisa May Alcott 4. In Stock. Louisiana's Way Home. Alice-Miranda Keeps the Beat Order a signed copy! Lifel1k3 : Dev1at3 Lifel1k3 Book 2. Sea-ing is Believing!
More books from this author: Louisa May Alcott
Nothing to see Here Hotel. Misadventures of Max Crumbly 3 Masters of Mischief. Serious Moonlight. Item Added: Lulu's Library - Volume 2. View Wishlist. But the sly little people did not mean that she should know, for only now and then can a child go to that lovely place. So they set the bells to chiming softly, and all sung lullabies till Eva fell fast asleep, and knew nothing of the journey till she woke in Fairyland. It seemed to be sunset; for the sky was red, the flowers all dreaming behind their green curtains, the birds tucked up in their nests, and there was no sound but the whisper of the wind that softly sang, "Good-night, good-night.
We are tired, so come and let us make you cosey till to-morrow," said the elves, showing her a dainty bed with white rose-leaves for sheets, a red rose-leaf for coverlet, and two plump little mushrooms for pillows. Cobweb curtains hung over it, a glow-worm was the candle, and a lily-of-the-valley cup made a nice night-cap, while a tiny gown of woven thistle-down lay ready to be put on. Eva quickly undressed and slipped into the pretty bed, where she lay looking at the red light till sleep kissed her eyelids, and a lovely dream floated through her mind till morning came.
As soon as the sun peeped over the hills the elves were up and away to the lake, where they all dipped and splashed and floated and frolicked till the air was full of sparkling drops and the water white with foam. Then they wiped on soft cobweb towels, which they spread on the grass to dry, while they combed their pretty hair and put on fresh gowns of flower-leaves. After that came breakfast, all sitting about in parties to eat fruit and cakes of pollen, while their drink was fresh dew.
In your world children often torment and kill poor birds and worms and flies, and pick flowers to throw away, and chase butterflies till their poor wings are broken. All these we care for, and our magic makes them live again. Come and see. Rose, the fairy nurse, was binding up the leg of a fly as he lay in a cobweb hammock and feebly buzzed his thanks. In another place an ugly worm was being put together after a cruel boy had cut him in two.
Eva thought the elves were good to do such work, and went on to a humming-bird which lay in a bed of honeysuckles, with the quick colors very dim on its little breast and bright wings very still. He looked so cheerful and lively as he hopped about on his bed of dried grass, with his black eyes twinkling, and a bandage of bindweed holding his tail firmly in place till it was well, that Eva laughed aloud, and at the pleasant sound all the sick things smiled and seemed better.
Rows of pale flowers stood in one place, and elves watered them, or tied up broken leaves, or let in the sunshine to cure their pains,--for these delicate invalids needed much care; and Mignonette was the name of the nurse who watched over them, like a little Sister of Charity, with her gray gown and sweet face. Come to school now, and see where we are taught all that fairies must know," said Trip, the elf who was guiding her about.
In a pleasant place they found the child elves sitting on pink daisies with their books of leaves in their hands, while the teacher was a Jack-in-the-pulpit, who asked questions, and was very wise.
Eva nodded to the little ones, and they smiled at the stranger as they rustled their books and pretended to study busily. A class in arithmetic was going on, and Eva listened to questions that none but elves would care to know. One was happy and contented, but the other always wanted something. The drop is soon gone, but a star would shine splendidly, and I should be finer than all the other flowers,' said the naughty bud one night.
Don't fret, sister, but be sure it is best to take what is sent, and be glad,' answered the good bud. It is better to be sweet and fair than to shine with a beauty not your own. Be wise, dear, before it is too late. When the hot sun came up the poor bud hung all faded on her stem, longing for a cool drop to drink.
Her sister was strong and fresh, and danced gayly in the wind, opening her red petals to the sun. Oh, why was I vain and silly? We melt bits of rainbow in our paint-pots, and when it is needed we brighten the soft color on Anemone's cheeks, deepen the blue of Violet's eyes, or polish up the cowslips till they shine like cups of gold. We redden the autumn leaves, and put the purple bloom on the grapes. We made the budding birches a soft green, color maple keys, and hang brown tassels on the alder twigs.
We repair the dim spots on butterflies' wings, paint the blue-bird like the sky, give Robin his red vest, and turn the yellow bird to a flash of sunshine. Oh, we are artists, and hereafter you will see our pictures everywhere. But where are we going now? In a little dell where the ground was covered with the softest moss Eva found the fairy riding-school and gymnasium. The horses were all kinds of winged and swift-footed things, and the race-ground was a smooth path round the highest moss mound. Groups of elves lay on the ground, swung on the grass-blades, or sat in the wood flowers, that stood all about.
In one place the mothers and fathers were teaching their little ones to fly.
- Sons of God?
- Rapture or Resurrection: Which Should We Be Looking For?.
- Shop now and earn 2 points per $1.
- More Books by Louisa May Alcott.
- Safer Under The Stairs.
- Lulu's Library, Volume II - Louisa May Alcott - Book - Top 10 Audiobooks.
The baby elves sat in a row on the branch of a birch-tree, fluttering their small wings and nestling close together, timid yet longing to launch boldly out into the air and float as the others did. The parents were very patient, and one by one the babies took little flights, getting braver and braver each time. One very timid elf would not stir, so the sly papa and mamma put it on a leaf, and each taking a side, they rode the dear about for a few minutes, till she was used to the motion; then they dropped the leaf, and the little elf finding herself falling spread her wings and flew away to a tall bush, to the great delight of all who saw it.
But the riding was very funny, and Eva soon forgot everything else in watching the gay creatures mount their various horses and fly or gallop round the ring while the teacher--a small fellow in a gay cap and green suit--stood on the moss-mound, cracking a long whip and telling them how to ride in the best fairy fashion.
Several lady elves learned to mount butterflies gracefully and float where they liked, sitting firmly when the winged horses alighted on the flowers. The boy elves preferred field-mice, who went very swiftly round and round, with saddles of woven grass and reins of yellow bindweed, which looked well on the little gray creatures, who twinkled their bright eyes and whisked their long tails as if they liked it. But the best fun of all was when the leaping began; and Eva quite trembled lest some sad accident should happen; for grasshoppers were led out, and the gallant elves leaped over the highest flower-tops without falling off.
It was very funny to see the queer hoppers skip with their long legs, and when Puck, the riding-master, mounted, and led a dozen of his pupils a race round the track, all the rest of the elves laughed aloud and clapped their hands in great glee; for Puck was a famous fairy, and his pranks were endless. Eva was shouting with the rest as the green horses came hopping by, when Puck caught her up before him, and away they raced so swiftly that her hair whistled in the wind and her breath was nearly gone.
A tremendous leap took them high over the little hill and landed Eva in a tall dandelion, where she lay laughing and panting as if on a little yellow sofa, while Trip and her mates fanned her and smoothed her pretty hair. Everything will seem so ugly and big and coarse when I go home I shall never be happy again. You believed in us, and we reward all who love what we love, and enjoy the beautiful world they live in as we do. Show me more, dear elves, so that I can have many fine tales to tell when I am old enough to write.
We cannot show it to every one, but your eyes will be able to see through the veil, and you will understand the meaning of our flower-heaven. When they alighted a soft mist was round them, and through it Eva saw a golden glimmer like sunshine. Soon the mist passed away and nothing but a thin veil of gossamer like a silken cobweb hung between them and the world beyond. Eva nodded, and then forgot everything to look with all her eyes into a lovely land of flowers; for the walls were of white lilies, the trees were rose-trees, the ground blue violets, and the birds the little yellow canary-plant, whose blossoms are like birds on the wing.
Columbines sounded their red horns, and the air was filled with delicate voices, unlike any ever heard before, because it was the sweet breath of flowers set to music.
Lulu's Library Vol. 2
But what surprised Eva most was the sight of a common dandelion, a tuft of clover, a faded mignonette-plant, with several other humble flowers, set in a little plot by themselves as if newly come, and about them gathered a crowd of beautiful spirits, so bright, so small, so perfect that Eva could hardly see them, and winked as if dazzled by the sunshine of this garden among the clouds.
Before Moonlight could answer, all grew dim for a moment, as if a cold breath had passed beyond the curtain and chilled the delicate world within. Those poor plants have just come, for their work is done, and their souls will soon be set free from the shapes that hold them. You will see how beautiful they have made themselves when out of the common flowers come souls like the perfect ones who are welcoming them. She watched and loved it as she lay on her bed, for she was never well, and the good flower, instead of fading without sunshine in that dreary room, bloomed its best, till it shone like a little sun.
The child died with it in her hand, and when she no longer needed it, we saved it from being thrown away and brought it here to live forever. Clover did her best to keep good thoughts in his mind and he loved her, and tried to repent, and when he was told he might go, he meant to take his flower with him but forgot it in his hurry to get home.
We did not forget, for the wind that goes everywhere had told us the little story, and we brought brave Clover out of prison to this flower-heaven. People admired the other fine flowers and praised their perfume, never knowing that the sweetest breath of all came from the nook where Mignonette modestly hid behind the roses. No one ever praised her, or came to watch her, and the gardener took no care of her. But the bees found her out and came every day to sip her sweet honey, the butterflies loved her better than the proud roses, and the wind always stopped for a kiss as it flew by.
When autumn came and all the other plants were done blossoming, and stood bare and faded, there was modest Mignonette still green and fresh, still with a blossom or two, and still smiling contentedly with a bosom full of ripened seeds,--her summer work well done, her happy heart ready for the winter sleep.
One in pale rose came from the clover, and a third in soft green with dusky wings; but a bright face flew out of the mignonette. Then the others took hands and floated round the new-comers in an airy dance, singing so joyfully that Eva clapped her hands crying, "Happy souls! I will go home and try to be as good as they were; then I may be as happy when I go away to my heaven.
Banners of gay tulip-leaves were blowing in the wind from the lances of reeds held by a troop of elves mounted on mice; a car made of a curled green leaf with checkerberry wheels and cushions of pink mushrooms stood ready for her, and Trip as maid of honor helped her in. Lady elves on butterflies flew behind, and the Queen's trumpeters marched before making music on their horns. All the people of Elfland lined the way, throwing flowers, waving their hands, and calling, "Farewell, little Eva!
Come again! Do not forget us! What can I do to thank you?
Lulu's Library, Volume 2 (of 3) by Louisa May Alcott - Free Ebook
Love the good and beautiful things you will find everywhere, and be always a happy child at heart," answered Trip with a kiss. Before Eva could speak the sun set and in a moment every elf was invisible, all the pretty show was gone, and the child stood alone by the brook.
But she never forgot her visit to Fairyland, and as she grew up she seemed to be a sort of elf herself, happy, gay, and good, with the power of making every one love her as she went singing and smiling through the world. She wrote songs that people loved to sing, told tales children delighted to read, and found so much wisdom, beauty, and music everywhere, that it was very plain she understood the sweet language of bird and flower, wind and water, and remembered all the lessons the elves taught her.
When they obeyed her, all went well; but when they played pranks or quarrelled, everything was in confusion, and all sorts of trouble came. Sunshine, the eldest girl, was a sweet creature, always good, and a great comfort to her mother at all seasons. So were South and West Winds nice little girls; but Lightning, Thunder's twin sister, was very naughty, and liked to do mischief.
Snow, the fourth daughter, was a cold, quiet spirit, fond of covering up the world with the nice white sheets she kept folded away in the sky. Rain was always crying, East Wind sulking, Thunder and Hail scolding and growling, and North Wind, the biggest of the boys, went roaring and blustering about so fiercely that every one ran before him, though his wholesome breath freshened the world, and blew away much rubbish, which his gentle sisters could not manage as they kept house. Have a good sleep, and I'll call you in time for the spring work. Sunny begged them to stop and give her a chance now and then, but they would not; and everybody said what a dreadful month November was that year.
Fortunately it was soon time for North Wind and his favorite sister Snow to come back from Iceland; and the moment the older brother's loud voice was heard, Rain and East ran and hid, for they were rather afraid of him. Never mind, we'll soon have it all nice and tidy for Christmas," said North, as he dried up the mud, blew away the fog, and got the world ready for Snow to cover with her beautiful down quilt.
In a day or two it looked like a fairy world, and Sunshine peeped out to do her part, making the ice on the trees glitter like diamonds, the snowy drifts shine like silver, and fill the blue sky full of light. Then every one rejoiced, bells jingled merrily, children coasted and snow-balled; Christmas trees began to grow, and all faces to glow as they never do at any other time.
Lulu's Library Series
Snow had her frolics, and no one minded, because she was so pretty; and North was so amiable just then that the white storms only made fine sleighing, and the fresh air kept cheeks rosy, eyes sparkling, lips laughing, and hearts happy as they should be at that blessed season. Sunshine was so pleased that she came out to see the fun, and smiled so warmly that a January thaw set in. I'll go back to my spinning and only smile through the window; then no harm will be done.
Their mother had shut the twins up in a volcano to keep them out of the way till summer, when they were useful. Down there they found playmates to suit them, and had fine times rumbling and boiling, and sending out hot lava and showers of ashes to scare the people who lived near by. Growing tired of this, they at last planned to get up an earthquake and escape. So they kicked and shook the world like children tumbling about under the bed-clothes; and the fire roared, and Thunder growled, and Lightning flew about trying to get the lid of the volcano off.
At last she did, and out they all burst with such a dreadful noise that the poor people thought the end of the world had come. Towns fell down, hills moved, the sea came up on the shore, ashes and stones covered up a whole city, and destruction and despair were everywhere. Mother won't dare to shut us up again, I fancy, when she sees what a piece of work we make for her," said naughty Lightning, dashing about to peep through the smoke at the sad scene below. Let's run away to Africa and hide till this is all forgotten," answered Thunder, rather ashamed of such a dreadful prank.
So they flew off, leaving great sorrow behind them; but Sunshine did not wake mamma, though West Wind came home from Italy to tell her all about it. There was trouble here also, for Rain and East Wind had waked up, and were very angry to find they had been dosed with poppy-seeds. Rain emptied all his water-buckets till the rivers rose and flooded the towns; the snow on the hills melted and covered the fields, washed away the railroads, carried off houses, and drowned many poor animals; Hail pelted with his stones, and East Wind blew cold and shrill till there was no comfort anywhere.
Poor Sunny was at her wits' end with all these troubles; but she would not wake her mother, and tried to manage her unruly brothers alone. West helped her, for while Sunny shone, and shone so sweetly that Rain had to stop crying, West tugged at the weather-cocks till she made East give way, and let her blow for a while.
- Dreams and Downsides.
- Spirituality of the Third Millennium.
- Easy Learning pictures. Animals.;
He was out of breath and had to yield; so the "bad spell of weather" was over, and the poor, half-drowned people could get dry and fish their furniture out of the flood, and moor their floating houses at last. Sunny kept on smiling till she dried up the ground. West sent fresh gales to help her, and by March things looked much better.
All the brothers and sisters except the naughty twins, gathered about her, and promised to be very good, for they loved her and were sorry for their pranks. Each tried to help her, and March was a very busy month, for all the winds blew in turn; even gentle South from far away came home to do her part. Snow folded up her down quilts and packed them away; Rain dropped a few quiet showers to swell the buds and green the grass, and Sunny began to shake out the golden webs of light she had been spinning all winter.
Every one worked so well that April found that part of the world in fine order; and when South Wind blew open the first hyacinths, Mother Nature smelt them, began to rub her eyes and wake up. Why didn't you rouse me sooner, dear? Ah, my good child, I see you've tried to do my work and get all ready for me," said the old lady, throwing away her night-cap, and peeping out of window at the spring world budding everywhere.
Then sitting in her mother's lap, Sunny told her trials and tribulations. At some Mamma Nature laughed, at others she frowned; and when it came to the earthquake and the flood, she looked very sober, saying, as she stroked her daughter's bright hair,-- "My darling, I can't explain these things to you, and I don't always understand why they happen; but you know we have only to obey the King's orders and leave the rest to him.
He will punish my naughty children if he sees fit, and reward my good ones; so I shall leave them to him, and go cheerfully on with my own work. That is the only way to keep our lovely world in order and be happy. Now, call your brothers and sisters and we will have our spring frolic together.
Download This eBook
But the children were happy, for spring had come; Mother Nature was awake again, and now all would be well with the world. The fruit-fairy was eating her breakfast as she swung on a long spray of the raspberry-vines that waved in the wind; a blue-bird was taking his bath in the pool below, looking as if a bit of the sky had fallen into the water as he splashed and shook the drops from his wings; Skip, the squirrel, was resting on the mossy wall, after clearing out his hole of last year's nuts, to be ready for a new supply; Spin, the spider, was busily spreading her webs to bleach, and Brownie, the little bear, was warming his fuzzy back in the sunshine, for his den was rather dark and cold.
If they only knew about the fairy spring as we do, this is just the day to set out and find it," said Iris, the elf, as she took the last sip of raspberry shrub from the pretty red cup, and wiped her lips on a napkin Spin had made for her. How dull human creatures are! Even Brownie knows this song, though he is a dear, clumsy thing, always going to sleep when he is not eating," said Skip, with a twinkle in his bright eye; for he and the little bear were good friends, though one was so brisk and the other so big and awkward.
I drank of it, and have been the happiest creature alive ever since," answered Brownie, with a comfortable roll on the green grass. When my weaving and bleaching are all done I am going up to see for myself;" and Spin shook off the tiny drops of dew which shone like diamonds on her largest web. She leans there and watches us as if she loved us, and sings to herself as if she were half a bird.
I like her, and I hope she will be the first to find the spring. A pretty child, with hair like sunshine, eyes blue as the sky, cheeks like the wild roses nodding to her on either side of the way, and a voice as sweet as the babbling brook she loved to sing with. May was never happier than when alone in the woods; and every morning, with her cup, and a little roll of bread in her basket, she wandered away to some of her favorite nooks, to feast on berries, play with the flowers, talk to the birds, and make friends with all the harmless wood-creatures who soon knew and welcomed her.
She had often wondered what the brook sang, and tried to catch the words it seemed to be calling to her. But she never quite understood till this day, for when she came to the bridge and saw her friends--blue-bird, squirrel, and dragon-fly--waiting for her, she smiled, and waved her hand to them, and just at that moment she heard the song of the brook quite plainly,-- "I am calling, I am calling, As I ripple, run, and sing, Come up higher, come up higher, Come and find the fairy spring.
Who will listen, who will listen To the wonders I can tell, Of a palace built of sunshine, Where the sweetest spirits dwell? Cheeks that bloom like summer roses, Smiling lips and eyes that shine, Come to those who climb the mountain, Find and taste the fairy wine. I am calling, I am calling, As I ripple, run, and sing; Who will listen, who will listen, To the story of the spring?
Follow Echo up the mountain, She will answer to your call. Bird and butterfly and blossom, All will help to show the way; Lose no time, the day is going, Find the spring, dear little May," sung the brook; and the child was enchanted to hear the sweet voice talking to her of this pleasant journey.
I am ready, and have no fear, for the woods are full of friends, and I long to see the mountain top; it must be so lovely up there," she said, looking through the green arches where the brook came dancing down over the rocks, far away to the gray peak, hidden in clouds. There lay the fairy spring, and she was going to find it. No one would miss her, for she often played all day in the forest and went home with the lambs at night. The brook said, "Make haste! Iris waved the raspberry-sprays, to attract her with the ripe fruit, and when the basket was nearly full, Blue-bird flew from tree to tree to lead her on further into the wood.
Brownie dodged behind the rocks and fallen logs, waiting for his turn to come, as he had a fine surprise for the little traveller by and by. It was a lovely road, and May went happily on, with thick moss underneath, shady boughs overhead, flowers to nod and smile at her, and friends to guard, guide, and amuse her. Every ant stopped work to see her pass; every mosquito piped his little song in her ear; birds leaned out of their nests to bid her good-day, and the bright-eyed snakes, fearing to alarm her, hid under the leaves. But lovely butterflies flew round her in clouds; and she looked like a pretty one herself, with her blue gown and sunny hair blowing in the wind.
So she came at last to the waterfall. Here the brook took a long leap over some high rocks, to fall foaming into a basin fringed with ferns; out of which it flowed again, to run faster than ever down to join the river rolling through the valley, to flow at last into the mighty ocean and learn a grander song. Then she remembered what the brook told her, and called out,-- "Echo, are you here? Up she went, and as if fairy hands cleared the way for her, the tangled vines made a green ladder for her feet, while every time she stopped for breath and called, as she peeped into the shadowy nooks or looked at the dashing water, "Are you here?
The air blew freshly, and the sun shone more warmly here, for the trees were not so thick, and lovely glimpses of far-off hills and plains, like pictures set in green frames, made one eager to go on and see more. Skip and Blue-bird kept her company, so she did not feel lonely, and followed these sure guides higher and higher, till she came out among the great bare cliffs, where rocks lay piled as if giants had been throwing them about in their rough play. A strong wind blew, all was very still, for no bird sang, and no flowers bloomed; only green moss grew on the rocks, and tiny pines no longer than her finger carpeted the narrow bits of ground here and there.
An eagle flew high overhead, and great white clouds sailed by, so near that May could feel their damp breath as they passed. The child felt a little fear, all was so vast and strange and wonderful; and she seemed so weak and small that for a moment she half wished she had not come. She was hungry and tired, but her basket was empty, and no water appeared. She sighed, and looked from the mountain top, hidden in mist, to the sunny valley where mother was, and a tear was about to fall, when Iris came floating to her like a blue and silver butterfly, and alighting on her hand let May see her lovely little face, and hear her small voice as she smiled and sung,-- "Have no fear, Friends are here, To help you on your way.
The mountain's breast Will give you rest, And we a feast, dear May. Here at your feet Is honey sweet, And water fresh to sip. Rough and wild, To you, dear child, Seems the lonely mountain way; But have no fear, For friends are near, To guard and guide, sweet May. He had found a wild-bees' nest, and this was his surprise. He was so small and gentle, and his little eyes twinkled so kindly, that May could not be afraid, and gladly sat down on the crisp moss to eat and drink with her friends about her.
It was a merry lunch, for all told tales, and each amused the little pilgrim in his or her pretty way. The bird let her hold him on her hand and admire his lovely blue plumes. Skip chattered and pranced till there seemed to be a dozen squirrels there instead of one.
Brownie stood on his head, tried to dance, and was so funny in his clumsy attempts to outdo the others that May laughed till many echoes joined in her merriment. Iris told her splendid stories of the fairy spring, and begged her to go on, for no one ever had so good a chance as she to find out the secret and see the spirit who lived on the mountain top. Come with me, dear creatures, and help me over these great rocks, for I have no wings," said May, trudging on again, much refreshed by her rest.
So May sat on his fuzzy back as on a soft cushion, and his strong legs and sharp claws carried him finely over the rough, steep places, while Blue-bird and Skip went beside her, and Iris flew in front to show the way. It was a very hard journey, and poor fat Brownie panted and puffed, and often stopped to rest. But May was so surprised and charmed with the lovely clouds all about her that she never thought of being tired.
She forgot the world below, and soon the mist hid it from her, and she was in a world of sunshine, sky, and white clouds floating about like ships in a sea of blue air. She seemed to be riding on them when one wrapped her in its soft arms; and more than once a tiny cloud came and sat in her lap, like a downy lamb, which melted when she tried to hold it. These fine fellows are the only creatures who live up here, and these tiny star-flowers the only green things that grow," said Iris, at last, when all the clouds were underneath, and the sky overhead was purple and gold, as the sun was going down.
Velvet ran nimbly to give May a silver thread which would lead her straight to the spring; and the path before her was carpeted with the pretty white stars, that seemed to smile at her as if glad to welcome her. She was so eager that she forgot her weariness, and hurried on till she came at last to the mountain top, and there like a beautiful blue eye looking up to heaven lay the fairy spring. May ran to look into it, thinking she would see only the rock below and the clouds above; but to her wonder there was a lovely palace reflected in the clear water, and shining as if made of silver, with crystal bells chiming with a sound like water-drops set to music.
Is it real? Who lives there? Can I go to it? I shall be cold and afraid so far from my own little bed and my dear mother," said May, looking anxiously about her, for the sky was growing dim and night coming on. Drink and dream, and in the morning you will be in a new world. When she woke it was day, but she had no time to see the rosy sky, the mist rolling away, or the sunshine dazzling down upon the world, for there before her rising from the spring, was the spirit, so beautiful and smiling, May could only clasp her hands and look.
As softly as a cloud the spirit floated toward her, and with a kiss as cool as a dew-drop, she said in a voice like a fresh wind,-- "Dear child, you are the first to come and find me. Welcome to the mountain and the secret of the spring. It is this: whoever climbs up and drinks this water will leave all pain and weariness behind, and grow healthy in body, happy in heart, and learn to see and love all the simple wholesome things that help to keep us good and gay.
Do you feel tired now, or lonely, or afraid? Has the charm begun to work? It is so lovely here I could stay all my life if I only had mamma to enjoy it with me. Little children often are wiser than grown people, and lead them up without knowing it. Look and see what you have done by this longing of yours for the mountain top, and the brave journey that brought you here. Some were pale and sad; some lame, some ill; some were children in their mothers' arms; some old and bent, but were climbing eagerly up toward the fairy spring,--sure of help and health when they arrived.
Souls and bodies need their help, and they never fail to do good if people will only come to them and believe in their power. Shall I see her soon? Can I go and tell her all I have learned, or must I stay till she comes? You will not see me, but I am here; and my servants will do their work faithfully, for all who are patient and brave. Farewell, dear child, no harm will come to you, and your friends are waiting to help you down. But do not forget when you are in the valley, or you will never find the fairy spring again.
The path seemed very easy now, and her feet were never tired. Her good friends joined her by the way, and they had a merry journey back to the valley. There May thanked them and hastened to tell all she had seen and heard and done. Few believed her; most people said, "The child fell asleep and dreamed it. A poet said he would go at once, and set off; so did a man who had lost his wife and little children, and was very sad. May's mother believed every word, and went hand in hand with the happy child along the path that grew wider and smoother with every pair of feet that passed.
The wood-creatures nodded at May, and rejoiced to see the party go; but there was no need of them now, so they kept out of sight, and only the child and the poet saw them. Every one enjoyed the journey, for each hour they felt better; and when at last they reached the spring, and May filled her little cup for them to drink the sweet water, every one tasted and believed, for health and happiness came to them with a single draught. The sad man smiled, and said he felt so near to heaven and his lost children up there that he should stay.
The poet began to sing the loveliest songs he ever made, and pale mamma looked like a rose, as she lay on the star-flowers, breathing the pure air, and basking in the sunshine. May was the spirit of the spring for them, and washed away the tears, the wrinkles, and the lines of pain with the blessed water, while the old mountain did its best to welcome them with mild air, cloud pictures, and the peace that lies above the world. That was the beginning of the great cure; for when this party came down all so beautifully changed, every one began to hurry away to try their fortune also.
Soon the wide road wound round and round, and up it journeyed pilgrims from all parts of the world, till the spirit and her servants had hundreds of visitors each day. People tried to build a great house up there, and make money out of the spring; but every building put up blew away, the water vanished, and no one was cured till the mountain top was free again to all. Then the spring gushed up more freshly than before; the little star-flowers bloomed again, and all who came felt the beauty of the quiet place, and were healed of all their troubles by the magic of the hills where the spirit of health still lives to welcome and bless whoever go to find her.
But one autumn something happened which caused great excitement among the flowers. It was proposed to have a queen, and such a thing had never been heard of before. It began among the Asters; for some of them grew outside the wall beside the road, and saw and heard what went on in the great world. These sturdy plants told the news to their relations inside; and so the Asters were unusually wise and energetic flowers, from the little white stars in the grass to the tall sprays tossing their purple plumes above the mossy wall.
It will soon be time to choose, and I propose our stately cousin, Violet Aster, for queen this year.