Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

and flew home, almost treading on some of the fairies who were blowing about in the long grass like the flowers they represented.

She threw the berries in a heap in the middle of the room, and, turning round, ran after the Sweet-Pea fairy, who suited her fancy better than any other. Overtaking her, she found she had been joined by a gay little troop who, jumping on the backs of birds and butterflies, soon vanished from her sight. She attempted to follow, but her limbs refused to move, and she saw the golden gate of the Queen's palace before her. A spider, whom she knew at once as the builder of the suspension bridge, was drawing ropes across it, to lock it up for the night. He stopped his work to look at her, and the fairy Queen spoke in a moment, making the spider coil up his ropes again and admit Ruth to court, which was illuminated every evening by the glow of the fire-flies.

“ I have done what Mrs. Peony desired ; now I want to join Miss Pea and some other fairies who have gone off for a ride. I don't want to be a Peony, beautiful Queen,” exclaimed Ruth.

“ You are more unreasonable as a mortal than you will be as a fairy, so I will turn you into a Pea sister at once.”

The Queen's soft garments floated across Ruth's face gently as a kiss, as she spoke ; and, feeling herself tremble all over, she seemed to shake off the wrappings which enfolded her, and beheld in the golden gate the reflection of another fairy figure beside the Queen's. At the same moment, the sweet, low chime of bells, and a delicious perfume were brought to them by a breath of wind.

“Lily is ringing the bells, and preparing incense for vespers. We meet every evening to welcome any new fairies who may come to us.”

“Am I dead ?” asked Ruth, as we must still call her, in alarm. the flowers die when they become fairies."

“ Yes, but little girls do not,” said the Queen. “You ceased to have any interest in your other life. You forgot father and mother and home in the delights of our land. Your great, clumsy self could hardly hold the fairy which I set free."

They were floating along with the motion of wind-driven flowers as they were talking; and, by the moonbeams, Ruth saw the fairies collecting from all quarters, and joining them. From the low, damp meadow-lands a troop of slender, blue-eyed fairies started up. They had a sweet, sad expression, and as she was wondering if she could never go home again, and half afraid to ask the Queen who had just yielded to her prayer to be a fairy, they pressed more closely around her, separating her at length from the Queen, about whom maids of honor in gayly-striped dresses, called the Lady Tulips, took their places. Their motion was so rapid that Ruthie, unused to fairy travels, closed her eyes, and leaned faint and breathless upon the shoulders of the blue-eyed train surrounding her. They stopped, and she saw a shady dell enclosed by vines whose broad leaves were silvered by the moonlight. The fairies formed a circle, in the centre of which was their Queen, and directly behind her, touching from time to time the tall stalk of a lily of the

“ You say

valley, which vibrated music at every motion, was the delicately beautiful fairy called Lily. The circle was complete ; but it opened to admit Ruth and her attendants, and she saw beside her another group still, gathered about a fairy as enchanting as any she had yet seen. She was dressed in a yellow skirt, with purple velvet bodice, and had an earnest expression in her large, dark eyes. Before Ruth, she was presented to the Queen, and welcomed to fairy-land, while the lily-bells bowed beneath their weight of sound and per. fume, and musically liquid rang out an accompaniment to the fairy voices which sang ::

“Welcome, Heart's-ease!

Thou couldst not cease
To bloom somewhere, -
Though a dead flower,
Now thou art our

Own sister fair.
Rich is the beauty, pure the soul,

Gracious Rose Queen, you here control." Then the Queen bent her soft, fair face until it touched that of Heart's-ease, whose long lashes veiled the purple beauty of her eyes ; while the Lily again touched the bells, and Ruth found herself before the Queen, and the tiny

choir sang:

“This lovely flower-fairy

A mortal has been.
O, may she be merry

Our borders within !
Sweet, sad-eyed Forget-me-nots,

You with her the while
Must learn we remember

Only to smile."

Then Ruth recognized the fairies supporting her, and, looking again at their lovely faces, heard the Queen's clear voice, in response to the choir, singing :

Sweet flower-fairies, when you 're kind

And good, your fragrance fills the air.
This Sweet Pea and this Heart's-ease bind

Into your garland fair ;
And let me have their sweet perfume

To fill my tiny palace room."

Then the circle was broken, and the fairies clustered together like little bouquets, and the Queen seemed to be giving her orders, and sending groups of them away on one errand or another. When Ruth saw her Pea sister mounting, she lost no time in following her example, but pulled up a long ribbon of grass, and, throwing it over a robin's neck, flew after the party. To her surprise she only overtook them at her mother's door. They did not see her, and disappeared within, before she could make them hear. She dismounted therefore, and, creeping through the crack of the door, stood in despair before the long flight of stairs. “ How did they get up ? " she cried, for no traces of the other fairies were to be seen. Fortunately, she caught sight of a thread from one of her mother's spools, dropped in the hall, and swung herself up to the landing. Here was great hurrying to and fro, — nurses with bottles, grave-looking doctors, and her father seeming so stern and sad that even Ruth was afraid of him. Inside the room, her mother lay, very sick, moaning and tossing with pain.' The troop of fairies Ruth saw climbing the bed. Nobody noticed them apparently; but the scene changed very soon after they took possession of the pillow.

One, gayly dressed, sat on her mother's eyelids, and soon she slept sweetly. Another brushed with fresh, healthy odor across her nostrils, dispelling all the stifling smells of the sick-room.

“ Can I not help her too?” little Ruth asked herself, and she pressed closely to her mother's face, feeling so sad that she could not make her heed her presence. Nobody noticed, only one nurse said the poppy was making her mother feel better, and Ruth knew she meant the fairy pressing down her eyes.

Ah,” added the nurse, “ she will wake up soon, and if her little daughter could only be found, I am sure she would get well.”

Through the long night, Ruth sat there, filled with sorrow that she could not be changed into her old self, - her mother's little girl ; yet too anxious to see her mother's eyes open again, to go and ask the Fairy Queen to do it for her.

Hour after hour passed; the morning light stole into the room. Her mother at last looked up. “ Now we must go,” whispered the fairies; but Ruth lingered to see her mother smile sweetly at a vase of flowers by her bedside, exclaiming, “How beautiful ! have they been keeping watch by me all night?”

Then she flew straight to the palace, and, breathless with haste, brushed past the grim spider porter, and entered the cool, marble grotto, where the Rose Queen held her bower.

“ Make me a little girl, — make me my mother's Ruthie again,” she cried, as she knelt before the Queen, “and I will never complain of any work I may have to do. I see that what my mother said was true, Nature never wastes '; she uses up all her odds and ends in fairy-land ; but pray don't, beautiful Rosa Queen, use up all the little girls too."

"No," answered the Queen gently, with a laugh musical as the fall of a crystal drop upon the rock beneath their feet. “I think you will be happier in the home in which you were born, and I will gladly return you to it, and to your mother.”

“ I, for one, am rejoiced: the great, clumsy creature fairly filled up my house with berries. I don't want such a sister as she would be,” Ruthie heard Mrs. Peony say gruffly, as she hastened to pick up her basket of apples, and hurry home, to find father and mother happy enough at her return, as you may well believe.

M. L. S. VOL. II. —NO. VIII.

30

[graphic][merged small]

“MOLY cow, mooly cow, home from the wood

They sent me to fetch you as fast as I could. The sun has gone down: it is time to go home. Mooly cow, mooly cow, why don't you come ? Your udders are full, and the milkmaid is there, And the children all waiting their supper to share. I have let the long bars down, — why don't you pass through ?”

The mooly cow only said, “Moo-o-o!”

“ Mooly cow, mooly cow, have you not been
Regaling all day where the pastures are green?
No doubt it was pleasant, dear mooly, to see
The clear running brook and the wide-spreading tree,
The clover to crop, and the streamlet to wade,
To drink the cool water and lie in the shade ;
But now it is night: they are waiting for you.”

The mooly cow only said, “Moo-o-o!”

“Mooly cow, mooly cow, where do you go,
When all the green pastures are covered with snow?

You go to the barn, and we feed you with hay,
And the maid goes to milk you there, every day;
She pats you, she loves you, she strokes your sleek hide,
She 'speaks to you kindly, and sits by your side :
Then come along home, pretty mooly cow, do."

The mooly cow only said, “Moo-o-o!”

“ Mooly cow, mooly cow, whisking your tail,
The milkmaid is waiting, I say, with her pail ;
She tucks up her petticoats, tidy and neat,
And places the three-leggéd stool for her seat:
What can you be staring at, mooly? You know
That we ought to have gone home an hour ago.
How dark it is growing! O, what shall I do ?”
The mooly cow only said, “ Moo-o-o!”

Mrs. Anna M. Wells.

A SUMMER IN LESLIE GOLDTHWAITE'S LIFE.

VIII.

IT
T was a glorious July morning, and there was nothing particular on foot.

In the afternoon, there would be drives and walks, perhaps ; for some hours, now, there would be intensifying heat. The sun had burned away every cloud that had hung rosy about his rising, and the great gray flanks of Washington glared in a pale scorch close up under the sky, whose blue fainted in the flooding presence of the full white light of such unblunted day. Here and there, adown his sides, something flashed out in a clear, intense dazzle, like an enormous crystal cropping from the granite, and blazing with reflected splendor. These were the leaps of water from out dark rifts into

the sun.

Everybody will be in the pines to-day," said Martha Josselyn. “I think it is better when they all go off and leave us.”

“We can go up under our rock," said Sue, putting stockings and mending cotton into a large, light basket. "Have you got the chess-board ? What should we do without our mending-day?”

These two girls had bought new stockings for all the little feet at home, that the weekly darning might be less for the mother while they were away; and had come with their own patiently-cared-for old hose, “which they should have nothing else to do but to embroider.”

They had made a sort of holiday, in their fashion, of mending-day at home, till it had come to seem like a positive treat and rest; and the habit was so strong upon them that they hailed it even here. They always got out their

« PoprzedniaDalej »