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 MOTTO FOR THE MOTHER Wisdom comes with all we see,
God writes His lessons in each flower,
And ev'ry singing bird or bee
Can teach us something of His power.
Grandmother's garden was a beautiful place,—more beautiful than all the shop windows in the city; for there was a flower or grass for every color in the rainbow, with great white lilies, up so straight and tall, to remind you that a whole rainbow of light was needed to make them so pure and white.
There were pinks and marigolds and princes' feathers, with bachelor's buttons and Johnny-jump-ups to keep them company. There were gay poppies and tulips, and large important peonies and fine Duchess roses in pink satin dresses.
There were soft pansies and tall blue flags, and broad ribbon-grasses that the fairies might have used for sashes; and mint and thyme and balm and rosemary everywhere, to make the garden sweet; so it was no wonder that every year, the garden was full of visitors.
Nobody noticed these visitors but Grandmother and Lindsay.
Lindsay was a very small boy, and Grandmother was a very old lady; but they loved the same things, and always watched for these little visitors, who came in the early spring-time and stayed all summer with Grandmother.
Early, early in the spring, when the garden was bursting into bloom in the warm southern sunshine, Grandmother and Lindsay would sit in the , where the vines crept over and over in a of bloom, and listen to a serenade. Music, music everywhere! Over their heads, behind their backs, the little brown bees would fly, singing their song:—
"Hum, hum, hum!
Off and away!
To get some
Sweet honey to-day!"
while they found the golden honey cups, and filled their pockets with honey to store away in their waxen boxes at home.
One day, while Grandmother and Lindsay were watching, a little brown bee flew away with his treasure, and on a rose, met with a cousin, a lovely yellow butterfly.
"I think they must be talking to each other," said Grandmother, softly. "They are cousins, because they belong to the great insect family, just as your papa and Uncle Bob and Aunt Emma and Cousin Rachel all belong to one family,—the Greys; and I think they must be talking about the honey that they both love so well."
"I wish I could talk to a butterfly," said Lindsay, ; and Grandmother laughed.
"Play that I am a butterfly," she proposed. "What color shall I be?—a great yellow butterfly, with brown spots on my wings?"
So Grandmother played that she was a great yellow butterfly with brown spots on its wings, and she said to Lindsay:—
"Never in the world can you tell, little boy, what I used to be?"
"A baby butterfly," guessed Lindsay.
"Guess again," said the butterfly.
"A flower, perhaps; for you are so lovely," declared Lindsay, .
"No, indeed!" answered the butterfly; "I was a creeping, crawling ."
"Now, Grandmother, you're joking!" cried Lindsay, forgetting that Grandmother was a butterfly.
"Not I," said the butterfly. "I was a crawling, creeping caterpillar, and I fed on leaves in your Grandmother's garden until I got ready to spin my nest; and then I wrapped myself up so well that you would never have known me for a caterpillar; and when I came out in the Spring I was a lovely butterfly."
"How beautiful!" said Lindsay. "Grandmother, let us count the butterflies in your garden." But they never could do that, though they saw brown and blue and red and white and yellow ones, and followed them everywhere.
It might have been the very next day that Grandmother took her knitting to the summer house. At all events it was very soon; and while she and Lindsay were wondering when the red rose bush would be in full bloom, Lindsay saw, close up to the roof, a queer little house, like a roll of paper, with a great many front doors; and, of course, he wanted to know who lived there.
"You must not knock at any of those front doors," advised Grandmother, "because Mrs. lives there, and might not understand; although if you let her alone she will not hurt you. Just let me tell you something about her."
So Lindsay listened while Grandmother told the story:—
Once there was a little elf, who lived in the heart of a bright red rose, just like the roses we have been talking about.
There were many other elves who lived in the garden. One, who lived in a lily which made a lovely home; and a poppy elf, who was always sleepy; but the rose elf liked her own sweet smelling room, with its curtains, best of all.
Now the rose elf had a very dear friend, a little girl named Polly. She could not speak to her, for fairies can only talk to people like you and me in dreams and fancies, but she loved Polly very much, and would lie in her beautiful rose room, and listen to Polly's singing, till her heart was glad.
One day as she listened she said to herself, "If I cannot speak to Polly, I can write her a letter;" and this pleased her so much that she called over to the lily elf to ask what she should write it on. "I always write my letters on rose , and get the wind to take them," said the rose elf. "But I am afraid Polly would not understand that."
"I will tell you," answered the lily elf, "what I would do. I would go right to Mrs. Wasp, and ask her to give me a piece of paper."
"But Mrs. Wasp is very cross, I've heard," said the rose elf timidly.
"Never believe the gossip that you hear. If Mrs. Wasp does seem to be a little stingy, I'm sure she has a good heart," replied the lily elf. So the rose elf took courage, and flew to Mrs. Wasp's house, where, by good fortune, she found Mrs. Wasp at home.
"Good morning Mrs. Wasp," called the little elf, "I've come to see if you will let me have a sheet of paper to-day."
"Now," said the wasp, "I have just papered my house with the last bit of paper I had, but if you can wait, I will make you a sheet."
Then the rose elf knew that Mrs. Wasp had a kind heart; and she waited and watched with a great deal of interest while Mrs. Wasp set to work. Now, close by her house was an old bit of dry wood, and Mrs. Wasp sawed it into fine bits, like thread, with her two sharp saws that she carries about her. Then she wet these bits well with some glue from her mouth, and rolled them into a round ball.
"Oh, Mrs. Wasp!" cried the rose elf, "I'm afraid I am putting you to too much trouble."
"Don't about me," said the wasp; "I'm used to work." So she spread out the ball, working with all her might, into a thin sheet of gray paper; and when it was dry, she gave it to the rose elf.
"Thank you, good Mrs. Wasp," said the elf; and she flew away to invite the lily elf and the poppy elf to help her with the letter, for she wanted it to be as sweet as all the flowers of spring.
When it was finished they read it aloud.
"Dear Polly:
I'm a little elf
I live within a flow'r;
I live to hear your happy song,
It cheers my ev'ry hour.
That I love you, I'd like to say
To you, before I close,
And please sing sweetly ev'ry day
Your friend within a Rose."
The letter was sent by a bluebird; and the elf was sure that Polly understood, for that very day she came and stood among the flowers to sing the very sweetest song she knew.
Out in Grandmother's garden, just as the sun was up, a very cunning spinner a lovely wheel of fine beautiful threads; and when Grandmother and Lindsay came out, they spied it fastened up in a rose bush.
The small, cunning spinner was climbing a silken rope near by with her eight nimble legs, and looking out at the world with her eight tiny eyes, when Grandmother saw her and her out to Lindsay; and Lindsay said:—
"Oh, Mrs. Spider! come spin me some lace!" which made Grandmother think of a little story which she had told Lindsay's papa and all of her little children, when they were lads and lassies, and this garden of hers had just begun to bloom.
She sat down on the steps and told it to Lindsay.
Once, long, long ago, when the silver moon was shining up in the sky, and the small golden stars were twinkling, twinkling, a little fairy with a bundle of dreams went hurrying home to fairyland.
She looked up at the stars and moon to see what time it was, for the fairy queen had bidden her come back before the day dawned.
All out in the world it was sleepy time; and the night wind was singing an old sweet lullaby, and the mocking bird was singing too, by himself, in the wood.
"I shall not be late," said the fairy, as she flew like thistle-down through the air or tripped over the heads of the flowers; but in her haste she flew into a spider's web, which held her so fast that, although she struggled again and again, she could not get free.
Her bundle of dreams fell out of her arms, and lay on the ground under the rose-bush; and the poor little fairy burst into tears, for she knew that daylight always spoiled dreams, and these were very lovely ones.
Her shining wings were in the web, her hands were chained, and her feet were helpless; so she had to lie still and wait for the day time which, after all, came too soon.
As soon as the sun was up, Mrs. Spider came out of her ; and when she saw the fairy she was very glad, for she thought she had caught a new kind of fly.
"If you please, Mrs. Spider," cried the fairy quickly, "I am only a little fairy, and flew into your web last night on my way home to fairyland."
"A fairy!" said Mrs. Spider crossly, for she was d............
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