—Rally Day —War THE LESSON—That the same spirit which brings success in war must animate the fighters against evil. Rally Day, which is observed at the opening of the autumn activities of most schools, has become... Read more of The Two Flags at How to Draw.caInformational Site Network Informational
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WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY

WHAT MEN LIVE BY

WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO

A Flower Book

from Eden Coybee






When the snow lies thick
on the ground and all the
streams that babble in summer
lie still in their houses of
ice, you think, I daresay, that
the flowers are asleep, and
that nothing can wake them
before the spring?


But I know of a wood
where the little elves and
sprites and the delicate fairies
dance in a ring in the moonlight,
and I will tell you of
what happens there at twelve
o'clock on the first night of
every year.


IVY

The clock in the cathedral
tower booms out twelve solemn
strokes, and all the church
bells peal a welcome to the
New Year. That is the signal
for the fairies to come down
on a moonbeam—with their
white dresses shining and their
long yellow hair streaming.


WINTER JASMINE

Most beautiful of them all
is Rusialka, the queen of fairies
and elves. She wears a
necklet of dewdrops, and dew-drops
sparkle in her dress and
in her hair. She glides softly
over the snow, and all the
fairies follow her to a great
elder bush that grows in the
middle of the little wood. She
knocks once and calls:


“Lady Elder! are you
within?”


And the tree shoots out its
green buds and the tender
leaves unfold themselves.


Then again the fairy Rusialka
knocks and calls:


“Lady Elder! Lady Elder!
are you within?”


And the sweet white blossoms
open overhead, and a
gentle rain of flowers falls
upon the fairies.


For the third time Rusialka
calls:


“Lady Elder! Lady Elder!
Lady Elder! are you within?”


MICHAELMAS DAISY

And then the tree opens
slowly, and the Lady Elder
appears. She is very old, for
she is the Mother of all the
fairies and elves.


SNOWDROP

“What is it you want of
me, my children?” she asks,
in a voice like a silver bell.


And all the fairies curtsey
very long and low, and they
answer her:


“The New Year is come,
Lady Elder; and we want you
to grant us leave to wake the
little flowers that sleep under
the snow!”


“The World is yet cold for
the flowers, my children,” answers
the Lady Elder. “They
are all asleep, each to be
awakened in her time. But
this you may do. You may
call them up for to-night,
and when you leave this
wood in the morning, they
will all go back to their beds
again.”


VIOLET

“Our glad thanks to you,
Ma'am,” the fairies sing back
joyfully.


DOG ROSE

Then they all join hands
and frolic away, singing as
they go:


“Little flowerets gay and sweet

Hear the patter of our feet;

Little flowerets sweet and gay

Come and dance a roundelay!”


Then slower and slower fades
the dance.




“O Christmas Rose! O
Christmas Rose!” called Rusialka,
on the particular night
I am telling you of.


A little voice answered under
the snow:


“I am here, good ladies!”


And the Christmas Rose,
holding her blossom-standard
in one hand, peeped out.


“Will you join our dance?”
asked Rusialka.


HAWTHORN

The Christmas Rose held
out her hands, and the merry
party danced on singing a
song the fairies love, till they
came to a spot where the Ivy
slept on a little brown bed of
earth under a bright white
coverlet of snow—with all her
clusters of berries resting on
her leaves.


HONEYSUCKLE

“Wake up! Wake up!
little Ivy!” cried Rusialka.


“O, is it spring come again?”
called out Ivy in a sleepy voice.
“Or are you two sad friends
who at parting want to give
each other a token of true
friendship?”


“We are not sad friends at
all,” answered Rusialka. “We
are the Little Ladies come
to frolic on earth, and we
want you, Ivy, to join in our
frolic.”


“Isn't it cold out in the
world now?” asked the little
voice again.


“The dance will warm you,”
answered the fairy. “And in
the morning before we go, we
will lay you back in your
warm bed.”


POPPY

So Ivy joined the dance,
and right merrily they went
round and round, till they all
had to sit down to take
breath.


WILLOW

Highest of all, on a tuft of
soft earth, sat Rusialka. All
the little white fairies sat in a
circle round her. And Ivy and
Christmas Rose took one
another by the hand and
curtsied to Rusialka.


“White Lady,” said the
Ivy, “if you like we will go
and wake up our little sisters,
and when we are all here we
will dance to your company
a dance that the breezes
taught us last spring.”


“Go then,” said Rusialka,

“and bring your sisters to me.”


So Christmas Rose and Ivy
went away, and returned
presently with another little
sister-flower, the Yellow Jasmine.


ROSE

“Jasmine,” said Rusialka,
“you are slight and slender,
and winsome! I can see that
your blossoms will bring a
pang to tender hearts, for
you mean 'separation,' but
of all the messengers of woe
you are the gentlest, sweet
Jasmine.”


Then the Michaelmas Daisy
came forward too.


CHRYSANTHEMUM

“And you, Daisy,” added
Rusialka, “you soften the
bitter parting with a fond
farewell.”


The Jasmine gave a sigh
and curtsied.


“If I bring a sad message,”
she said, “my sister the Snowdrop
is ever close at hand—and
her meaning is 'hope.'”


The Snowdrop came forward
and curtsied to the fairy.


“I am the herald in all our
flower pageants,” she said.
“And some call me the 'Fair
Maid of February.'”


Rusialka waved her crystal
wand three times and said: “I
can see a walled-in garden in a
distant land. A bell is ringing
for vespers, and all the nuns
with downcast eyes hasten
across a cloister to the chapel
door. The youngest of them
all sees a bed of snowdrops lift
their white heads and she smiles,
because they are an emblem of
hope, and a symbol of her life.”


PERIWINKLE

The Snowdrop curtsied, and
stepped aside to make room
for the Violet.


CARNATION

She peeped out shyly from
under a bunch of leaves and
a sweet perfume filled the
air.


“Violets for faithfulness,”
she said, turning to the Yellow
Jasmine, “I comfort friends
who are parted. What pictures
do you see for me, Lady
Rusialka?”


Rusialka waved her crystal
wand and said:


“Call up your bright sisters
who bring both joy and hope,
and stand before me.”


The Snowdrop turned to
obey the fairy's command, and
presently returned holding the
Hawthorn and the Poppy by
the hands.


WOOD ANEMONE

“I bring security and hope,”
the Hawthorn said, “and I protect
the good country people
from harm, if they do but hang
a spray of my blossoms over
their houses in May. For then
the wicked fairies and elves
who are your enemies, White
Ladies, as well as the enemies
of men, can do no harm.”


WIND FLOWER

“I, too,” said Honeysuckle,
“I, too, fight the wicked little
sprites and keep from harm
the good milch cows and the
beasts that feed and clothe
poor children in cold northern
lands.”


Then the Poppy spoke out.
She did not appear to be in
the least bit shy, and waved
the scarlet folds of her mantle
about her head, and all the
black fringe of seed trembled
and stood out like a halo.


“And I am consolation,”

she said. “The hope that
springs up again after doubt.”


“If all were faithful and
true,” whispered the Violet,
“there would be less need of
you, proud Poppy.”


“Or,” suggested the Willow,
“if people would but
listen to my warning and not
bind their hearts with chains.
I am the emblem of freedom.”


CORNFLOWER

But the Rose and the
Chrysanthemum came forward
at these words and curtsied to
Rusialka.


COWSLIP

“They do not speak wisely
and truly, O dear White
Ladies,” they said. “We both
mean 'love,' and we know
that smiles and joy attend us.
Ask our sisters who best know.”


“I am early friendship,”
said the Periwinkle, pensively,
as she came and stood before
Rusialka. “Even the very old
on earth find comfort in me.”


Then Clematis appeared.
She lifted her banner like a
wreath round her head. “I
mean poverty,” she said: “but
even poverty is sweet with love,
for love can make all things
beautiful.”


But two flowers came
forward sadly, and sighed as
they curtsied to Rusialka.
They were Carnation and
Anemone.


“Alas! for my poor heart,”
said the first. “To me love
brings but sadness.”


BLACKBERRY

“And when the dewdrops
fall,” said the second, “I think
they are the tears of all who
are like me, forsaken.”


SPINDLE BERRY

The Windflower stepped
forward boldly, and a breath
of breeze ran through her hair
and raised her banner.


“I know that tears dry and
give place to smiles,” she said.


“Oh, do not weep then,
sweet little sisters,” said the
Cornflower, gently. “See,
Cowslip and I will take you
by the hand and lead you to
a bright, clear patch by the tree
of the Lady Elder, where we
will play together till morning.”


As they disappeared they
heard the voice of Rusialka:


“O, hasten, Blackberry,”
she said. “Hasten, Spindle,
and Holly and Misletoe, for
before the coldest hour that
precedes the dawn has passed
over the earth your little sisters
must all be back in their little
warm beds.”


HOLLY

Then forward came the four
linked hand in hand and curtsied.
Then the Holly kissed
the Mistletoe, and the Blackberry
and the Spindleberry
raised their banners on high,
while all the flowers marched
through hand in hand.


MISTLETOE

They marched up to the tree
of the Lady Elder, and Rusialka
knocked once, twice,
thrice, with her crystal wand.


The Lady Elder came out
of her tree and smiled upon
the flowers.


“Good night, my children,”
she said. “Good night, and
farewell until the Spring.”


And then the flowers
frolicked and danced merrily;
and at the dawn of day they
drooped their heads and fell
asleep, and the fairies brought
them back to their little warm
beds and covered them up
with their sparkling white
coverlets.


CLEMATIS

And then all the White Ladies climbed on their moonbeam
and glided softly up, up,
up, into Fairyland.












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