The Snowdrop





BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (ADAPTED)



[Footnote 1: From For the Children's Hour, by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey and

Clara M. Lewis. Copyright by the Milton Bradley Company.]





The snow lay deep, for it was winter-time. The winter winds blew cold,

but there was one house where all was snug and warm. And in the house

lay a little flower; in its bulb it lay, under the earth and the snow.



One day the rain fell and it trickled through the ice and snow down into

the ground. And presently a sunbeam, pointed and slender, pierced down

through the earth, and tapped on the bulb.



"Come in," said the flower.



"I can't do that," said the sunbeam; "I'm not strong enough to lift the

latch. I shall be stronger when springtime comes."



"When will it be spring?" asked the flower of every little sunbeam that

rapped on its door. But for a long time it was winter. The ground was

still covered with snow, and every night there was ice in the water. The

flower grew quite tired of waiting.



"How long it is!" it said. "I feel quite cramped. I must stretch myself

and rise up a little. I must lift the latch, and look out, and say

'good-morning' to the spring."



So the flower pushed and pushed. The walls were softened by the rain

and warmed by the little sunbeams, so the flower shot up from under the

snow, with a pale green bud on its stalk and some long narrow leaves on

either side. It was biting cold.



"You are a little too early," said the wind and the weather; but every

sunbeam sang: "Welcome," and the flower raised its head from the snow

and unfolded itself--pure and white, and decked with green stripes.



It was weather to freeze it to pieces,--such a delicate little

flower,--but it was stronger than any one knew. It stood in its white

dress in the white snow, bowing its head when the snow-flakes fell,

and raising it again to smile at the sunbeams, and every day it grew

sweeter.



"Oh!" shouted the children, as they ran into the garden, "see the

snowdrop! There it stands so pretty, so beautiful,--the first, the only

one!"





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