Page:Fairy tales and other stories (Andersen, Craigie).djvu/36

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
24
LITTLE IDA'S FLOWERS

long curtains, and only poke their heads out. Then the old steward says, "I smell that there are flowers here," but he cannot see them.'

'That is famous!' cried little Ida, clapping her hands. But should not I be able to see the flowers?'

'Yes,' said the student; 'only remember, when you go out again, to peep through the window; then you will see them. That is what I did to-day. There was a long yellow lily lying on the sofa and stretching herself. She imagined herself to be a court lady.'

'Can the flowers out of the Botanical Garden get there? Can they go the long distance?'

'Yes, certainly,' replied the student; 'if they like they can fly. Have you not seen the beautiful butterflies, red, yellow, and white? They almost look like flowers; and that is what they have been. They have flown off their stalks high into the air, and have beaten it with their leaves, as if these leaves w^ere little wings, and thus they flew. And because they behaved themselves well, they got leave to fly about in the day-time too, and were not obliged to go home again and to sit still upon their stalks; and thus at last the leaves became real wings. That you have seen yourself. It may be, however, that the flowers in the Botanical Garden have never been in the king's castle, or that they don't know of the merry proceedings there at night. Therefore I will tell you something: he will be very much surprised, the botanical professor, who lives close by here. You know him, do you not? When you come into his garden, you must tell one of the flowers that there is a great ball yonder in the castle. Then that flower will tell it to all the rest, and then they will fly away: if the professor then comes out into the garden, there will not be a single flower left, and he won't be able to make out where they are gone.'

'But how can one flower tell it to another? For, you know, flowers cannot speak.'

'That they cannot, certainly,' replied the student; 'but then they make signs. Have you not noticed that when the wind blows a little, the flowers nod at one another, and move all their green leaves? They can understand that just as well as if they talked.'