Morning-Glories and Other Stories/Morning-Glories
WHAT'S that?"—and Daisy sat up in her little bed to listen; for she had never heard a sound like it before.
It was very early, and the house was still. The sun was just rising, and the morning-glories at the window were turning; their blue and purple cups to catch the welcome light. The sky was full of rosy clouds; dew shone like diamonds on the waving grass, and the birds were singing as they only sing at dawn. But softer, sweeter than any bird-voice was the delicate music which Daisy heard. So airy and gay was the sound, it seemed impossible to lie still with that fairy dancing-tune echoing through the room. Out of bed scrambled Daisy, her sleepy eyes opening wider and wider with surprise and pleasure as she listened and wondered.
"Where is it?" she said, popping her head out of the window. The morning-glories only danced lightly on their stems, the robins chirped shrilly in the garden below, and the wind gave Daisy a kiss; but none of them answered her, and still the lovely music sounded close beside her.
"It's a new kind of bird, perhaps; or maybe it's a fairy hidden somewhere. Oh, if it is, how splendid it will be!" cried Daisy; and she began to look carefully in all the colored cups, under the leaves of the woodbine, and in the wren's-nest close by. There was neither fairy nor bird to be seen; and Daisy stood wondering, when a voice cried out from below,—
"Why, little nightcap, what brings you out of your bed so early?"
"O Aunt Wee! do you hear it,—that pretty music playing somewhere near? I can't find it; but I think it's a fairy, don't you?" said Daisy, looking down at the young lady standing in the garden with her hands full of roses.
Aunt Wee listened, smiled, and shook her head.
"Don't you remember you said last night that you thought the world a very stupid, grown-up place, because there were no giants and fairies in it now? Well, perhaps there are fairies, and they are going to show themselves to you, if you watch well."
Daisy clapped her hands, and danced about on her little bare feet; for, of all things in the world, she most wanted to see a fairy.
"What must I do to find them. Aunt Wee?" she cried, popping out her head again with her cap half off, and her curly hair blowing in the wind.
"Why, you see, they frolic all night, and go to sleep at dawn; so we must get up very early, if we want to catch the elves awake. They are such delicate, fly-away little things, and we are so big and clumsy, we shall have to look carefully, and perhaps hunt a long time before we find even one," replied Aunt Wee, very gravely.
"Mamma says I'm quick at finding things; and you know all about fairies, so I guess we'll catch one. Can't we begin now? It's very early, and this music has waked me up; so I don't want to sleep any more. Will you begin to hunt now?"
"But you don't like to get up early, or to walk in the fields; and, if we mean to catch a fairy, we must be up and out by sunrise every fair morning till we get one. Can you do this, lazy Daisy?" And Aunt Wee smiled to herself as if something pleased her very much.
"Oh! I will, truly, get up, and not fret a bit, if you'll only help me look. Please come now to dress me, and see if you can find what makes the music."
Daisy was very much in earnest, and in such a hurry to be off that she could hardly stand still to have her hair brushed, and thought there were a great many unnecessary buttons and string's on her clothes that day. Usually she lay late, got up slowly, and fretted at every thing as little girls are apt to do when they have had too much sleep. She wasn't a rosy, stout Daisy; but had been ill, and had fallen into a way of thinking she couldn't do any thing but lie about, reading fairy-tales, and being petted by every one. Mamma and papa had tried all sorts of things to amuse and do her good; for she was their only little daughter, and they loved her very dearly. But nothing pleased her long; and she lounged about, pale and fretful, till Aunt Laura came. Daisy called her "Wee" when she was a baby, and couldn't talk plainly; and she still used the name because it suited the cheery little aunt so well.
"I don't see any thing, and the music has stopped. I think some elf just came to wake you up, and then flew away; so we won't waste any more time in looking here," said Wee, as she finished dressing Daisy, who flew about like a Will o' the-wisp all the while.
"Do you think it will come again to-morrow?" asked Daisy anxiously.
"I dare say you'll hear it, if you wake in time. Now get your hat, and we will see what we can find down by the brook. I saw a great many fireflies there last night, and fancy there was a ball; so we may find some drowsy elf among the buttercups and clover.
Away rushed Daisy for her hat, and soon was walking gayly down the green lane, looking about her as if she had never been there before; for every thing seemed wonderfully fresh and lovely.
"How pink the clouds are, and how the dew twinkles in the grass! I never saw it so before," she said.
"Because by the time you are up the pretty pink clouds are gone, and the thirsty grass has drank the dew, or the sun has drawn it up to fall again at night for the flowers' evening bath," replied Wee, watching the soft color that began to touch Daisy's pale cheeks.
"I think we'd better look under that cobweb spread like a tent over the white clovers. A fairy would be very likely to creep in there and sleep."
Daisy knelt down and peeped carefully; but all she saw was a little brown spider, who looked very much surprised to see visitors so early.
"I don't like spiders," said Daisy, much disappointed.
"There are things about spiders as interesting to hear as fairy tales," said Wee. "This is Mrs. Epeira Diadema; and she is a respectable, industrious little neighbor. She spreads her tent, but sits under a leaf near by, waiting for her breakfast. She wraps her eggs in a soft silken bag, and hides them in some safe chink, where they lie till spring. The eggs are prettily carved and ornamented, and so hard that the baby spiders have to force their way out by biting the shell open and poking their little heads through. The mother dies as soon as her eggs are safely placed, and the spiderlings have to take care of themselves."
"How do you know about it, Aunt Wee? You talk as if Mrs. Eppyra—or whatever her name is—had told you herself. Did she?" asked Daisy, feeling more interested in the brown spider.
"No; I read it in a book, and saw pictures of the eggs, web, and family. I had a live one in a bottle; and she spun silken ladders all up and down, and a little room to sleep in. She ate worms and bugs, and was very amiable and interesting till she fell ill and died."
"I should like to see the book; and have a spider-bottle, so I could take care of the poor little orphans when they are born. Good-by, ma'am. I shall call again; for you are 'most as good as a fairy there in your pretty tent, with a white clover for your bed."
Daisy walked on a few steps, and then stopped to say,—
"What does that bird mean by calling 'Hurry up, hurry up?' He keeps flying before us, and looking back as if he wanted to show me something."
"Let me hear what he says. I may be able to understand him, or the bob-o-link that swings on the alder by the brook."
Wee listened a moment, while the birds twittered and chirped with all their hearts. Presently Wee sang in a tone very like the bob-o-link's:—
"Daisy and Wee,
Come here, and see
What a dainty feast is spread:
Down in the grass
Where fairies pass,
Here are berries ripe and red.
All wet with dew,
They wait for you:
Come hither, and eat your fill,
While I gayly sing.
In my airy swing,
And the sun climbs up the hill."
"Did he really say that?" cried Daisy, watching the bob-o-link, who sat swaying up and down on the green bough, and nodding his white-capped head at her in the most friendly manner.
"Perhaps I didn't translate it rightly; for it is very hard to put bird-notes into our language, because we haven't words soft and sweet enough. But I really think there are berries over there, and we will see if what he says is true," said Wee.
Over the wall they went, and there, on a sunny bank, found a bed of the reddest, ripest berries ever seen.
"Thank you, thank you, for telling me to hurry up, and showing me such a splendid feast," said Daisy, with her mouth full, as she nodded back at the birds. "These are so much sweeter than those we buy. I'd carry some home to mamma, if I only had a basket."
"You can pick this great leaf full, while I make you a basket," said Wee.
Daisy soon filled the leaf, and then sat watching her aunt plait a pretty basket of rushes. While she waited she looked about, and kept finding something curious or pleasant to interest and amuse her. First she saw a tiny rainbow in a dewdrop that hung on a blade of grass; then she watched a frisky calf come down to drink on the other side of the brook, and laughed to see him scamper away with his tail in the air. Close by grew a pitcher plant; and a yellow butterfly sat on the edge, bathing its feet, Daisy said. Presently she discovered a little ground-bird sitting on her nest, and peeping anxiously, as if undecided whether to fly away or trust her.
"I won't hurt you, little mother. Don't be afraid," whispered the child; and, as if it understood, the bird settled down on her nest with a comfortable chirp, while its mate hopped up to give her a nice plump worm for breakfast.
"I love birds. Tell me something about them, Aunt Wee. You must know many things; for they like you, and come when you call."
"Once upon a time," began Wee, while her fingers flew, and the pretty basket grew, "there was a great snow-storm, and all the country was covered with a thick white quilt. It froze a little, so one could walk over it, and I went out for a run. Oh, so cold it was, with a sharp wind, and no sun or any thing green to make it pleasant! I went far away over the fields, and sat down to rest. While I sat there, a little bird came by, and stopped to rest also.
"'How do you do?' said I.
"'Chick-a-dee-dee,' said he.
"'A cold day,' said I.
"'Chick-a-dee-dee,' said he.
"'Aren't you afraid of starving, now the ground is covered and the trees are bare?'
"'Chick-a-dee-dee, ma'am, chick-a-dee-dee!' answered the bird in the same cheerful tone. And it sounded as if he said, 'I shall be cared for. I'm not afraid.'
"'What will you eat? There's nothing here or for miles round? I really think you'll starve, birdie,' said I.
"Then he laughed, and gave me a merry look as he lit on a tall, dry weed near by. He shook it hard with his little bill; when down fell a shower of seeds, and there was dinner all ready on a snow-white cloth. All the while he ate he kept looking up at me with his quick, bright eyes; and, when he had done, he said, as plainly as a bird could say it,—
"'Cold winds may blow,
And snows may fall,
But well we know
God cares for all.'"
"I like that little story, and shall always think of it when I hear the chick-a-dee-dee." Daisy sat a moment with a thoughtful look in her eyes; then she said slowly, as if sorry for the words,—
"It isn't a stupid, grown-up world. It's a very pleasant, young world; and I like it a great deal better this morning than I did last night."
"I'm glad of that; and, even if we don't find our fairy to-day, you will have found some sunshine, Daisy, and that is almost as good. Now put in the berries, and we'll go on."
How they hunted! They climbed trees to peep into squirrel-holes and birds'-nests; they chased bees and butterflies to ask for news of the elves; they waded in the brook, hoping to catch a water-sprite; they ran after thistle-down, fancying a fairy might be astride; they searched the flowers and ferns, questioned sun and wind, listened to robin and thrush; but no one could tell them any thing of the little people, though all had gay and charming bits of news about themselves. And Daisy thought the world got younger and happier every minute.
When they came in to breakfast, papa and mamma looked at Daisy, and then nodded with a smile at Aunt Wee; for, though Daisy's frock was soiled, her boots wet, and her hair tumbled, her cheeks were rosy, eyes bright, and voice so cheerful that they thought it better music than any in the summer world without.
"Hunting fairies is a pleasant play, isn't it, Daisy?" said papa, as he tasted the berries, and admired the green basket.
"Oh, yes! and we are going again to-morrow. Aunt Wee says we must try seven days at least. I like it, and mean to keep on till I really find my fairy."
"I think you will find something better than 'little vanishers,' dear," said mamma, filling up the bowl of bread and milk which Daisy was fast emptying; for she certainly had found an appetite.
"There it is again!" cried Daisy, flying out of bed the next morning still earlier than the day before. Yes, there it was, the fairy music, as blithe and sweet as ever; and the morning-glories rung their delicate bells as if keeping time. Daisy felt rather sleepy, but remembered her promise to Aunt Wee, and splashed into her tub, singing the bob-o-link's song as she bathed.
"Where shall we go to-day?" she asked, as they went out into the garden.
"I think we'd better try a new place; so we'll go to the farmyard; and, while we feed the hens, I'll listen to their chat, and perhaps can learn something from it," replied Wee soberly.
"Do hens know about fairies? I thought they were very dull things, and didn't care for any thing but eating corn and laying eggs," said Daisy, surprised.
"Oh, dear, no! they are very sensible creatures, and see a deal of the world in their daily walks. Hunting for insects gives them an excellent chance to see fairies, if there are any. Here is some corn for the biddies; and, after we have fed them, we will look for eggs, and so may find a brownie or two."
Such a clatter as there was when they came to the barnyard; for every thing was just awake, and in the best spirits. Ducks were paddling off to the pond; geese to the meadow; and meek gray guinea-hens tripping away to hunt bugs in the garden. A splendid cock stood on the wall, and crowed so loud and clear that all the neighboring chanticleers replied. The motherly hens clucked and scratched with their busy broods about them, or sat and scolded in the coops because the chicks would gad abroad. Doves cooed on the sunny roof, and smoothed their gleaming feathers. Daisy's donkey nibbled a thistle by the wall, and a stately peacock marched before the door with all his plumage spread. It made Daisy laugh to see the airs the fowls put on as she scattered corn, and threw meal and water to the chicks. Some pushed and gobbled; some stood meekly outside the crowd, and got what they could; others seized a mouthful, and ran away to eat it in a corner. The chicks got into the pan entirely, and tumbled one over the other in their hurry to eat; but the mammas saw that none went hungry. And the polite cock waited upon them in the most gentlemanly manner, making queer little clucks and gurgles as if he said,—
"Allow me, madam, to offer you this kernel;" or, "Here, my dear, try that bit." And sometimes he pecked a little, with a loud quaver, evidently saying, "Come, come, children, behave yourselves, and don't eat like pigs."
"What is she saying?" asked Daisy, pointing to an old gray hen in a black turban, who was walking about alone, muttering to herself, as hens often do in their promenades.
"She says a cat has made a nest, and hatched three kits up on the loft, near her own nest; and she don't like it, because their mewing annoys her," said Wee, after listening a minute.
"How nice! let's go and find them. But do you learn any thing about the fairies from the hen's chat?"
"No: they have been so busy setting, they have had no time for picnics yet. But they will let us know, if they discover any."
In the barn, the cows were being milked; and Daisy had a mugful of it, warm and sweet, out of the foaming pail.
"We'll take some to Mrs. Purr; for, I dare say, she don't like to leave the kits long, and will like a sip of something comfortable," said Wee, as Daisy climbed the ladder, and went rustling over the hay to a corner, whence came a joyful "Mew!" What a charming sight it was, to be sure! a snow-white cat lying in a cosy nest, and, by her, three snow-white kits, wagging three very small gray tails.
"There never was any thing so lovely!" cried Daisy, as she sat with the three downy balls in her lap, while the mamma gratefully lapped the new milk from Aunt Wee's cup.
"Are they better than fairies?"
"Almost: for I know about pussies, and can cuddle them; but I couldn't a fairy, you know, and they might be afraid of me. These dears are not afraid, and I shall have such fun with them as they grow up. What shall we name them, auntie?"
"Snowball, Patpaw, and Wagtail would do, I think," said Wee, stroking the cat, who rubbed against her, purring very loud.
"Yes: I like those names for my pets. But what is Mrs. Purr saying, with her mouth up to your ear?" asked Daisy, who firmly believed that Aunt Wee knew every thing.
"She tells me that when she went on a grasshopper hunt the other day, as she ran through the meadow, she saw some lovely creatures all in blue, with gauze wings, flying about over the river, and sitting in the water-lilies. She thinks they may be fairies, and advises us to go and look."
"So we will to-morrow," said Daisy. "Ask her, please, if I may take the kits into the house, if I'll be very careful and give them a nice big bed to sleep in."
"She says you may; but she must go too, else the kits will cry," answered Wee, after listening to Pussy's purr a minute.
Much pleased with her new pets, Daisy took them in her apron, and, followed by their confiding mamma, marched to the house, and established them in the old cradle which used to be hers. Pussy got in also; and, when they were settled on a soft cushion, Daisy rocked them gently to and fro. At first Mrs. Purr opened her yellow eyes, and looked rather anxious: but, as nothing uncomfortable happened, she composed herself, and soon quite liked the motion; for she fell asleep, and made a pretty picture as she lay with her downy white babies on her downy white breast.
When the sun rose next morning, he saw Daisy and Wee floating down the river in their boat. "Bless me! here's company," said the sun, and began at once to make them welcome in his most charming manner. He set the waves to sparkling with a sudden shimmer; he shot long rays of light through the dark hemlocks, till they looked like fairy trees; he touched Daisy's hair, and it turned to gold; he chased away the shadows that lurked among the hills; he drew up the misty curtain that hovered over the river; and, with the warmth of his kisses, waked the sleeping lilies.
"Look, look, Aunt Wee! how they open, one by one, as the light shines on them! We shan't have to wait any longer; for they get up with the sun, as you do." As she spoke, Daisy caught a half-open lily, and drew it up, fragrant and dripping, fresh from its sleep.
"They look like a fleet of fairy ships, anchored in this quiet harbor, with sails half furled, and crews asleep. See the little sailors, in their yellow jackets, lifting up their heads as the wind blows its whistle, like a boat-swain, to 'pipe all hands.'"
Daisy laughed at Aunt Wee's fancy, and stirred up the crew of the Water-sprite, as she called her flower, till the white sails were all set, and it was ready for a summer voyage.
"It is time we saw the fairies in blue, unless old Madam Purr deceived us. I hope we shall find one; for, though I enjoy every thing we see, I do want my elf too."
"What is that?" cried Wee; and Daisy flew up so quickly that the boat rocked like a cradle. A slender creature, in a blue dress, with gauzy wings, darted by, and vanished among the rushes that nodded by the bank.
"Go nearer,—softly! softly!—and maybe it will fly out again. I really think it was a fairy; for I never saw any thing like it before," whispered Daisy, much excited.
Wee rowed in among the green rushes and purple water-weeds, and out flew half-a-dozen of the blue-bodied creatures. They didn't seem afraid, but skimmed about the boat, as if curious to see what it was; and Daisy sat, and stared with all her might. Presently one of the lovely things lit on the lily in her hand, and she held her breath to watch it. A little shadow of disappointment passed over her face as she looked; but it was gone at once, and her voice was full of delight as she said softly,—
"It's not a fairy. Aunt Wee; but it is very beautiful, with its slender blue body, its lacy wings, and bright eyes. What name does it have?"
"We call it a dragon-fly; and it could tell you a pretty little story about itself, could you understand it. In May the tiny eggs are dropped on the water, and sink to the bottom, where little creatures are born,—ugly, brown things, with six legs and no wings. They feed on water-insects, and for a long time swim about in this state. When ready, they climb up the stem of some plant, and sit in the sun till the ugly brown shells drop away, and the lovely winged creatures appear. They grow in an hour to be perfect dragon-flies, and float away to lead happy lives in the sunshine by the river."
As if only waiting till the story was done, the dragonfly flew off with a whirr, and darted to and fro, hunting for its breakfast, glittering splendidly as it flashed among the leaves or darted close above the water. Daisy forgot her disappointment in a minute, and went fishing for lilies, while the turtles came up to sun themselves on the rocks, the merry little tadpoles wiggled in the shallow places, and a wild duck paddled by with a brood of ducklings following in her wake.
"Oh, dear! it rains; and we can't go fairy-hunting at all," said Daisy next morning, as the patter on the window-pane woke her up, and Aunt Wee came in to dress her.
"Yes, we can, dear; jump up, and see what a funny place I'll take you to."
Daisy thought the rain would be a capital excuse for lying in bed; for she still liked to cuddle and drowse in her cosey, warm nest. But she was curious to know where the curious place was; so she got up and followed.
"Why, Aunt Wee, this is the garret; and there isn't any thing nice or funny here," she said, as they climbed the stairs, and came into the big attic, filled with all manner of old things.
"Isn't there? We'll soon see." And so they did: for Aunt Wee began to play; and presently Daisy was shouting with fun as she sat on an old saddle, with a hair-covered trunk for a horse, a big old-fashioned bonnet on her head, and a red silk petticoat for a habit. Then they went to sea in a great chest, and got wrecked on a desert island, where they built a fort with boxes and bags, hunted bears with rusty guns, and had to eat dried berries, herbs, and nuts; for no other food could be found. Aunt Wee got an old fiddle, and had a dancing-school, where Daisy capered till she was tired. So they rummaged out some dusty books, and looked at pictures so quietly that a little mouse came out of a drawer and peeped about, thinking no one was there.
"Let's find the nest, since we don't find any fairy," said Wee; and, opening the drawer, she turned over the things till she came to a pair of old velvet shoes; and there in the toe of one, nicely cuddled under a bit of flannel, lay four pink mites, which woke up, and stretched their tiny legs, and squeaked such small squeaks one could hardly hear them.
"How cunning they are! I wish they would let me put them with the kits, and have a nursery full of babies. Wouldn't it be nice to see them all grow up?" said Daisy.
"I'm afraid they wouldn't grow up, if Mrs. Purr lived with them," began Wee, but got no further; for just then the cat bounced into the drawer, and ate up the mouselings in four mouthfuls. Daisy screamed; the mother-mouse gave a doleful squeak, and ran into a hole; and Aunt Wee tried to save the little ones. But it was too late: Purr had got her breakfast, and sat washing her face after it, as if she had enjoyed it.
"Never mind, Daisy: she would have caught them by and by, and it's as well to have them taken care of before they do any harm. There is the bell: don't cry, but come and tell papa what a fine romp we've had."
"It doesn't rain, but it's dreadfully wet; so we'll go to the dairy, and see if any sprites are hiding there," said Wee next day; and to the dairy they went.
A pleasant place it was,—so clean and cool, and as full of sweet odors as if the ghosts of buttercups and clover still haunted the milk which they had helped to make. Dolly was churning, and Polly was making up butter in nice little pats. Both were very kind, and let Daisy peep everywhere. All round on white shelves stood the shining pans, full of milk; the stone floor was wet; and a stream of water ran along a narrow bed through the room, and in it stood jars of butter, pots of cream, and cans of milk. The window was open, and hop-vines shook their green bells before it. The birds sang outside, and maids sang inside, as the churn and the wooden spatters kept time:—
"Brindle and Bess,
White-star and Jess—
Come, butter, come!
Eat cowslips fine,
Come, butter, come!
Grasses, green and tall,
Clover, best of all,—
Come, butter, come!
And give every night
Milk sweet and white—
Come, butter, come!
Make the churn go.
See the lumps grow!—
Come, butter, come!"
Daisy sang also, and turned the handle till she was tired; then she helped Polly with the butter, and made four little pats,—one stamped with a star for papa, one with a rose for mamma, a strawberry for Aunt Wee, and a cow for herself. She skimmed a pitcher of cream with a shallow shell, and liked the work so much she asked to have a little pan of milk put by for her to take care of every day.promised, and gave her a small shell and a low shelf all to herself. When she went in, she carried her pretty pats in one hand, the cream-pot in the other, and entered the breakfast room looking as brisk and rosy as a little milkmaid.
It was a lovely morning when Daisy was next roused by the fairy music, and the ponies were standing at the door. "Are we going far?" she asked, as Wee put on her riding-skirt, and tied back her hair.
"Up to the mountain-top: it's only a mile; and we shall have time, if we ride fast," answered Wee.
Away they went, through the green lane, over the bridge, and up the steep hillside where the sheep fed and colts frisked as they passed by. Higher and higher climbed Dandy and Prance, the ponies; and gayer and gayer grew Daisy and Wee, as the fresh air blew over them, and the morning-red glowed on their faces. When they reached the top, they sat on a tall stone, and looked down into the valley on either side.
"This seems like a place to find giants, not fairies, it is so high and big and splendid up here," said Daisy, as her eye roamed over river, forest, town, and hill.
"There are giants here; and I brought you up to see them," answered Wee.
"Mercy, me! where are they?" cried Daisy, looking very curious and rather frightened.
"There is one of them." And Wee pointed to the waterfall that went dashing and foaming down into the valley. "That giant turns the wheels of all the mills you see. Some of them grind grain for our bread, some help to spin cloth for our clothes, some make paper, and others saw trees into boards. That is a beautiful and busy giant, Daisy."
"So it is, and some day we'll go and see it work. Show me the others: I like your giants 'most as well as those in the fairy-books."
"On this side you'll see another, called Steam. He is a very strong fellow; for, with the help of gunpowder, he will break the granite mountain in pieces, and carry it away. He works in the other mills, and takes heavy loads of stone, cloth, paper, and wood all over the country. Then, on the right of us is a third giant, called Electricity. He runs along those wires, and carries messages from one end of the world to the other. He goes under the sea and through the air; he brings news to every one; runs day and night, yet never tires; and often helps sick people with his lively magic."
"I like him best, I think; for he is more like a real, wonderful giant. Is there any on that side of us?" asked Daisy, turning round to look behind her.
"Yes: the best and most powerful of all lives in that big house with the bell on the roof," said Wee, smiling.
"Why, that's only the schoolhouse."
"Education is a long word, dear; but you know what it means, and, as you grow older, you will see what wonders it can work. It is a noble giant; for in this country rich and pour are helped by it, and no one need suffer for it unless they choose. It works more wonders than any other: it changes little children into wise, good men and women, who rule the world, and make happy homes everywhere; it helps write books, sing songs, paint pictures, do good deeds, and beautify the world. Love and respect it, my little Daisy, and be glad that you live now when such giants lend a hand to dwarfs like us."
Daisy sat still a long time, looking all about her on the mountain-top; and, when she rode away, she carried a new thought in her mind, which she never forgot.
"This is the last day of the seven, and no fairies have been found. Do you think I ever shall see one?" said Daisy, on the Sunday morning that ended her week's hunt.
"Not the kind you think of, for there are none such, Daisy; but you have found two better and more beautiful ones than any fanciful sprite," said Wee.
"Have I? Where are they? What are their names?"
Aunt Wee drew her to the glass, and said, as she pointed to Daisy's face,—
"Here they are, and their names are Health and Happiness. There are many ways of losing them, and they are hard to catch when once lost. I wanted you to keep both, and tried to show you how. A happy, healthful hour in the morning sweetens and brightens the whole day; and there is no fairy-book half so wonderful as the lovely world all about us, if we only know how to read it."
"Then all these mornings we were hunting after health and happiness, instead of fairies, were we?"
"Yes: haven't you enjoyed it, and don't you think you have caught my fairies?"
Daisy looked from a little picture of herself, which Wee had drawn some time ago, to her image in the glass. One was dull and sad, pale and cross; the other, rosy, gay, and smiling,—the likeness of a happy, hearty little girl, wide-awake and in good tune. She understood the kind joke; and, turning, kissed Aunt Wee, as she said, gratefully,—
"I think I have caught your elves, and I'll try to keep them all my life. But tell me one thing : was the music that woke me all a joke too?"
"No, dear: here it is, and now it is your own; for you have learned to wake and listen to it."
Daisy looked, and saw Aunt Wee lean from the window, and take out of a hollow nook, in the old tree close by, a little box. She set it on the table, touched a spring, and the airy music sounded more beautiful than ever.
"Is it mine, all mine?" cried Daisy.
"Yes: I hid it while I tried my little plan, and now you shall have it for your own. See, here is the best elf I can give you, and she will dance whenever you call her."
Wee pushed a golden pin, and up sprang a tiny figure, all crimson and gold, with shining wings, and a garland on its dainty head. Softly played the hidden music, and airily danced the little sylph till the silvery chime died away; then, folding her delicate arms, she sank from sight, leaving Daisy breathless with delight.