A tired earthworm, a beautiful clover blossom, and a glittering transformation.
Prince Butterfly and Clover Blossom
– A Summer Tale –
IN a quiet, pleasant meadow, where green old trees waved their branches as the Summer winds went singing by, bloomed a sisterhood of flowers. A neighbouring brook rippled musically, and passing clouds cast shadows upon the waving grass below.
The flowers were very happy together in this pleasant spot. No cold winds came to blight them, no rude hands tore them from their stems. Warm Sunbeams smiled on them all day long, and the Dewdrops refreshed them at night with a cooling drink.
One morning when the flowers awoke, fragrant and fresh, a little Worm came creeping by.
“Oh, pity and love me,” sighed the little Worm. “Give me shelter, dear Flowers. I am lonely, poor, and weak. A little spot for a resting place is all I ask. Only let me lie in the deep, green Moss, and weave my little tomb, and sleep my long, unbroken sleep, until Spring’s first flowers come. Then will I come forth in Fairy dress, and repay your gentle care for a poor Worm. Kind Flowers, let me stay!”
But none of the proud flowers would give shelter to the poor Worm.
Wild Rose showed her little thorns, while her soft face glowed with pride.
Violet hid beneath some drooping Ferns; and the Daisy turned her face away.
Little Bluet laughed scornfully as she danced on her slender stem; while Cowslip bent down and whispered the tale to the brook.
A Blue-Eyed Grass looked down on the poor Worm as She silently turned away.
“You will harm our delicate leaves,” she said; “that is why you may not stay.”
At that moment a sweet voice called from a distance:—
“Come here, poor Worm, come to me. The sunshine lies warm in this quiet spot. I will share my home with you.”
The flowers all looked in wonder to see who had offered the Worm a home.
To their surprise they found Clover Blossom, with fluttering wings, beckoning him to come. From her snug little nook, where the cool winds rustled by, and the murmuring Bees and Butterflies loved to come, her rosy face smiled kindly down as the friendless Worm drew near.
“Poor thing, you are welcome here,” she said in a soft voice. “In the green Moss close at my side you may sleep until Spring comes. I will spread my leaves over you, and guard you through the long Winter.”
Then, deep in a Moss-bed, the grateful Worm spun his winter home, and lay down for his long rest.
And well did Clover Blossom keep her watch. Autumn came and took all her sister flowers. Then, when it was time for her to go, she spread her withered leaves softly over the sleeping Worm, and bent her faithful little head beneath the Winter Snow.
Spring came again, and the flowers arose from their Winter sleep. How gaily they danced on their slender stems, and sang their songs with the rippling waves of the brook. The warm winds kissed their cheeks, as one by one they came again to dwell in their summer homes.
Little Clover Blossom bloomed once more, and watched patiently by the mossy bed where the Worm still lay quietly sleeping.
Her sister flowers cried scornfully, as they waved in the Summer air:—
“Come and dance with us, little Clover. That ugly Worm was poor and friendless. He will not come again in Fairy dress. Don’t believe what a Worm tells you. At any rate he lies in the green Moss dead. So come and be happy with us.”
But little Clover kept’ watch, for she did not doubt the poor Worm’s truth. She trusted that he would come as he had said.
At last she felt the Moss at her side move. Then a small cell opened wide, and out flew a glittering Butterfly, that soared up to the Summer sky on golden wings.
Then the flowers cried out:—
“Clover, your watching was in vain. It is as we told you. He will never come again.”
And the unkind flowers danced for joy, as they watched him silently soar away.
Little Clover bowed her head in silence. As she drooped, she heard a Daisy say:—
“O sisters, look, I see him now! He is floating back from Cloudland. Spread wide your leaves, that he may choose the one he deems most fair.”
Then Wild Rose glowed with a deep blush, as she proudly waved on her stem.
Cowslip bent to look at herself in the rippling brook.
Little Bluet merrily danced, and spread out her leaves wide.
And Daisy whispered her joy and hope to Violet, who peeped out from the tall green Ferns to watch the glittering form of the Butterfly, that shone in the Summer sky.
Nearer and nearer the bright form came, and fairer and fairer grew the blossoms. Each welcomed him in her sweetest tones, and each offered him honey and dew.
But in vain did they beckon and smile and call. He floated past Violet, Daisy, and Rose, and went straight to the pleasant home of Clover Blossom, the flower most truly fair.
“Dear Flower,” he said, “when I was alone and friendless you watched over me, and cared for me. Now I will try to show the thanks the poor Worm could not tell. And you shall find, dear faithful Flower, a loving friend in me.”
Then through the long bright Summer hours, through sunshine and rain, lived happily together Clover and Prince Butterfly.
* * * * *
This story was taken from the book:
This ‘Wonder Book’, written by Frances Jenkins Olcott, is a collection of over 150 nature myths and tales from all parts of the world, illustrated by Milo Winter. Its 500 pages provide a vast array of tales, including tales of flowers, fairies, dragons, talking birds, magic waters and enchanted forests, that children can revel and delight in.
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