Little Ida’s Flowers

“My poor flowers are quite dead,” said little Ida, “they
were so pretty yesterday evening, and now all the leaves are
hanging down quite withered. What do they do that for,” she
asked, of the student who sat on the sofa; she liked him very
much, he could tell the most amusing stories, and cut out the
prettiest pictures; hearts, and ladies dancing, castles with
doors that opened, as well as flowers; he was a delightful
student. “Why do the flowers look so faded to-day?” she asked
again, and pointed to her nosegay, which was quite withered.

    “Don’t you know what is the matter with them?” said the
student. “The flowers were at a ball last night, and
therefore, it is no wonder they hang their heads.”

    “But flowers cannot dance?” cried little Ida.

    “Yes indeed, they can,” replied the student. “When it
grows dark, and everybody is asleep, they jump about quite
merrily. They have a ball almost every night.”

    “Can children go to these balls?”

    “Yes,” said the student, “little daisies and lilies of the
valley.”

    “Where do the beautiful flowers dance?” asked little Ida.

    “Have you not often seen the large castle outside the
gates of the town, where the king lives in summer, and where
the beautiful garden is full of flowers? And have you not fed
the swans with bread when they swam towards you? Well, the
flowers have capital balls there, believe me.”

    “I was in the garden out there yesterday with my mother,”
said Ida, “but all the leaves were off the trees, and there
was not a single flower left. Where are they? I used to see so
many in the summer.”

    “They are in the castle,” replied the student. “You must
know that as soon as the king and all the court are gone into
the town, the flowers run out of the garden into the castle,
and you should see how merry they are. The two most beautiful
roses seat themselves on the throne, and are called the king
and queen, then all the red cockscombs range themselves on
each side, and bow, these are the lords-in-waiting. After that
the pretty flowers come in, and there is a grand ball. The
blue violets represent little naval cadets, and dance with
hyacinths and crocuses which they call young ladies. The
tulips and tiger-lilies are the old ladies who sit and watch
the dancing, so that everything may be conducted with order
and propriety.”

    “But,” said little Ida, “is there no one there to hurt the
flowers for dancing in the king’s castle?”

    “No one knows anything about it,” said the student. “The
old steward of the castle, who has to watch there at night,
sometimes comes in; but he carries a great bunch of keys, and
as soon as the flowers hear the keys rattle, they run and hide
themselves behind the long curtains, and stand quite still,
just peeping their heads out. Then the old steward says, ‘I
smell flowers here,’ but he cannot see them.”

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