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Full text of "Fairies I have met"



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H 

DDOLPH vstawe: 

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ILLUvSTRATED 



EDMJND DULAC 





Digitized by the Internet Arcinive 

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http://www.archive.org/details/fairiesihavemetOOstaw 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 




"PLEASE," SHE SAID, "I WANT TO BE A NIGHTINGALE" 



FAIRIES 

I HAVE ME r 

BY MRS. RODOLPH STAJFELL 



ILLUSTRATED IN COLOUR BT 

EDMUND D ULAC 



HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

NEW YORK AND LONDON 



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DEDICATION 



BEFORE Penelope could toddle she lived far away 
among the oleanders. The sunbeams who 
came down to see the oleanders saw Penelope 
too. She sat on the grass and played with 
them, and they loved her very much. 
One day the sunbeams were sad. 

"Penelope is going to England," they said to each 
other. 

" I am going to England with her," said Sunbeam 
the First. 

" How ? " asked the others. 

" I shall hide in her hair," said Sunbeam the First. 
" Then," said Sunbeam the Second, " I shall go too. 
" I shall hide behind her eyelashes." 

"And I," said Sunbeam the Third, "shall hide in her 
heart." 

So Penelope went to England, with one sunbeam in 
her hair, and one in her eyes, and one in her heart. 

When she was old enough to talk she spoke to the 
sunbeams. 

" Shall you always stay in my hair } " she asked Sun- 
beam the First. 

7 



DEDICATION 



" That is more than I can say," he answered. " Per- 
haps when you are old I shall be obliged to go away." 

Then Penelope asked Sunbeam the Second — 

" Shall you always stay in my eyes ? " 

" I hope so," said Sunbeam the Second ; " but perhaps 
if you are unhappy I shall be obliged to go away." 

Then the corners of Penelope's mouth began to droop 
a little. 

"Dear Sunbeam," she said to Sunbeam the Third, 
" shall you be always in my heart ? " 

" Yes, if you keep me there," said Sunbeam the Third. 

" How can I keep you there } " asked Penelope. 

" You must love the fairies," said the sunbeam, " and 
understand them when they speak to you. If you love 
the fairies even when you are old, I shall stay in your 
heart always." 

These stories have been written for Penelope, so that 
she may love the fairies, and keep the sunbeam always 
in her heart. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

The Bird of Shadows and the Sun-Bird . . .13 

The Sea-Fairy and the Land-Fairy, and how they 

quarrelled 21 

Princess Orchid's Party 31 

The Cloud that had no Lining 41 

The Fairies who changed Places 51 

The Making of the Opal 59 

The Big Spider's Diamonds 69 

A Little Girl in a Book 77 

The Fairy who was looking for a Home ... 85 

The Box of Dreams 95 

The Fairy who had only One Wing .... 103 

The Little Boy from Town in 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



The Bird of Shadows and the Sun-Bird 

"Please," she said, "I want to be a nightingale" Frontispiece 



TO FACZ PAGi 

The Sea-Fairy and the Land-Fairy 

He held out the little shell in the beam of coloured light . 24 



Princess Orchid's Party 

She smiled at him very graciously when he was introduced 
to her 36 

The Cloud that had no Lining 

And because the silver of the moonshine-fairies is very 
light he was able to carry a great deal of it . . . 46 

The Fairies who changed Places 

Drop-of-Crystal was too busy to speak . . . '54 

The Making of the Opal 

Of course the Dear Princess .... wore the great opal 

on the day that she was married . ... 68 

II 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



TO FACE PAGE 

The Big Spider's Diamonds 

The web and the diamonds and the Big Spider himself all 

fell to the ground ....... 74 

A Little Girl in a Book 

The other people in the book looked at her in surprise . 82 



THE BIRD OF SHADOWS 
AND THE SUN.BIRD 



THE BIRD OF SHADOWS 
AND THE SUN-BIRD 



11TTLE Agatha lived in the days when castles were 
as common in the land as cottages are now, 
J and when there were plenty of magicians always 
ready to help people out of difficulties. 

One of the castles was Agatha's home. It stood on 
a hill and was surrounded by a dark wood. Agatha was a 
lonely little girl : she had no sisters or brothers to play 
with. She used to stand at the narrow window in the 
castle tower and look out into the wood, and long to run 
about with other little girls. If you had seen her you 
would have thought her a very funny figure in her long 
gown reaching nearly to the ground, and a close cap over 
her curls. 

In the evening Agatha could see very little when she 
stood at the window, but still she stood there and looked 
at the dark wood. It was then that the nightingale, the 
Bird of Shadows, sang to her ; and this was what she liked 
better than anything else. She thought the nightingale's 
voice was lovely to hear, and she wondered why it was 
so sad. 

Evening after evening the lonely little girl looked out 
through the tower window listening to the nightingale, 
till she felt that he was her friend. Sometimes she spoke 
to him. 

" How much I should like to fly out of the window 
and be a nightingale too ! " she said. " Then we would 

15 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



play together in the wood, and I should have a voice like 
yours — ever so sweet and ever so sad." 

Sometimes she tried to sing, but she found her voice 
was not in the least like the nightingale's. 

Every day she became more anxious to be a nightingale, 
until at last she thought about it always, and yet seemed 
no nearer to her wish. She hoped sometimes that her 
curls might turn into feathers ; but after several weeks 
of wishing she saw that the curls were still made of yellow 
hair. She began to be afraid she would never be anything 
but a little girl. 

One day she heard some of the maids talking together. 
They were speaking of the Wise Man, the Magician, who 
lived in the dark cave on the side of the hill, and could do 
the most wonderful things. In fact, they said, there was 
hardly anything he couldn't do ; you had only to tell him 
what you wanted most and he could manage it for you. 

"Perhaps he could turn me into a nightingale," thought 
Agatha. " I'll go and ask him, anyway." 

So while the maids were still talking she slipped out of 
the castle, and through the wood, and down the hill, till 
she came to the dark cave. Her long frock caught on the 
brambles as she went, and her hands were a good deal 
scratched, and once she tripped and fell. But of course 
she did not mind anything of that kind, because she was 
thinking all the time about the nightingale. 

Agatha walked into the cave without knocking, and 
found the Magician at home. I dare say you know that all 
good Magicians have kind faces and long white beards. 
This one was a good Magician, so he had a kind face and 

i6 



THEBIRD OFSHADOWSAND THE SUN-BIRD 

a long white beard. Agatha was not in the least afraid of 
him. She told him at once why she had come. 

" Please," she said, " I want to be a nightingale." 

"A nightingale, my dear?" said the Wise Man. 
*' That is a very strange thing for you to want to be ! 
Don't you know that the nightingale is the Bird of 
Shadows, who sings by night and is very sad } " 

"I shouldn't mind that a bit," said Agatha, "if I could 
only fly about and sing with a beautiful voice." 

" Well, then," said the Wise Man, " if you don't mind 
being sad, this is what you must do. Every day you must 
come here to see me, and each time you must bring me 
one of the pearls from your necklace." 

Agatha clasped her hands tightly round her neck, as if 
to save her pearls. She wore them in a chain, and the 
chain was so long that it passed twice round her neck and 
then fell in a loop that reached nearly to her waist. 

" Oh, must it be my pearls ? " she asked eagerly. 
*' Would nothing else do instead .? I have some very nice 
things at home — really nice things. I have some lovely 
toys, and a gold chain, and a pony, and — oh, lots of things. 
Wouldn't you like some of those ? " 

" No," said the Wise Man, " I must have the pearls if 
you want to fly about and sing with a beautiful voice. 
Nothing else will do. For every pearl you bring me I 
will give you a feather from the nightingale, the Bird of 
Shadows." 

Agatha went home slowly, still clasping her pearls 
tightly in her hands. She liked them oetter than anything 
she had. She liked to watch the soft lights and shades on 

17 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



them, and to think of the wonderful sea they came from. 
She did not feel sure that it was worth while to give them 
up, even for the sake of being a bird and learning to sing. 

But in the evening, when she stood by the tower 
window as usual, and listened to the nightingale, she had 
no longer any doubts as to what she should do. To be 
able to sing like the nightingale was more important than 
anything else, she felt. And besides, if she were going 
to be turned into a bird, the pearls would not be of much 
use to her in any case. She was pretty sure that night- 
ingales never wore pearl necklaces. 

The next day she slipped one of the pearls off her 
chain, and then she ran out of the castle and through the 
wood and down the hill, till she came to the dark cave. 

The Wise man smiled when he saw her. 

" Here is " she began, and then she could say no 

more, because of the lump in her throat. 

The Wise Man looked rather sorry for her, but he took 
the pearl without speaking. Then he gave her the feather 
he had promised her, and she went away again. As she 
climbed the hill and ran back through the wood to the 
castle, she tried to feel glad that she had the feather instead 
of the pearl. 

For a long, long time the same thing happened every 
day. Every day Agatha slipped a pearl off her chain, and 
then ran out of the castle and through the wood and down 
the hill, till she came to the dark cave ; and every day she 
brought home a little feather instead of her pearl. 

The long loop of the chain grew shorter and shorter. 
The time came when it was not a long loop at all, but fitted 

i8 



THE BIRD OF SHADOWS AND THE SUN-BIRD 



closely round Agatha's neck as the other loops did. By- 
and-by the time came when the chain would only pass 
twice round her throat ; then the time came when it would 
only go round her throat once ; then it grew too short 
to reach round her throat at all, and she was obliged to 
turn it into a bracelet. Then it became too short for 
her wrist, and she made it into a ring. And all the time 
her store of feathers was growing larger and larger, till it 
seemed to her that there were enough to make at least 
ten nightingales ; but this was because she did not know 
how many feathers a nightingale likes to have. When 
there were only two pearls left, the Wise Man said to her — 

" When you bring me the last pearl you must bring me 
the feathers too ; and after that you will be able to sing 
with a beautiful voice and to fly wherever you like." 

So when Agatha left the gloomy old castle for the last 
time she was not able to run through the wood, because 
she was carrying a big bag of feathers as well as the pearl. 

She was feeling very much excited when she gave 
the bag of feathers to the Wise Man. 

He put the last pearl carefully away with the others ; 
and then he took the bag of feathers and emptied it over 
Agatha's head. As he did so he said some of the strange 
long words that Wise Men use. 

And then 

Agatha was there no longer. There was nothing to be 
seen of her except a little heap of yellow curls, which the 
Wise Man kept to give to the next person who asked 
him for gold. 

But out of the cave there flew a happy bird. It flew 

19 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



far, far up into the sky, singing with a beautiful voice. 
It flew higher up into the sky than any nightingale ever 
flew. 

For the Wise Man had done more than he had pro- 
mised. The bird's beautiful voice was not the voice of the 
nightingale, the Bird of Shadows ; but the voice of the 
lark, the Sun-Bird, who is never sad. 



20 



THE SEA-FAIRT AND THE 

LAND.FAIRT, AND HO IF 

THEY QUARRELLED 



rHE SEA-FAIRY AND THE 
LAND-FAIRT, AND HOW 
THET HUARRELLED 

THE sea-fairy's name was Laughing Sapphire, and 
he lived in a nautilus-shell : the land-fairy 
was called Sweet-of-the-Mountain, and his 
home was a tuft of heather. One day Sweet- 
of-the-Mountain went for a stroll on the sea-shore, and 
there he met Laughing Sapphire, just at the edge of the 
ripples. It was then that the quarrel began. 

*' I am really sorry for you," said the sea- fairy. " It 
must be very unpleasant to live up on that cliff. It is 
so dangerous too. You might be blown down at any 
moment ! " 

" Ha-ha, how very amusing ! " laughed the land-fairy. 
" Unpleasant, did you say ? Dangerous ? Not at all, 
not at all. Now, your life is something too horrible to 
think of. I am glad it is not my fate to wander for ever 
on the sea. And as for danger — well, every one knows 
that the sea is full of dangers." 

" I never heard such nonsense," said Laughing Sapphire 
indignantly. '* The sea is perfectly safe if you know how 
to manage your shell." 

" But think of the discomfort of it," said Sweet-of-the- 
Mountain. " You never have any peace." 

"Andjo« never have any change," answered Laughing 
Sapphire. 

23 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



"There's not much change in always looking at the 
sea — a great dull stretch of water ! " 

" Dull ! " cried Laughing Sapphire angrily. " Dull, 
did you say ? Not half so dull as being mewed up on 
a rock ! " 

"Why," said Sweet-of-the- Mountain, "you've no 
flowers, and no bees, and no " 

"And you," interrupted Laughing Sapphire, "have 
no glittering spray, and no forests of seaweed, and no 
creamy foam." 

"You've no heather," said the land-fairy, as if that 
settled the matter. 

" As for you," cried the sea-fairy, " I can't think of 
anything you have got ! So there ! " 

They went on quarrelling in this way for some time, 
getting more and more angry. At last they agreed upon 
a very good way of settling the dispute. And this was 
their plan. Each of them was to go away for a certain 
length of time. On a particular day they were to meet 
again on the shore, at the edge of the ripples. Laughing 
Sapphire was to bring with him three treasures of the sea ; 
and Sweet-of-the-Mountain was to bring three treasures of 
the land. The fairy whose treasures were the best would 
be the winner in the quarrel. 

" But who will decide which are the best treasures .^ " 
asked the land-fairy. 

" My friend the sea-anemone lives near here," said 
Laughing Sapphire. " As he is partly on land and partly 
in the sea, he will be able to judge fairly between us. 
He shall decide." 

24 




HE HELD OUT THE LITTLE SHELL IN THE BEAM OF COLOURED LIGHT 



THE SEA-FAIRY AND THE LAND-FAIRY 

Then the sea-fairy sailed away in his nautilus-shell, and 
the land-fairy flew home to the heather on the cliff. 

Hardly had Laughing Sapphire left the shore when 
he saw a huge curling wave rolling towards him. The 
hollow of the wave was like a great green cavern, lit 
up with magic light ; the top of it was sparkling spray. 
A sunbeam was shining straight down through the spray, 
and gleaming with every colour you can think of, so that 
it seemed as if a piece of rainbow had fallen from the sky. 

The fairy laughed happily, and steered right into the 
hollow of the wave, for he knew that his nautilus-boat 
was safe. In his hand was a little shell. As his boat 
rode smoothly over the crest of the wave and through 
the rainbow, he held out the little shell in the beam of 
coloured light. There was a wonderful change in the 
shell after it had passed through the rainbow ; it was lined 
with mother-o'-pearl ! 

The fairy laughed again for joy when he saw the 
rainbow colours of the little shell. 

" They've nothing like that on shore ! " he said. 

Then the nautilus-boat sailed on and on across the sea. 

The next thing that Laughing Sapphire found was a 
glowing piece of red seaweed. As he pulled it, dripping, 
out of the sea, it looked like a bit of broad crimson ribbon ; 
except that no ribbon ever had so much colour and so 
much light in it. It was so transparent that you could 
see the sunlight through it, and yet it was as strong as 
a rope. 

As the fairy coiled It round and round he smiled. 

"That should please them, I think," he muttered. 

25 B 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



The third thing that Laughing Sapphire found was the 
best of all. To find it he was obliged to leave his nautilus- 
boat and dive down to the bottom of the sea. I must 
not tell you now of all the wonders he saw there, for it 
would take me too long, and it would be very difficult 
for me to stop. But when he came to the surface again 
he was clasping a splendid pearl tightly in his hand. 

" If this doesn't persuade them," he said, chuckling, 
" that the sea is the best place in the world, nothing will ! " 

Meanwhile the land-fairy had been busy too. 

First he flew to a beautiful garden, full of roses and 
verbena and everything sweet. It was a garden he often 
visited, for many of the flower-fairies there were friends 
of his. So he knew exactly where to find the sweetest 
lilies. There were great clumps of them — tall, white lilies 
with drooping heads and hearts of gold. Sweet-of-the 
Mountain crept into one of them, and came out with a 
big, heavy drop of honey. The scent of it was so strong 
that all the fairies in the garden sniffed joyfully. Then 
Sweet-of-the-Mountain flew over the wall, and away and 
away till he came to a wood. 

In the wood there was perfect silence. If you had 
walked there your footsteps would have made no sound, 
for the ground was soft and springy with moss. There 
was moss everywhere : moss on the tree-stems and on the 
stones, and carpets and cushions of moss on the ground. 
The fairy picked a piece of it — a piece like a soft green 
feather — and flew ofi^ with it out of the wood. 

Then he went back to his own hills, where the heather 
grew right up to the edge of the cliff*; for he knew that 

26 



THE SEA-FAIRY AND THE LAND-FAIRY 

the best thing of all was to be found there. He saw the 
hills far away, purple and blue, with here and there a 
streak of crimson where the sun was shining on the heather. 
As he came nearer and nearer he grew happier and happier, 
for a fairy is always happiest in his own country. He 
picked a sprig from his own tuft of heather ; and then 
he flew down to the shore to meet the sea-fairy at the 
edge of the ripples. 

He found the nautilus-boat lying on the sand, and 
Laughing Sapphire sitting on a rock talking to the sea- 
anemone. The fairies nodded to each other. 

" This," said Laughing Sapphire to the sea-anemone, 
" is the fairy I was speaking of. He declares that it is 
better to live on land than on the sea. Of course I know 
better than that ! So we have each brought three treasures 
to show you, that you may decide which of us is right." 

The sea-anemone answered in a very sleepy, drawling 
voice : for when you spend all your life fastened to the 
same rock your mind moves rather slowly. 

" Very well," he said, " go on." 

Then Laughing Sapphire showed them his mother-o'- 
pearl shell. 

"This shell," he said, "is lined with a bit of rainbow." 

The sea-anemone waved all his arms about wildly to 
show that he was pleased. 

"And this," said Laughing Sapphire, unrolling the 
crimson seaweed, " is a bit of the ribbon that mermaids use 
for tying their hair." 

" Beautiful ! " murmured the land-fairy. 

" And this," went on the sea-fairy, showing them the 

27 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



pearl, " is one of the lanterns that the moonlight-fairies use 
when they dance on the sea." 

" Beautiful — beautiful ! " said the sea-anemone and the 
land-fairy together. 

Then Laughing Sapphire turned to the land-fairy with an 
air of triumph. 

" Let us see your treasures now," he said a little 
contemptuously. 

Sweet-of-the-Mountain held out a flower-cup with the 
drop of honey in it. 

It was so sweet that the sea-fairy could not help 
exclaiming : " Oh, how delicious ! " 

" That," said the land-fairy, " is the sweetness of the 
garden." 

Then he showed them the little green feather of moss. 

" That," he said, " is the quietness of the woods." 

Then he threw down the sprig of heather. 

" That," he said, smiling, " is the glory of the hills." 

The two fairies looked at each other silently. Each felt 
certain that his own treasures were the best. 

The sea-anemone's arms were all waving furiously. He 
was very much excited, because he knew that the time had 
come for him to decide which of the two fairies had 
brought the most beautiful things ; and as I told you 
before, he was not very quick in making up his mind. 

"Well .'' " said Laughing Sapphire impatiently. "What 
do you think } Is it best to live on the sea or on 
the land } " 

" I think," said the sea-anemone very slowly, " that the 
sea is the best place for a sea-fairy." 

28 



THE SEA-FAIRY AND THE LAND-FAIRY 

" Yes, yes," said the sea-fairy, " of course it is ! " 

" But then, you know," the sea-anemone went on, 
" I can't help thinking that the land is the best place for a 
land-fairy." 

Then he drew in all his arms and became a little knob 
of red jelly. 

" It is possible," said Sweet-of-the-Mountain thought- 
fully, " that there is some sense in what he says. And 
yet" — he sniffed happily at his cup of honey — "and yet 
I don't believe you have anything at sea as sweet as this." 

" It is certainly a very nice scent," agreed Laughing 
Sapphire, "but I do think it would be improved by a 
little salt." 



20 



PRINCESS ORCHID'S PARTY 



PRINCESS ORCHID'S PARTY 



A FAIRY whose name was Hedgeflower once 
lived in a wild rose at the corner of a field. 
One day he went out to search for adventures, 
for most fairies have a great wish for adventures. 
He wandered on for a long time, sometimes walking 
and sometimes flying, and sometimes stoppmg to talk to 
friends, for the wild-rose-fairies have a great many friends. 
He crossed several fields in this way, and then he came to 
a high hedge. He was just thinking of going home when 
he heard a great buzzing of voices on the other side of the 
hedge, and as the voices were fairy-voices he was interested 
at once. Perhaps, he thought, he would find the adventure 
he was looking for on the other side of the hedge. So he 
spread his pink-and-white wings and flew over. 

It was not surprising that he had heard a great many 
fairy-voices, for he found himself in a beautiful garden, 
and all beautiful gardens are, as you know, full of fairies. 
In this garden there were not only the sorts of fairies that 
one meets every day, such as rose-fairies and lily-fairies and 
the quiet little ones that live in mignonette, but there were 
also all kinds of smartly dressed fairies belonging to strange 
and splendid flowers. They all seemed to be getting on 
very well together, for they were all talking loudly about 
something that interested them very much. 

As Hedgeflower dropped down into the middle of the 
group he felt a little shy. But fairies are as a rule kind 
and friendly, so a good many voices called out Good-morning 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



to him as he sat down under the shade of a large purple 
pansy. Then a butterfly whom he had met once or twice 
before came rustling up to him and began to talk. 

" I like this place," said the butterfly. " One meets so 
many different kinds of fairies. But don't sit there. Come 
and let me introduce you to some of my friends." Then 
as they moved away he lowered his voice and went on — 

"Those little pansy-fairies are good little things, but 
they are a bit too thoughtful for me. I find them just 
a trifle dull, you know. But here is a cousin of yours ; 
I must introduce you." 

Hedgeflower looked round and saw that a beautiful 
rose-fairy was standing near. She wore flowing robes of 
two shades of pink, and her appearance was full of dignity. 

" Madame La France," said the butterfly, " may I 
introduce to you a cousin of your own } " 

"A very distant cousin, I am afraid, Madame," said 
Hedgeflower, bowing low. 

Madame La France smiled kindly and asked Hedge- 
flower if he had often been in the garden before. He told 
her that this was his first visit. 

" Then," she cried, " you must come to the party — you 
must certainly come to Princess Orchid's party. She lives 
over there in the glass house, and she has asked all the 
fairies in the garden to a party this afternoon. We have 
been talking about it all day. You must come with me ; 
the Princess will be glad to see any cousin of mine." 

Hedgeflower was delighted. He thought it would be 
great fun to tell the fairies at home all about it : Meadow- 
sweet, and that cheeky little Eyebright, and Buttercup who 

34 



PRINCESS OR emus PARTY 



stared at everything one said, and all the honeysuckle- 
fairies, who were such friends with the wild-rose-fairies 
because their families had lived close together for so long. 
Hedgeflower thought that to go to a Princess's party with 
his beautiful cousin was a nicer adventure than anything 
he had expected when he set out for his walk. 

Meanwhile all the fairies in the garden were making 
their way towards the glass house. 

" You must keep close to me," said Madame La France 
kindly. " The flower in which the Princess lives is some 
way from the door, and you might be lost in the 
crowd." 

In another moment Hedgeflower found himself in a 
scene of the greatest splendour. The glass house was full 
of flowers, and every flower had of course its own special 
fairy, and nearly all of them were magnificently dressed and 
were quite difl^erent to any fairies that Hedgeflower knew. 
The greatest crowd was of course round the beautiful flower 
in which the Princess Orchid lived, and Hedgeflower and 
his cousin found it quite difficult to get near the Princess 
without crushing their wings. They were obliged to walk 
so slowly that Hedgeflower had plenty of time to look 
about him. He saw numbers of his cousins the rose-fairies, 
and tall lily-fairies, and fern-fairies dressed all in green. 
The pansy-fairies were there too, with their sad little faces 
and their splendid purple-and-gold dresses. Quite close to 
him there was a fuchsia-fairy, dressed in a stiff white petti- 
coat with a pointed overskirt of scarlet ; and standing beside 
her were several fairies whose crimson tunics were so fine 
that Hedgeflower asked who they were. 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



" They are the young Prince Begonias," said Madame 
La France. " The Princess, being a foreigner herself, has a 
great many foreign friends. The Begonias think a good 
deal of themselves, but I think myself that our own family 
has more reason to be proud. But come, we can speak to 
the Princess now." 

Princess Orchid was standing on a drooping petal of the 
beautiful flower in which she lived. Her long robes of 
mauve and white swept over the flower as if they were 
themselves petals. Her hair was golden, and her face was 
the loveliest that Hedgeflower had ever seen. She smiled 
at him very graciously when he was introduced to her, and 
after he had seen that smile he took no interest in anything 
else that was going on. He never glanced again at any of 
the fairies who had seemed to him so splendid a short time 
before : he just sat down in a nice shady clump of ferns and 
watched Princess Orchid. He had been to a great many 
parties in his own hedge where the wild-roses grew, but he 
had never seen a fairy or even a butterfly receive her guests 
with so much sweetness and graciousness. He sat there 
for a long time and wished it could be for ever. Then he 
remembered that perhaps he would never see Princess 
Orchid again, and that made him sad. 

A fairy party is never dull. Fairies are full of fun and 
enjoy everything very much. There was a great deal of 
talking and laughing and sipping of dew flavoured with 
sunshine, which is the drink fairies like instead of tea. The 
fairies of the Canterbury Bells had brought their music too, 
and gave a great deal of pleasure. It seemed as if the party 
were going to be a great success, when unfortunately a 

36 




SHE SMILED AT HIM VERY GRACIOUSLY WHEN HE WAS INTRODUCED TO HER 



PRINCESS ORCHID'S PARTY 

disaster happened which was talked about for many a day 
afterwards. 

On the roof of the glass house, just above the Princess's 
head, there was a large spider who was very busy spinning 
his web. He was so busy that he did not look where he 
was going, and when people forget to look where they are 
going it is a very common thing for accidents to happen. 
The spider came lower and lower, spinning all the time, 
while Princess Orchid was talking very kindly to a shy 
little violet-fairy and was not noticing anything else. Lower 
and lower, nearer and nearer, came the spider. 

Suddenly a shrill little voice was heard to cry out — 

" Take care, Princess, take care ! " and Hedgeflower, 
flying from his clump of ferns, flung himself against the 
great spider. He was too late. Flop ! The spider fell 
with all his weight upon the flower in which the Princess 
lived ! 

No flower could bear the weight of such a monster, and 
to the horror of all the fairies the beautiful mauve orchid 
trembled and drooped, and then slowly fell to pieces, petal 
by petal. The Princess spread her dainty wings and flew 
safely to the ground. Then she turned and looked sadly 
at the ruin of her home. It lay bruised and crushed and 
shapeless on the earth, and if once a fairy's flower-home 
falls to pieces it can never be put together again. 

There was a great commotion in the glass house. All 
the fairies flew about in a fuss, chattering angrily and trying 
to find the spider who had done the mischief. But he had 
quickly climbed up the rope that he had been spinning, and 
was hiding behind a leaf, so he was never found. 

37 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



Now, it is a very uncommon thing to find a fairy who 
is not kind and anxious to help other people, so all the 
Princess's guests crowded round her and begged her to 
come and stay with them. The fuchsia-fairies declared they 
knew of the loveliest little fuchsia-bud which was in want 
of some one to take care of it : it would really be a charity 
if the Princess would live there. Prince Begonia objected 
to this, because, he said, a fuchsia-bud was not a fit place for 
the Princess to live in ; the right home for her was in one 
of his magnificent palaces. The lily-fairies cried out that 
this was all nonsense, because any one could see that the 
Princess would feel more at home in a white flower than in 
a red one, after living so long in the pale orchid. 

While all this talking was going on the Princess did 
not seem to be paying very much attention to it, though 
of course she bowed and smiled and thanked the fairies 
very prettily, as was only right. She looked round several 
times, as if she wanted some one who was not there. At 
last she said — 

" Where is the little fairy with the kind face, who tried 
to save my home .? " 

Several fairies pushed Hedgeflower forward. He felt 
and looked very shy. 

The Princess smiled at him, and then she held out her 
hand. 

*' I will go with you," she said, " and be a wild-rose- 
fairy." 

Hedgeflower dropped on one knee before her. 

" My home is in a common hedge," he said, " and there 
are thorns round it. But there is no glass between me 

38 



PRINCESS ORCHID'S PARTY 

and the open sky. I think, Princess, that a fairy should 
be always under the open sky and the sunshine." 

" That," said the Princess, " is exactly what I think 
myself." 

So Hedgeflower and the Princess spread their wings 
and took each other's hands and flew away out of the 
window of the glass house, and across the garden and over 
the hedge. They flew on and on, across field after field, 
till they came to the hedge with the wild roses. 

There the Princess Orchid made her home, among the 
honeysuckles and the meadowsweet. She was no longer a 
princess with sweeping robes, but a quiet little wild-rose- 
fairy in a pink-and-white frock. But there was no glass 
between her and the sunshine. 



39 



THE CLOUD THAT 
HAD NO LINING 



THE CLOUD THAT 
HAD NO LINING 



THERE was once a cloud that had no lining. 
You have often, I dare say, heard grown-up 
people say that every cloud has a silver lining, 
and so you will understand that a cloud with- 
out a lining is a very uncommon thing. 

The fairies who lived in the cloud found it very 
uncomfortable, because, you see, it let the rain come 
through. 

" If only our cloud had a lining," they said, " the rain 
would not come through, and that would be very nice 
for us." 

" We must really have it lined," said one. 

** What with ? " asked another. 

" Why, with silver, of course," said a third. " Every 
one knows that a cloud ought to be lined with silver." 

" But we have no silver ! " 

" Then we must get some. It is ridiculous to go on 
living in this state of dampness. Other fairies have com- 
fortable clouds over their heads, and why should we be 
always drenched ? And all for want of a simple silver 
lining ! " 

" Where does one find silver ? " asked one of the fairies. 

"There are a good many kinds of silver," said a fairy 
who had been about the world a great deal. "There is 
the kind that is dug out of the earth, — but that is a 
common kind of stuff, and no use for lining clouds with. 

43 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



Then there is the silver stream that you can see far below, 
winding through the fields and shining white in the sun. 
That is a much better kind of silver than the other. Then, 
of course, moonshine makes beautiful silver : you can see 
it glittering on the sea whenever the moon shines. But 
I really don't know what would be the best kind of silver 
to line clouds with." 

" We must try them all, and see which is the best,'* 
said another fairy. 

They went on talking about it for some time, because 
such an important matter could not be settled in a hurry. 
At last it was arranged that three of them should fly away 
and look for some silver to line their cloud with. The 
names of the three fairies were Pearlywing, and Skybright, 
and Mist-of-the-Morning. 

Now, all the time that the fairies were talking. Pearly- 
wing was looking down at the silver stream far below, 
winding through the meadows. It was so white and 
shining that he felt sure the silver of it would make a 
beautiful lining for the cloud. So when he was told to 
fly away and look for some silver, he lost no time in 
wondering where to go. He spread his wings — the soft 
grey wings that cloud-fairies have — and he flew down and 
down, away from the cloud to the meadows where the 
silver stream was shining. The nearer he came to it the 
more it sparkled. He felt sure it must be made of the very 
best silver. 

But how could he carry it ? A fairy's cap is not very 
large, and he had nothing else. 

" I must just carry up a capful at a time, and empty 

44 



THE CLOUD THAT HAD NO LINING 

it, and come back for another. 1 must go on till there 
is enough silver to line the cloud with," he said to himself. 

So he filled his tiny cap with the silver of the stream, 
and flew up again to his cloud, carrying the cap very care- 
fully for fear of spilling the silver. Then he went round 
to the back of the cloud where the lining ought to have 
been, and poured the silver out of his cap. 

Now, as I dare say you have guessed, the silver of the 
stream was really nothing but water. So when it was 
poured out of the cap it fell right through the cloud, and 
made the fairies on the other side much wetter than they 
had ever been before ! I need not say that they were very 
much annoyed. They made so much commotion, splutter- 
ing and grumbling and scolding, that Pearlywing heard 
them through the cloud, and went round to see what was 
the matter. 

" What we want," said one of them angrily, shaking the 
water off his wings, " is something to keep us dry, not 
something to make us wet ! " 

" I am so sorry ! " said Pearlywing ; " but I thought it 
was such good silver ! And now, I suppose, you don't 
want any more of it." 

" Certainly not ! " said all the fairies very quickly. 

" It is most unfortunate," said Pearlywing. " I can't 
understand it at all. The silver looked so very nice." 

He was not a very clever fairy, I am afraid. 

" I hope Skybright will have more sense," grumbled 
the wet fairies. 

Skybright meanwhile was waiting on the sea-shore, 
far below the clouds. He was waiting for the moon to 

45 



FAIBIES I HAVE MET 



rise above the sea. He had to wait a long time, but he 
did not mind that, because there are always such nice 
fairies to talk to on the sea-shore. 

At last the big round moon sailed slowly up into the sky. 
At the same moment a hundred thousand moonshine-fairies 
rushed out across the sea towards Skybright, flying and 
dancing on the water, and turning it into a sheet of silver 
as they came. For the moonshine-fairies carry silver with 
them wherever they fly, and scatter it as they go. 

This was the moment that Skybright had been wait- 
ing for. 

" Please, pretty moonshine-fairies," he cried, running to 
the water's edge and holding out his arms, " give me some 
of your silver to line my cloud with, and keep the rain 
from coming through ! " 

Then the moonshine-fairies danced towards him across 
the sea, with their tiny hands full of silver. 

" Take our silver, little cloud-fairy," they said, " and 
line your cloud with it, and dip your wings in it, and 
scatter it over the earth as you fly, for everything is made 
more beautiful by our silver." 

Then they poured the silver out of their hands into 
his, and because the silver of the moonshine-fairies is very 
light he was able to carry a great deal of it. He filled the 
pockets of his pretty grey coat with it, and he filled his 
cap, and took a quantity of it in his hands. And he said 
Good-bye to the moonshine-fairies, and flew away up to 
the clouds. 

When the other cloud-fairies saw the beautiful silver he 
had brought with him they were delighted. They all set to 

46 




AND BECAUSE THE SILVER OF THE MOONSHINE-FAIRIES IS VERY LIGHT HE WAS 
ABLE TO CARRY A GREAT DEAL OF IT 



THE CLOUD THAT HAD NO LINING 

work to line the cloud with it, spreading it out carefully 
and making it nice and tidy at the edges. When the lining 
was finished it looked lovely, and the fairies were much 
pleased with it. They sat down under the cloud, feeling 
quite safe from the rain. 

But unfortunately their satisfaction did not last long. 
Presently it began to rain. The fairies smiled and nodded 
at each other, and agreed that it was very pleasant to be 
safe from a wetting. Then a big heavy drop fell right 
through the cloud and lining and all — and another — and 
another, and soon the fairies were as wet and uncomfortable 
and cross as if the cloud had never been lined. It was 
really very annoying. 

The truth is that the silver of the moonshine-fairies is 
rather thin — altogether too thin to keep the rain out, and 
of very little use for lining clouds with. 

"It is really too bad ! " cried the poor cloud-fairies, 
wringing the water out of their nice little grey coats. 
*' What are we to do .'' Any one would have thought that 
such beautiful silver would keep the rain out ! " 

" Perhaps," said one of them who liked to be cheerful, 
" Mist-of-the-Morning may bring us a better kind of silver 
even than this." 

So they decided to grumble no more till Mist-of-the- 
Morning came home. 

Now, when Mist-of-the-Morning started out to look for 
silver he did not fly down to the earth at all. 

" Every cloud but ours has a silver lining," he said to 
himself ; " so the best way to find the right kind of silver 
will be to ask the fairies who live in the other clouds." 

47 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



He saw the clouds all about him, each with a bright rim 
round it, which was the edge of its lining. He went to the 
nearest one and spoke to the fairies that lived in it. 

" Brother fairies," he said, " where can I find silver to 
make my cloud a lining as beautiful as yours ? " 

And the fairies answered — 

" Go to the sunbeam-fairies. Their silver is the best 
for lining clouds with." 

Then Mist-of-the-Morning went to one cloud after 
another, and asked all the fairies that lived in them the 
same question. And they all answered — • 

" Go to the sunbeam-fairies. Their silver is the very 
best." 

So Mist-of-the-Morning flew away to the nearest sun- 
beam. It was crowded with fairies, who were all hard at 
work, for the sunbeam-fairies have more work to do than 
any others. As they worked they were laughing and 
singing, for the sunbeam-fairies are always happy. 

"Please, kind sunbeam-fairies," said Mist-of-the-Morn- 
ing, " I want some silver to line my cloud with. It must 
be the very best silver, and every one says that none but 
yours is good enough." 

Then all the sunbeam fairies shouted out — 

" Quite right, little cloud-fairy, quite right ! It is waste 
of time to line a cloud with any silver but ours. Our silver 
is the very best 1 " 

While they were speaking they all rushed to the end of 
the sunbeam, and before Mist-of-the-Morning knew what 
they were going to do, they had cut off a great piece of it. 
There it lay in a shining heap ! Mist-of-the-Morning had 

48 



THE CLOUD THAT HAD NO LINING 

to shade his eyes, because its silvery brightness dazzled 
him. 

*' Sunbeam silver ! " sang the fairies. " Sunbeam silver 
is the best of all ! " 

Then Mist-of-the-Morning spread his wings and flew 
home, traihng the sunbeam after him. And all the fairies 
in his own cloud welcomed him with shouts and singing, 
because they saw at once that sunbeam silver was the best 
of all. 

They made their cloud a beautiful thick lining of it, 
with the silver shining all round the edge. And the rain 
never came through any more. 

Now that I have told you this story I hope you will not 
forget that it is waste of time to line a cloud with any kind 
of silver except the kind that sunbeams are made of. 



49 



THE FAIRIES WHO 
CHANGED PLACES 



THE FAIRIES fFHO 
CHANGED PLACES 

THIS Story is about something that happened 
long, long, and ever so long ago, before the 
fairies had really settled down to their work. 
There was then a little fairy called Star- 
blossom, whose business it was to take care of the earliest 
Spring flowers ; and there was also a fairy called Drop-of- 
Crystal, whose work it was to make snowflakes. These 
two fairies were great friends. 

One day Starblossom had not very much to do. She 
had finished sharpening the little green spikes of her flower- 
leaves, and had even made ready one or two white buds. 
But when she saw that Drop-of-Crystal was very busy 
making heavy drops of snow, she thought to herself that 
there was no need for her to be in a hurry about the Spring 
flowers. They would be much more comfortable under- 
ground if Drop-of-Crystal were going to fling snowflakes 
all over them. So she carefully covered up her buds and 
went off^ to watch the snow-fairy at work. 

Drop-of-Crystal was too busy to speak. He was 
making an enormous quantity of snowflakes. Starblossom 
was silent for some time, but at last she asked — 

" What are they all for } " 

" For a snow-storm, of course," said Drop-of-Crystal 
shortly. 

" Are they all to be used in one storm } " asked Star- 
blossom. " It will be a very big storm, I'm afraid." 

53 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



" It will," said Drop-of-Crystal — " very big. You'd 
better take care of those flowers of yours, or they'll be 
hurt." 

"There are not many of them above ground," Star- 
blossom answered. " I saw what you were doing. But 
in any case my flowers are not likely to be hurt by the 
snow-fairies so much as by the frost-fairies." 

Drop-of-Crystal said nothing to this, but went on 
working busily. 

Presently Starblossom spoke again. 

" It seems to me that snowflakes are very easy to 
make. Your work is really much easier than mine. It is 
very difficult to make flowers nicely. One has to be so 
particular about the shape of them." 

" I don't agree with you at all," said Drop-of-Crystal 
rather crossly. " My work is much harder than yours. I 
have to make thousands and thousands of snowflakes for 
the very smallest snow-storm. You can take quite a long 
time arranging the shape of your flowers, but 1 have to work 
in a hurry, or the storm would run short of snowflakes. 
And that would be very serious." 

" Not half so serious as it would be if the Spring were 
to run short of flowers," said Starblossom indignantly. 

" Look here," said Drop-of-Crystal, losing his temper, 
" if you like my work so much I wish you'd do it ! You 
can set to work and make a few thousand snowflakes while 
I take a rest." 

" I shall be delighted to do such easy work," said Star- 
blossom ; " but of course if I make your snowflakes you 
must make my flowers. That is only fair." 

54 




DROP-OF-CRYSTAL WAS TOO BUSY TO SPEAK 



THE FAIRIES WHO CHANGED PLACES 

" Very well," said Drop-of-Crystal, " I don't mind. 
After all, work of that kind is just the same as resting." 

So he flew off to the place where Starblossom's flowers 
were beginning to show their spiky leaves above ground. 
He had never made a flower before, and did not know how 
to set about it, but he was much too proud to ask Star- 
blossom how it ought to be done. So he did the best he 
could by himself. 

It was a long time before he had finished a flower- 
bud. When the first one was done he thought it looked 
rather odd. 

"There is something peculiar about that flower-bud," 
he said to himself. " It is really more like a big drop of 
snow than a flower 1 I suppose that comes of making 
snowflakes for so long. I must try again." 

So he tried again, and again, and again. But every 
time the flower-bud was exactly like a big drop of snow. 

" I can't help it," he said at last. " They will keep on 
being like drops of snow. But, after all, there is no reason 
why a flower should not be like a drop of snow. They are 
dear little flowers, anyway, and 1 shall go on making them 
like this." 

So he went on for a long time making flowers that were 
like drops of snow, and dear little flowers they were. 

In the meantime Starblossom was hard at work making 
snowflakes. She knew no more about making snowflakes 
than Drop-of-Crystal knew about making flowers, but, like 
Drop-of-Crystal, she determined to do the best she could 
without asking for help. She took a long time to make 
the first snowflake, because she was accustomed to finish 

SS 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



her flowers very carefully, and she liked everything she 
made to be pretty. She laughed to herself as she put down 
the first finished snowflake. 

" That is what comes of making nothing but flowers," 
she said. " That snowflake is exactly like a flower ! " 

She was quite right. The snowflake was like a delicate, 
starry flower, light as air, and clear as crystal, and glistening 
in the sunshine. 

" I like that kind of snowflake," said Starblossom. " I 
shall make some more." 

So she made a great number of snowflakes, and they 
were all like feathery flowers, all different in shape, but all 
beautiful. 

" I should like to go on making snow-flowers always," 
she said to herself. 

At that moment Drop-of-Crystal flew up to her in a 
great hurry. 

*' Oh, do come and see my nice new flowers," he cried. 
"They are quite a new kind, and they are so pretty — ^just 
like drops of snow ! " 

" And my drops of snow are just like flowers ! " cried 
Starblossom. " And I want to go on making them always, 
because they are so beautiful." 

"Well then," said Drop-of-Crystal, clapping his 
hands, " suppose you and I change places ! You shall 
go on making snowflakes, and I'll go on making 
flowers 1 " 

So that was the way they settled it. 

And because Drop-of-Crystal was a snow-fairy, the 
flowers he made were always like drops of snow ; and 

56 



THE FAIRIES WHO CHANGED PLACES 

because Starblossom was a flower-fairy, the snowflakes she 
made were always like flowers. 

That is the reason why, to this day, the first flowers of 
Spring are like drops of snow, and the snowflakes arc like 
beautiful, starry flowers. You must often have noticed it 
yourself. 



57 



THE MAKING OF THE OPAL 



THE MAKING OF THE OPAL 



THE opal was the last of the precious stones to be 
made. And this was how it happened. 
Long, long ago — so long ago that no one 
had ever seen a ruby or a sapphire or an 
emerald — there was a Princess who had a great many friends 
among the fairies. Because they loved her they called her 
the Dear Princess, and the country in which she lived was 
known as the Crystal Mountain. It was the delight of the 
fairies to do her bidding, to fly and fly over hill and dale to 
fetch her anything she wished to have. Sometimes she 
wished to have very curious things, because all the ordinary 
things that Princesses like to have had been brought to her 
long ago by the fairies. If she wanted things that no one 
had ever heard of before, the fairies would set to work to 
make them for her. One day she said — 

" Oh, Fairies dear, I am going to be married. I am 
going to marry the Prince of the Far Land over the Hill, 
and the wedding is to be the grandest ever seen. My dress 
is lovely : it was cut out of a rainbow on purpose for me, 
and trimmed with the edge of a sunset cloud. But what 
am I to wear in my hair ? " 

Now, the Princess's hair hung over her in dark waves, 
like a long cloak. 

" Flowers ! " cried the fairies. " Quick — quick — let us 
fly for flowers to twist in the Dear Princess's hair ! " 

So they all flew away, some in one direction and some 
in another, while the Dear Princess of the Crystal 

6i 



FAIRTES I HAVE MET 



Mountain sat and waited, with her cloud of hair hanging 
round her. 

Very soon she saw them flying back, some from gardens 
Hnd some from orchards, and some from the hills where the 
heather grew, and some from country lanes where the flowers 
were very sweet, and some from hothouses where the flowers 
were very rare. Wherever they came from they were all 
laden with flowers. Some brought roses, red and white 
and yellow ; some brought heavy white lilies ; some brought 
long trails of honeysuckle. Some were carrying great 
bundles of forget-me-nots ; others had strange flowers from 
distant countries ; others had bunches of golden daffbdils. 
They crowded round the Dear Princess, and laid the flowers 
in great heaps beside her. 

" Wear my roses ! " cried one. " See how the crimson 
of them glows in your dark hair ! " 

"Wear my daffbdils ! " cried another. '* See how they 
shine like gold ! " 

" Wear my lilies ! " cried a third, " for they match your 
lily-face ! " 

Then they all held up the flowers against the Princess's 
dark hair, to see which looked the best ; red, or yellow, or 
white. The Princess herself found it very hard to make 
up her mind, because they were all so beautiful that she 
would have liked to wear them all. First she chose one, 
and then another, and then she thought that, after all, a third 
would look the best. 

This went on for so long that at last the flowers died. 

" Ah, look," said the Princess, " the flowers are 
dead ! " 

62 



THE MAKING OF THE OPAL 

" Oh dear, oh dear ! " cried all the fairies together. 
"The flowers are dead ! What shall we do now ? " 

The Princess sat down among the dead flowers, and 
thought. 

" I must have something that will not die," she said at 
last, " something stronger than flowers. In my dark hair I 
must have something that will gleam and sparkle. I must 
have colour that will not fade, a dewdrop that will not melt, 
a spark of fire that will not go out." 

" Dear me ! " said the fairies ; and they said no more 
for some time, for they were thinking that the Dear Princess 
wanted a good deal. 

After a time three of them began talking together all at 
once, as if a very good idea had suddenly come into their 
heads. 

Then these three spread their wings and flew away. 
They flew far away from the Princess and her palace, far 
from the other fairies, up and up to the heights of the 
Crystal Mountain. Then each of them chipped ofi^ a little 
piece of the rock at the top of the mountain, and each, as 
he did it, laughed aloud gleefully. Then each little fairy 
tucked his chip of rock under his arm ; and they all nodded 
to each other, still laughing, and spread their wings again, 
and flew cT in diff'erent directions. 

The first of the three, with his chip of rock under his 
arm, flew straight to the sea-shore. On the shore, close to 
the shining blue sea, there lived a very nice mermaid who 
was a great friend of the fairy's. So he flew to her with the 
bit of crystal rock and said — 

" Mermaid, mermaid, here is a chip from the Crystal 

63 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



Mountain. Take it for me, and dip it into the darkest and 
deepest deep of the blue sea." 

So the mermaid took the crystal chip and dived down 
with it into the darkest and deepest deep of the blue sea. 

Now, it is well known that whatever is touched by the 
deepest deep of the sea is changed by it for ever, and 
becomes itself a part of the sea. And so, when the mermaid 
brought the chip of crystal back to the fairy it had become 
like a chip of the sea — shining and gleaming and deep, 
deep blue. 

And that was the first sapphire. 

And when the second fairy left the Crystal Mountain 
with his little bit of rock under his arm, he flew to the great 
forest where the wood-pixies lived. 

*' Pixies, pixies," he called to them, " here is a chip from 
the Crystal Mountain. Take it for me into the darkest 
and deepest deep of the green forest, and do not bring it 
back to me till the green of the forest has sunk into its very 
heart." 

Of course you must have noticed that the wood-pixies 
have the gift of making things green ; for every one knows 
that in the forest where they live everything is green — the 
trees and the grass and the soft moss. And the shade 
under the trees is dark, dark green, and here and there 
where the sun peeps through, the green is very bright. So 
the pixies took the chip of crystal away with them into the 
darkest deep of the forest and laid it in the green moss 
where the green shadows were darkest under the green 
trees. And after a time the magic of the pixies began to 
work, and the greenness of the forest sank into the very 

64 



THE MAKING OF THE OPAL 

heart of the crystal. Then they carried it back to the 
fairy, and he saw that the greenness of the deep shadows 
had sunk into the heart of the crystal, and because the 
sunshine had peeped through the trees there was a glint 
of light in it. 

And that was the first emerald. 

When the third fairy left the Crystal Mountain with his 
little bit of rock under his arm, he flew away to that other 
mountain where the fire-gnomes worked underground. At 
the top of the fire-mountain there was a great hole, and when 
the fairy stood at the edge and looked in he could see the 
gnomes at work, keeping the fire alight that warms the 
world. So he called out to them — 

" Fire-gnomes, fire-gnomes, here is a chip from the 
Crystal Mountain. Take it for me into the hottest and 
deepest deep of the fire, and keep it there until its heart 
is glowing red." 

So the fire-gnomes took the chip of crystal and carried 
it down, down into the deepest deep of the fire that warms 
the world. And the fire sparkled and glowed and wrapped 
it round. And before very long the crystal began to glow 
too as it lay in the fire, for of course a fire that is hot 
enough to warm the world is hot enough to warm a chip 
of rock. So the fire-gnomes picked it up again and 
carried it back to the fairy who was waiting at the edge 
of the great hole ; and he saw that the heart of the crystal 
chip was crimson and glowing Hke a fire. 

And that was the first ruby. 

Then he flew away from the fire-mountain with the ruby 
safely tucked under his arm, and went back to the Dear 

65 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



Princess. At the same moment the fairy with the emerald 
arrived from the forest, and the fairy with the sapphire 
came back from the sea. They flew to the feet of the 
Dear Princess, and held out the beautiful stones to her. 

The Princess clapped her hands and cried — 

" Oh, how splendid, how splendid they are ! The blue is 
like a bit of the dark sea, and the green is like the shade of 
the forest with the sun peeping in, and the red is like the red 
heart of the fire ! " 

Then the first fairy laid the sapphire against her 
dark hair. 

"You must wear it on your wedding-day," he said. 

But the second fairy held up the emerald and said — 

" No, no, this is what you must wear ! " 

And the third fairy laughed and cried — 

" How silly they are ! Any one can see that red Is the 
colour to wear in your dark hair ! " 

The Princess looked from one to the other and was 
puzzled. She thought all the stones were so beautiful 
that she would have liked to wear them all ; but she did 
not think they would look really nice all together. 

" What am I to do ? " she said, puckering up her 
forehead. " How can I choose when they are all so 
beautiful ? " 

Then there was a very long discussion about it. Each 
of the three fairies wished his own stone to be worn, and 
the Princess could not tell what to do. 

" Each of them is quite beautiful," she said, " but, 
dear fairies, I am obliged to say that I do not like the look 
of them all together ! " 

66 



THE MAKING OF THE OPAL 

All this time a very small fairy had been sitting quietly 
in the corner, saying nothing, but thinking a great deal. 
He came forward now and spoke. 

" Give the stones to me," he said, " and I will settle 
the question." 

So he took the three stones and flew away, far up into 
the sky, above the Princess's dark head, above the houses 
and the trees, above the Crystal Mountain even, into the 
misty sunshine behind the clouds. 

Then he called to the sun-fairies — 

" Sun-fairies, sun-fairies, melt me these stones in your 
furnace. Melt them, and mix them, and make them into 
one stone. And soften their colours with mist of sunshine, 
so that my Dear Princess may wear them all together in 
her hair." 

So the sun-fairies carried the three stones away, and 
melted them all into one, and mixed them with mist of 
sunshine, and it lay over the colours like a cloud. And 
then there was only one stone, but it was a great big one, 
and as beautiful as all the others put together. For, you 
see, that was just what it was. 

The small fairy took it carefully into his tiny arms and 
flew down again through the clouds, past the Crystal 
Mountain and past the tops of the trees, to the feet of the 
Dear Princess. 

He held up the great gleaming stone to her, and she 
thought she had never seen anything so beautiful. For 
the blue of the sea was in it, and the green shade of the 
forest, and the red heart of fire. And over the colours the 
mist of sunshine lay like a veil. 

67 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



And that was the first opal. 

Of course the Dear Princess of the Crystal Mountain 
wore the great opal on the day that she was married to the 
Prince of the Far Land over the Hill. And when she was 
an old, old Princess, with white hair instead of dark, she 
often showed the opal to her grandchildren, and told them 
how it was made of blue sea, and green shadows, and fire, 
melted all together by the fairies and mixed with mist 
of sunshine. 



68 




OF COURSE THE DEAR PRINCESS .... WORE THE GREAT OPAL ON THE 
DAY THAT SHE' WAS MARRIED 



THE BIG SPIDER'S DIAMONDS 



THE BIG SPIDER'S DIAMONDS 



THE sun-fairies were hiding behind a black cloud ; 
but in the middle of the cloud there was a 
hole, and through this hole the sun-fairies 
peeped. 

In this way they were able to see everything that went 
on in the garden where the Big Spider lived. If the Big 
Spider had looked up at the sky he could have seen the 
sun-fairies peeping through the hole in the black cloud ; 
but he did not look up, because he was thinking of other 
things. He was in an excited state of mind. 

Quite lately the Big Spider had spun a most beautiful web 
for himself, and had slung it between two tall blades of grass. 
He was very proud of it, for it was the nicest web in all 
the garden, being of a lovely and difficult pattern, and made 
with great skill. And now something had happened in the 
night to make it still more beautiful. While the Big Spider 
was asleep the dew-fairies had crept up from the grass, and 
had hung hundreds of sparkling diamonds on the strings of 
his web. He knew it must have been done by the dew- 
fairies, because they only keep the very best diamonds. 

" Dear me, this is most kind of them," he said to him- 
self. " They must have noticed that my web was the best 
in the garden ; otherwise they would not have done it so 
much honour." 

As a matter of fact, the dew-fairies had been hanging 
diamonds that night on the webs of all the spiders in the 
garden ; but the Big Spider was so much occupied in 

71 



FAIRIES I HA VE MET 



admiring his own web that he had no attention to spare for 
the others. 

" Good morning," he said pleasantly to a fly who was 
passing. " Have you seen my diamonds ^ They look 
very well there, don't they ? They show off the pattern of 
the web. Won't you come a little closer ? You can hardly 
see them properly at that distance. One really sees them 
best when one is inside the web. Can't you come in this 
morning ? " 

" No, thank you," said the fly firmly ; for his mother 
had told him that the Big Spider was not a nice friend for 
little flies. 

Then he flew away, and the Spider went on admiring 
his diamonds. He looked at them first from the right, 
and then from the left, and then he stepped backwards and 
looked at them again. If you have ever seen a person who 
paints pictures you will know exactly how he behaved. 

All this time the sun-fairies had been peeping through 
the hole in the black cloud and watching the Big Spider. 
They could not help laughing at him. 

" Ridiculous creature ! " cried one. " Look at him 
admiring his web, as if it were the only one that had ever 
been hung with diamonds 1 " 

" If he would look about him a little bit," said another, 
" he would see that the whole garden is blazing with 
diamonds this morning." 

" The very grass is all twinkly and shiny with them," 
said a third, " but the grass-fairies are not behaving in that 
absurd way." 

" No fairy would be so silly," said a fourth. 

72 



THE BIG SPIDER'S DIAMONDS 

Suddenly a little sun-fairy began to clap his hands. 

" I've got an idea," he cried. 

As his ideas were generally full of mischief and very 
interesting, all the other fairies stopped talking. 

" It's a lovely idea," he went on, chuckling. " This is 
what we'll do. We'll wait till that silly old Spider goes to 
sleep or is busy, and then we'll rush down — quick as quick 
— and steal his diamonds ! " 

Then all the sun-fairies laughed and clapped their hands 
so loudly that the hole in the black cloud grew a good deal 
larger. They thought it was a grand idea. 

They had not long to wait. Presently the Spider 
became rather tired of admiring his diamonds all by himself, 
so he set to work to send out invitations for a fly-party. 
He asked all the flies in the neighbourhood to come and 
see how nice his web looked when it was hung with 
diamonds. As soon as the sun-fairies saw that he was busy 
they took each other's hands, and with a little run and a 
big jump they all burst through the hole in the black 
cloud. Then they flew softly down to the garden where 
the Big Spider lived. 

" How nice and warm it is getting ! " thought the 
Spider. 

Presently he said to himself — 

*' My diamonds must be sparkling beautifully in this 
sunshine. I'll just take a look at them." 

He turned round, expecting to see the pattern of his 
web delicately outlined in sparks of light. You will not be 
surprised to hear that he saw nothing of the kind. He saw 
his web, it is true, looking like filmy lace against the green 

73 ^ 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



of the grass ; but there was not one single diamond hang- 
ing upon it ! 

Then the rage of the Big Spider was terrible to see. 

He stamped with all his legs, and he rolled himself 
round and round, and he used all the most dreadful threats 
in spider-language. 

" I don't care who the thief is," he said ; " I shall think 
no more of eating him than if he were a fly ! " 

At that moment he heard the sweetest little laugh just 
behind him. This made him so angry that he spent a long 
time in looking for the person who laughed. While he was 
still searching the sun-fairies flew up again to the black 
clouds, carrying the diamonds with them. 

" There," they said, as they threw the diamonds down 
on the cloud, " he won't find them there ! " 

They had forgotten for the moment that, hidden in the 
black cloud, there were a great number of rain-fairies. 
Now the rain-fairies never enjoy themselves so much as 
when they are annoying the sun-fairies : and in the same 
way there is nothing that pleases the sun-fairies so much as 
a good quarrel with the rain-fairies. This does not pre- 
vent them from being very friendly when they are not 
quarrelling. 

The rain-fairies had seen all that had happened. They 
pretended to think that the sun-fairies had behaved very 
unkindly to the Big Spider. 

"It's too bad," they said, "to steal the poor thing's 
diamonds. It's not fair. Let's throw them down to him." 

Then a great fight began between the sun-fairies and 
the rain-fairies for the diamonds, and the fight lasted a long 

74 




THE WEB \ND THE DIAMONDS AND THE BIG SPIDER HIMSELF ALL FELL TO 

THE GROUND 



THE BIG SPIDERS DIAMONDS 

time, and all the time that it lasted the Big Spider was in 
a rage. 

At last the rain-fairies won the fight, and went off with 
the diamonds in their arms. 

" Now we'll throw them to the Big Spider," they said, 
"and we'll see how glad he is when his web is hung with 
diamonds as it was before." 

They forgot that the dew-fairies, when they had trimmed 
the web with the diamonds, had crept up softly and touched 
the strings with gentle fingers. But the rain-fairies are 
rather rough. 

They flung out their little arms and threw the diamonds 
down out of the black cloud. Down dropped the diamonds, 
and down, and down, till they reached the garden where the 
Big Spider lived, and the web that the Big Spider had made. 
But instead of hanging on the web in rows, like little lighted 
lamps, they dropped into the middle of it with a crash and 
a dash and a splash, and broke it into a great many pieces, 
so that the web and the diamonds and the Big Spider him- 
self all fell to the ground. 

And by the time the Big Spider was standing on all his 
legs again the diamonds had disappeared into the grass. 

The truth is that the dew-fairies had found them and 
had taken them home. I expect they will keep them till 
the Big Spider has made a new web. 



75 



A LITTLE GIRL IN A BOOK 



A LITTLE GIRL IN A BOOK 

CHRISTABEL was a little girl who read a great 
many books. She noticed that the girls and 
boys in the books were not altogether like the 
girls and boys who played with her in the Square 
and came to tea with her. The children in the books were 
wonderfully brave and clever ; and when they were having 
their magnificent adventures they always did exactly the 
right thing at the right moment. They never had a dull 
minute, and they never said anything silly. The girls and 
boys who came to tea with Christabel were not like this, 
and Christabel knew that she herself was not like this. She 
never had any adventures, and she knew that even if she 
ever did have one she would not behave at all bravely or 
cleverly. And she was often so dull that she drummed 
with her fingers on the window and said — 

" What on earth shall I do ? " 

Now, Christabel had a Big Sister who wrote books. 

One day she said to her Big Sister — 

" How I do wish I were a little girl in a book ! Nothing 
ever happens to little girls in real life. It is so dull ! " 

The Big Sister went on writing, and said nothing. 

" It's no use talking to her," thought Christabel, 
" because she always goes on writing." 

A few days after this Christabel began to feel rather 
strange. A kind of stiffness came into all her limbs, so that 
they would not do what she told them. And sometimes 
she found herself saying things that she had not intended to 

79 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



say at all. This puzzled her and made her very uncom- 
fortable. She wondered if other people noticed that there 
was something wrong with her. She even thought of 
speaking to her Big Sister about it, but the Big Sister was 
so busy writing that it was no use to try and make her hear. 

This went on for some time. Christabel grew stiffer 
and stiffer, and more and more uncomfortable ; and her Big 
Sister went on writing busily. 

At last one day Christabel understood what had 
happened. She woke up and found that everything round 
her had changed ; the people and the place and everything. 
She was frightened at first, and then the truth suddenly 
flashed into her mind. A most remarkable and unusual 
and unexpected thing had happened : her Big Sister had 
put her into a book ! 

" So I really am a little girl in a book, after all ! " she 
said to herself. 

She tried to say it aloud, but she found she couldn't. 
The words were not in the book, you see. 

" Now I am going to enjoy myself," she thought, " and 
never be dull any more." 

There was not much chance of her being dull, for the 
book was full of adventures and narrow escapes, and other 
delightful things. 

First she was captured by pirates ; and after having a 
terrible time with them she was saved from them by a ship- 
wreck. The shipwreck did not do her much good, how- 
ever, for she at once fell into the hands of the most dreadful 
savages. So you will understand that she was not at all 
likely to be dull. 

80 



A LITTLE GIRL IN A BOOK 

Christabel was delighted to find that she behaved, like 
other little girls in books, with the greatest courage and 
cleverness. Whenever an adventure was going on she 
always managed to get out of every difficulty, and she saved 
the lives of several of the other people in the book by her 
bravery. The strange thing was that she found it quite 
easy to be brave ; while she was a little girl in real life she 
had not found it easy at all. 

" I do hope the book has a happy ending," she thought 
sometimes. 

She wished very much that she could peep into the end 
of the book, as she used to do when she was a little girl in 
real life. Meantime every chapter was more exciting than 
the last. Of course Christabel did not know whether she 
would escape from the savages at all. Perhaps they were 
going to eat her. That would not be a happy ending to the 
book, she felt. 

After a great many terrible dangers, she managed to 
escape ; for a ship sailed into the bay at the right moment, 
and took her home to England. This was the end of the 
book. The person who was reading it shut it up with a 
bang — and Christabel went to sleep. 

By-and-by, some one else took up the book and began 
to read it. Then Christabel woke up and found herself at 
the beginning of the story. After so many adventures she 
was rather tired, and did not feel inclined to begin them all 
over again. But that was just what she had to do. Being 
captured by pirates is not nearly so exciting when you know 
you can only escape from them by a cold, wet shipwreck ; 
and when you are shipwrecked you are not very anxious to 

8i 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



scramble ashore when you know there are a large number of 
fierce savages waiting for you ! 

"This is rather tiresome," thought Christabel. 

She was very glad when the person who was reading the 
book shut it up again, and she was allowed to go quietly to 
sleep. 

But her sleep was not long. Every time any one began 
to read the book poor Christabel was obliged to wake up 
and go through all her troubles again. She soon became 
horribly tired of being shipwrecked. 

" Have I got to spend the rest of my life with pirates 
and savages .'' " she asked herself in despair. 

It was especially annoying that they were always the 
same pirates and savages, who said always exactly the same 
things. Christabel soon knew the whole book by heart. 
She wished sometimes she could be one of the pirates for a 
change, instead of being always a little girl. 

" I suppose I shall never even be grown up," she 
thought sadly. 

The most unpleasant thing of all was that she was never 
able to say what she wished to say : she was always obliged 
to say what was in the book. Sometimes she opened her 
mouth to say what was in her mind, and then found herself 
speaking words that had nothing to do with her thoughts. 

" It is simply hateful not to be able to say and do what 
one likes," she thought. 

She made up her mind to try and be drowned at the 
very next shipwreck. Of course it was useless for her to 
try, for the book said she was saved by a big wave which 
flung her up on a rock. It was uncomfortable for her to 

82 




THE OTHER PEOPLE IN THE BOOK LOOKED AT HER IN SURPRISE 



A LITTLE GIRL IN A BOOK 

be saved in this way, but she could not avoid it. The 
shipwreck happened in the usual way, in spite of her efforts 
to be drowned ; and then, as usual, she met the savages on 
the Island, and soon afterwards came the end of the 
book. 

Now, it happened this time that the person who was 
reading the book did not shut it up at all, but handed it 
at once to some one else who wished to read it. This was 
really too much for Christabel's temper. She had had no 
sleep, and she was determined not to begin all over again 
without a rest. It suddenly struck her that this was her 
only chance — now, before the beginning of the first 
chapter. 

She lost no time. She knew she ought to be standing 
up — the book said she was standing up. Finding to her 
great joy that she was able to move of her own accord, 
she calmly sat down and folded her arms. The other 
people in the book looked at her in surprise. 

" It's no use looking at me like that," she said ; " I'm 
tired of this. I'm not going on any more saying the same 
things over and over again. If there's any pirate who 
would like to change places with me I don't mind being 
a pirate for a bit. But I'm not going on being the little 
girl." 

Then there was indeed an outcry. All the people in 
the book began speaking at once. Just at that moment — 
before the beginning of the first chapter — they were all 
able to say what they chose. 

" Make her stand up ! " cried one. 

" I never heard such nonsense ! " said another. 

83 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



" Why can't she behave as we do ? " asked a third 
angrily, 

" The idea of wanting a change ! " 

" She'll have to behave like other people in the end." 

" So discontented ! " 

" So very odd ! " 

So they went on, while Christabel still sat calmly, with 
her arms crossed. 

" I'm not going to begin all over again," she repeated 
firmly. 

" But that poor boy is waiting to begin the book," said 
some one ; " and we can't go on while you are behaving in 
this silly way." 

" I can't help that," said Christabel ; ** I'm tired of 
saying things I don't a bit mean." 

Before she knew what was going to happen Christabel 
found herself in the middle of a terrible turmoil. All the 
people in the book seemed to be rushing at her. 

Far away she heard a voice saying — 

"There's something very queer about this book. It 
seems all in a muddle, somehow ! " 

Then there was silence, and Christabel realized that the 
people in the book had turned her out ! She was no 
longer a little girl in a book, but a little girl in real life. 
She looked round and saw her Big Sister, still writing. 

" I don't want to be in a book any more," said 
Christabel. " Real life is nicer. In real life one can 
at least say what one thinks one's self, instead of always 
saying what other people think." 

" Don't be too sure of that," said her Big Sister. 

84 



THE FAIRY JVHO WAS 
LOOKING FOR A HOME 



THE FAIRY WHO WAS 
LOOKING FOR A HOME 



LITTLE Fairy Flitterwing had no home. When- 
ever he settled down in a place something 
J happened to turn him out. If he found a 
comfortable rosebud some one would come 
and pick it, and then it died and he was homeless again. 
If he chose a pink-edged daisy to live in, the gardener 
would mow the lawn at once. He grew very tired of 
wandering about the garden, and he determined at last to 
go out into the world in search of a home. 

It was quite a small garden, in the middle of a town. 
Flitterwing felt rather afraid of venturing into the streets, 
because he knew there would not be many fairies there, and 
not many nice places for a fairy to live in. So he was a 
little sad and anxious as he flew over the high brick wall of 
the garden and looked about him. He found himself in a 
queer little yard, not nearly as nice as the garden, with a 
pavement of round stones and an ugly brick house at one 
end of it. There never was a more unlikely place for a 
fairy to find a comfortable home. Flitterwing was on the 
point of flying back again over the garden wall, when he 
caught sight of something green at the further end of the 
courtyard. Some grass had grown up among the stones. 

" The very place for me ! " said Flitterwing to himself. 
" No one is likely to disturb me here, and I can fly across 
to the garden whenever I feel lonely." 

So he found a cosy corner between two stones, where 

87 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



the grass was thick and soft, and there he made up his mind 
to stay. It was not, of course, the very best kind of place 
for a fairy, but, after all, it was quiet and near his friends, 
and he was terribly tired of moving about from rose to rose 
and from daisy to daisy. So he thought he would make 
the best of it. 

Very soon he felt quite at home in the grass-patch at 
the end of the yard. Every morning, of course, he had to 
attend to the grass and see that it was always fresh and 
green, for it is the business of every fairy to take care of 
the place he lives in. He does it instead of paying rent. 
Then, after polishing his wings nicely and making them 
shine like opals, he would fly across the brick wall and have 
a chat with the grass-fairies and flower-fairies in the garden. 

His life went on in this quiet and comfortable way for 
some time. 

But one morning poor Flitterwing received a great 
shock. He was very busy cleaning the grass with a 
dewdrop, and thinking how strong and tall the blades had 
grown since he first began to take care of them. They 
were a good deal taller than himself now, and he was not 
able to see over them. So, when he heard a heavy footstep 
clattering across the yard, he peered between the blades of 
grass to see who was coming. 

" Oh dear, oh dear," he cried, " here's that dreadful 
gardener ! I'm sure he's going to turn me out ! " 

He quickly dropped the crumpled cobweb soaked in 
dewdrop with which he was rubbing the green blades, and 
folding his wings closely round him he hid himself in the 
grass, and waited to see what was going to happen. 



THE FAIRY LOOKING FOR A HOME 

The gardener was carrying a basket in one hand, and 
in the other a tool with dreadful prongs. He was going 
to pull up the grass that had grown among the stones ! 
Poor Flitterwing's nice new home was going to be 
spoilt ! 

One by one the tufts were dragged up by the roots, 
while the sharp prongs clinked against the stones and the 
gardener's fingers crumpled up the blades of grass that had 
looked so green and fresh a few minutes before. Flitter- 
wing was terribly frightened. 

" The sooner I get out of this the better," he said to 
himself, skipping away from the gardener's big fingers. 
Then he spread his wings and flew up and away, over the 
wall and over the garden and on and on. He went on 
flying, flying, till all his friends were left far behind and he 
came to strange streets such as he had never seen before. 
Still he went on flying, flying. You see he was extremely 
anxious to be very far away from the gardener with the big 
fingers and the terrible, sharp prongs. 

At last he became dreadfully tired. It would be im- 
possible, he felt, to go on flying much longer, so he looked 
about him for shelter. He saw an open window, and 
beyond it a large cool room. Here was shelter at all 
events, so he flew straight in. There were a number of 
tables and chairs in the room, and at each table a man sat 
writing ; but Flitterwing was too much frightened to see 
anything. He only wanted to find a place where he could 
hide and rest. A large ink-pot stood on a table, and just 
inside the ink-pot was a little ledge where a fairy might rest 
comfortably. Flitterwing lost no time ; he darted into the 

89 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



ink-pot and sat down on the ledge. In a few moments he 
folded his tired wings about him and fell fast asleep. 

Now, the room into which Flitterwing had flown was a 
place where a great deal of business was done. Every day 
a number of men sat there adding up figures and writing 
letters about dull things that neither you nor I could 
understand. If you have done many sums, you will agree 
with me that no sensible man could really like spending all 
his time in adding up pounds, shillings, and pence. Very 
few of the men in this big room really liked it. Some of 
them wanted to be playing cricket or golf, some would 
rather have been reading books or listening to beautiful 
music ; and every one of them was longing to be in the 
country among the flowers and the fairies. And there was 
one among them — a little man with a pale face and a thin 
coat — who wished above all things to be making poetry. 
There were two good reasons against his doing this. In 
the first place, he was obliged to earn money, and this is 
more easily done by adding up figures than by making 
poetry ; and in the second place, he did not in the least 
know how poetry ought to be made. 

On the sunny morning when Flitterwing took refuge in 
the ink-pot the Man in the Thin Coat was very busy. There 
were rows and rows of figures waiting to be added up, so 
that there seemed to be no end to them. A large sheet of 
paper was before him on which he was doing these sums, 
and the figures were arranged in terribly long columns — 
and no doubt you know how unpleasant that is. Suddenly 
something glittered in the air for a moment and then 
disappeared. It was so bright that it caught his eye and 

90 



THE FAIRY LOOKING FOR A HOME 

made him lose his place. He thought it was some beautiful 
kind of insect with the sunshine caught in its wings. 

" It was like a messenger from, the summer ! " he said 
to himself. 

Then he dipped his pen in the ink-pot and went back 
to his sums. 

He had been working busily for some time when he 
noticed something very curious. His pen was not writing 
figures at all 1 He was thinking about figures, and he 
wished to put figures on the paper, so it was a very strange 
thing that his pen was writing words all the time. The 
words were arranged in short lines with a capital letter at 
the beginning of each line, 

"Dear me, how annoying!" he said to himself. "What 
can I have been thinking of .f" This will never do." 

So he took a fresh sheet and began again. 

He imagined that he was copying all the figures on to 
the clean sheet of paper, for that was what he intended to 
do. He wrote the figures very quickly, as he thought 
because he wanted to make up for lost time. Then he 
glanced at what he had written — and threw down his pen 
angrily. 

There were no figures at all on the paper ; nothing but 
line after line of words. He began to think he must have 
got a sunstroke. 

" This is really terrible ! " he muttered. " 1 must 
pay more attention to what I am doing." 

So he took another clean sheet of paper and began 
again. 

It was no use ; the pen refused to make a single figure. 

91 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



Then the Man in the Thin Coat was in despair. He 
pushed the paper away from him and threw himself back in 
his chair. 

" There is something very serious the matter with me,'* 
he said to himself. He did not notice that another man 
had come up to the table and was gathering together the 
sheets of paper that lay on it. This was the person who 
paid the Man in the Thin Coat for doing his sums for him. 
He had a round face and a big waistcoat. 

" Come, come ! what's this .? " he said, looking at the 
sheets of paper. " Poetry, I declare ! So you're a poet, 
are you } That's all very well, but I don't pay you to write 
poetry." 

The poor Man in the Thin Coat looked very much 
disturbed. When you come to think of it, it is a disturbing 
thing to find you are writing poetry when you imagine 
you are doing sums. 

" I couldn't help it," he said meekly. 

" Yes, yes, that's the excuse they all make," said the 
Man with the Big Waistcoat. Then he took up the 
papers and began to read. There was silence in the room 
while he was reading the poem that the Man in the Thin 
Coat had written by mistake ; every one left off working, 
and watched with great interest to see what would happen. 
The silence lasted for some time. 

" Dear me ! " said the Man with the Big Waistcoat at 
last. " This is a very beautiful poem 1 " 

Then he began to read aloud. 

The poem was about the summer ; about the sunshine 
and the blue sky and the singing larks that were far away 

92 



THE FAIRY LOOKING FOR A HOME 

from that ugly room. It seemed as though the far-ofF 
fields and the glory of the sun had been really brought 
there, to the tired men who sat listening. And to each 
man as he listened came a dream of the thing he loved best. 
To one man the room seemed to have turned into a garden ; 
the scent of a thousand roses was in the air, and the colours 
of a thousand flowers. Another man thought he was in a 
field, lying under a tree and looking at the pattern of the 
leaves against the sky. And another saw the sunshine 
sparkling on the dear sea, and the little ripples running 
races on the sand. But the Man in the Thin Coat saw 
more things than any of them. 

And while they were all listening to the beautiful poem 
about the summer, little Fairy Flitterwing slipped out of 
the ink-pot and flew off to play with a sunbeam on the 
window-sill. The sunbeam showed him a very comfortable 
scarlet geranium that was growing in a window not far off, 
so Flitterwing went to live in it, and found a safe home 
at last. 

And the Man in the Thin Coat went back to his sums. 
He was happier than he had ever been before, because he 
had written a beautiful poem. He was never able to write 
any more poetry, and he thought this was rather odd 
until, years afterwards, his little daughter guessed the truth. 
He had just finished reading to her his poem about the 
summer. 

" Why, Daddy," she said, " there must have been a fairy 
in your ink-pot when you wrote that ! " 



93 



rUE BOX OF DREAMS 



THE BOX OF DREAMS 



IONG ago there lived in a far country a little 
girl called Gretel, whose mother was dying. 
J Before she died she said to Gretel — 

" I am very poor, and I have no money 
to leave for you after I am gone. I have nothing to give 
you but this box. It was given to me when I was a child 
by some one who was wise and good. You must be very 
careful of it, for it is full of Dreams, and they are hard 
to keep safely. You must never open the box except 
when you are alone, or the Dreams will fly away. But 
keep them safely till your hair is grey, and something 
will happen to surprise you." 

Gretel took the box and hid it safely, and said nothing 
about it to any one. Her mother died a few days after- 
wards, and then Gretel was sent away to be a little servant, 
and to work very hard. She had to get up early, and 
light the fire, and feed the pigs, and she had to wash the 
dishes and scrub the floor, and do a great many other 
things, so that there was very little time for anything but 
work. All the time her box of Dreams was hidden away 
upstairs in her little trunk, underneath her Sunday frock. 
Often, when she was working in the kitchen, or in the 
farmyard among the hens, she was thinking of her box 
of Dreams ; and sometimes when she was quite alone she 
would open it and look inside. The first time she opened 
the box she felt a little bit frightened, for she had never 
seen any Dreams before, and she was not sure what they 

97 E 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



were like ; but when she saw them, soft and pink and 
downy, like lovely sleeping birds, she was not frightened 
any more. 

" Oh, but they are pretty things ! " she said to herself. 
" How I hope I shall be able to keep them safely till my 
hair is grey 1 They look as if a breath would blow them 
away, out of the window and over the hill ! " 

For a long time she was very careful not to let any 
one see her pretty rosy Dreams. Indeed, she never spoke 
of them ; and the old farmer's wife, whose servant she 
was, little guessed that anything so strange as a box of 
Dreams was hidden upstairs in the garret, underneath 
Gretel's Sunday frock. 

The farmer and his wife had a son about the same age 
as Gretel. His name was Eitel. He was a big, clumsy 
sort of boy, and not very clever ; but Gretel had very few 
friends, so when Eitel was kind to her and talked to her 
over the fire in the evenings she was very glad. Sometimes 
he carried the big bucket for her when she went out to feed 
the pigs, and sometimes in the summer they made hay 
together in the field on the hillside. In this way they 
became great friends. Gretel told Eitel everything that had 
happened to her since she was a little child ; and one day 
she told him about her box of Dreams. 

" Let me see them, Gretel dear," said Eitel. 

" Oh, but I mustn't ! " said Gretel. " No one must see 
them till my hair is grey. If any one sees them they will 
fly away, out of the window and over the hill." 

" What are they like } " asked Eitel. " And what are 
they for ? " 

98 



THE BOX OF DREAMS 



"They are lovely," said Gretel, "but I don't know yet 
what they are for." 

" Come, let me see them," said Eitel coaxingly. " I 
believe I see a grey hair on your head, Gretel." 

It was really a bit of white thread, but Gretel thought 
her hair must be growing grey, so she ran upstairs and 
fetched the box of Dreams down to the kitchen. She 
opened the box very carefully, and Eitel peeped in. 

Pouf! Pouf! Half-a-dozen soft rosy Dreams fluttered 
out from under the lid, and hovered in the air for a moment 
like wisps of pink mist. Gretel shut the box with a snap, 
and tried to catch the floating Dreams with her fingers. 
But it was too late. They floated higher and higher, farther 
and farther, out of the window and over the hill. 

" Oh, Eitel," cried Gretel, sobbing, " I have lost my 
Dreams — so many of them — so many of them ! " 

" Well," said Eitel, " I don't see that there's much to 
cry about. They were only pink fluff after all ! I wouldn't 
cry about pink fluff if I were you ! " 

So Eitel went out of the house whistling, and thinking 
that girls were sometimes very silly ; while Gretel carried 
her box upstairs, crying, and thinking that boys were often 
very unkind. As soon as she was in her room she opened 
her box again, and found to her great joy that it was still 
half full of beautiful Dreams. 

She soon made friends with Eitel again, but she never 
spoke to him any more about her box of Dreams. 

As the years went by Gretel became first a big girl and 
then a grown-up woman, and still she had to work for her 
living. She lived in a good many different places, sometimes 

99 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



with nice people and sometimes with people who were 
not kind to her ; but wherever she lived she had to scrub 
and sweep, and get up early and go to bed late. She still 
kept her box of Dreams safely in her little trunk, hidden 
under her Sunday frock. Since the time that she had lost 
so many of her Dreams she had never opened the box 
except when she was alone. She was afraid of losing some 
more ; and, besides, she did not like it when Eitel laughed 
at her and called her pretty Dreams " nothing but pink 
fluff." So she made up her mind to wait till her hair was 
really grey. 

It seemed to her sometimes that this would never 
happen 1 Her hair was browner than other people's, she 
thought, and was not going to turn grey at all. But 
though the time seemed so long to her, she was as a matter 
of fact still a young woman when she discovered that there 
were two grey hairs growing among the brown ones. She 
was combing her hair at the time, and the moment she saw 
the grey hairs she dropped the comb, and clapping her 
hands for joy ran quickly to get her box of Dreams out 
of her little trunk. She was so much excited that her 
trembling fingers could hardly undo the fastenings of 
the box. 

When the box was at last open she was still more 
excited. Her mother had promised that she should be 
surprised, but she had not expected such a strange and 
delightful and altogether wonderful surprise as this ! You 
could never guess what had happened ! Her pretty rosy 
Dreams had all turned into jewels more splendid than any 
you ever saw or heard about ! Every kind of precious 

lOO 



THE BOX OF DREAMS 



stone was there — emeralds and pearls and fiery opals, 
glowing rubies and sea-blue sapphires, besides a great many- 
strange stones whose names you have never heard. 

Gretel gasped. 

She sat on the floor beside the box, and stared and 
stared. She could hardly believe that the glittering things 
were real, and she could not believe at all that they 
belonged to her. At first she expected every minute that 
they would disappear, and she was afraid to touch them ; 
but presently she took courage and lifted them out of the 
box one by one. Then she took them to the light, and 
they looked still more beautiful than before. 

As Gretel sat on the floor near the window, with the 
many-coloured jewels glimmering and shimmering in her 
lap, she came gradually to understand that when her mother 
gave her the box of Dreams she gave her great riches. 

Gretel lived to be very old, but she never lost her 
jewels. She was able now to show them to all the world 
without any danger of their flying away, and as time went 
on the people flocked to see her and her jewels. Eitel 
admired them as much as any one, but he could never be 
persuaded that the fluffy pink things he had once seen had 
really turned into these shining and wonderful stones. 



lOI 



THE FAIRY WHO HAD 
ONLY ONE JFING 



rUE FAIRY WHO HAD 
ONLY ONE WING 



I AM going to tell you now about a fairy who lost 
one of his wings. His home was in a white 
rosebud, which one would imagine to be a nice, 
safe, comfortable home for a fairy to have. And 
yet it was while he was in the white rosebud that the 
terrible accident happened which left him with only one 
wing. 

All would have been well if he had stayed in the 
country. But one day a man came with scissors and 
snipped the white rosebud off the tree, and packed it in 
cotton-wool, and sent it off to London. Of course the 
fairy had to go too, and a very uncomfortable journey he 
had. There were a number of other flowers packed in the 
same box, and in each flower there was a fairy ; so they 
were all able to grumble together. But you can't grumble 
with any real comfort when you are packed very tightly, 
and have to talk through a good deal of cotton- wool. 

At last the journey was over, and the rosebud was 
taken out of the cotton-wool and put in water. Then the 
fairy crept up from the heart of the rosebud, and put his 
head over the edge of the petals and looked about him. 

There were flowers all round him : flowers in pots, 
flowers in glasses, flowers lying on the table, flowers in 
baskets, and great bunches of flowers in the big window. 
The truth was that the rosebud was in a flower-shop, but 
he did not know this. He only knew that it was very 

105 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



pleasant to be again in a place that was full of flowers and 
fairies. 

He thought he was going to enjoy himself; but that 
was because he did not know how cruelly fairies are some- 
times treated in flower-shops. The people who arrange 
the flowers have a horrible way of trying to kill the fairies ; 
and this is what they do. They take a dreadful, sharp 
piece of wire and poke It through the very heart of the 
flower, and then fasten it tightly round the stem ! You 
will see at once that nothing is more likely to hurt a fairy 
than this. Indeed, he would certainly be killed, if it were 
not almost impossible to kill a fairy. 

The little rosebud-fairy was lying comfortably curled 
up, deep down among the white petals of the rose, when 
suddenly he saw coming through the walls of his home a 
sharp glittering point ! 

" Oh dear ! " he cried, trying to scramble out of the 
way. 

But that was no use, the glittering point came nearer 
and nearer. 

" Oh dear — oh dear ! " he cried again. " Where is it 
coming to } Oh — it's coming this way — the horrible thing. 
Oh— oh— oh ! " 

It was no wonder that he cried out. The dreadful 
wire had caught one of his beautiful gossamer wings, and 
dragged it, and torn it, till there was nothing left of it but 
some little shreds of fluttering gauze. 

" What shall I do .? " he wailed. " How can I fly with 
only one wing, and what is the use of a fairy that can't fly ? 
What shall I do ? " 

io6 



THE FAIRY WHO HAD ONLY ONE WING 

He picked up the torn pieces of his wing and wondered 
if he could mend them. But he soon saw that it was 
impossible, so he folded them up carefully and laid them 
inside the rose-petals ; and ever afterwards there was a faint 
tinge of pink deep down in the heart of the rosebud. 

For a long time, long after the rosebud had been tied 
up with a sprig of fern and put in the window, the poor 
little fairy went on moaning and sighing over the loss of 
his wing. He was still sighing when a little girl came into 
the shop. If the fairy had not been hiding among the 
petals of his rosebud he would have seen at once that she 
was the kind of little girl that the fairies always love ; a 
little girl with bright eyes and a laughing face — altogether 
a very nice little girl. She pointed to the white rosebud 
and said — 

" I want to buy that rosebud, please, for Granny's 
birthday." 

In another minute she was walking along the street 
with the rosebud in her fat hand. 

Then the fairy crept up from the heart of the rose and 
looked over the edge of the petals. The little girl saw 
him at once and was not at all surprised. 

*' There you are ! " she said. " I wondered when you 
would look out. Of course I knew there was a fairy in the 
rosebud, or I wouldn't have bought it. It would have 
been no use, you see." 

"What a very nice little girl!" thought the fairy. 
" She seems to have a great deal of sense." 

The little girl went on : " Poor thing, I see your wing 
has been torn off. That nearly always happens to the 

107 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



fairies that come from flower-shops. But I dare say Granny 
won't mind. She sees very few fairies. I am going to 
leave you at Granny's house because it is her birthday. 
Now remember, you're to be very nice to Granny, because 
she sees so few fairies." 

By this time they had reached Granny's house. Granny 
lived all alone in a very splendid house in a great square. 
The house had a great many fine things in it : handsome 
furniture and valuable china and grand silks and brocades. 
But there was not a single, fairy in it, and a house that has 
no fairies in it is a very dull place. 

Granny was sitting alone on her birthday. She looked 
round the great drawing-room and thought there were 
a number of empty chairs and sofas in it. That made her 
feel very lonely. No one had been to see her on her 
birthday ; she had had no presents or letters ; no one had 
noticed her birthday at all. If there had been any fairies 
in the house Granny would not have felt so lonely, because 
the fairies are always good company. But poor Granny 
had quite forgotten all about the fairies ; it was so long 
since she had seen any. 

Then a footman brought the white rosebud into the 
room, with a message from the little girl with the bright 
eyes and the nice laughing face. 

Granny sat for a long time with the white rosebud on 
her knee. She felt happier than she had been all day. 
She sat so still that the fairy thought he might safely peep 
out and see what was going on. To his great surprise 
Granny noticed him at once ; he had not thought it at all 
likely that she would .see him, for she was not the kind of 

1 08 



THE FAIRY WHO HAD ONLY ONE WING 

person who often sees fairies. Probably she would not 
have seen him if she had not been so sad and lonely. 

" Why," she said, "it's a fairy ! It is years since I saw 
a fairy. I thought I should never see one again." 

When the fairy saw that Granny was glad to see him, he 
crept out of the rosebud and sat on her wrinkled hand, and 
talked to her. 

" Poor little thing," said Granny, " you have lost one of 
your wings. Well, it was not likely that any but a one- 
winged fairy would find his way in here." 

Then she sighed. So the fairy, to cheer her up, told 
her all about the lovely garden he had left behind him in 
the country — the garden where he had lived before the man 
with the scissors came to cut the rosebud. He told her 
about the other roses and the fairies that lived in them, 
and the tall hollyhocks whose fairies were so prim and old- 
fashioned, and the sweet, shy love-in-a-mist whose fairies 
always wore veils when they went out, and the sunflower- 
fairies who had never been taught that it was rude to stare, 
and the dear unselfish verbena fairies who made the world 
so sweet for other people and never thought of themselves. 
Then Granny remembered all sorts of things that she had 
forgotten for years — fairies she used to know when she was 
a little girl, and the stories they used to tell her. She told 
some of the stories to the rosebud fairy, and they talked 
together for a long time. Granny was happier that evening 
than she had been for a great many evenings. She said 
to herself that her birthday had been a very nice one 
after all. 

" Won't you come and live with me ? " she said. 

109 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



The fairy looked round the room, 

'* Well," he said, " I should like to stay very much, but 
I really don't see any place here for me to live. My rosebud 
will soon die and be thrown away." 

" But if I were to keep the rosebud always, even when 
it was dead } Would you stay then ? " 

The fairy thought for a moment. 

" I tell you plainly," he said, " that I don't like the idea 
of living in a dead rosebud. But I know it's done some- 
times, and one mustn't be too particular when one has only 
one wing." 

" I'll ask the little girl who brought you here to come 
and see you often," said Granny, " and you and I will go 
out to-morrow and buy some picture-books for her, and 
some chocolates, and then we shall all three enjoy ourselves 
together." 

The fairy nodded happily. 

" That settles it," he said. '' I'll stay." 



no 



THE LITTLE EOT FROM TOIFN 



THE LITTLE EOT FROM TOWN 



IF you spend all the year in a big town it is a fine 
thing to have a summer holiday near the sea. 
Otherwise you never have a chance of making 
friends with the sea-fairies or the mermaids, who 
are the most delightful playmates in the world. You may 
know all kinds of other fairies, and be quite intimate with 
them, but as long as you live nothing can ever make up to 
you for not knowing the sea-fairies. 

Little Michael was eight years old, and he had never 
met a sea-fairy, for he lived in a great town. Then at last 
his father and mother and he went off for a whole month to 
the seaside. There were sands there, very hard and yellow 
and good to make castles with ; and there were lonely caves 
with dripping walls ; and there were heaps of slimy, green 
seaweed, and shells, and rocks for climbing on. Best of 
all, there were plenty of fairies. Michael made friends with 
all the fairies of the sea and shore ; but his greatest and 
best friend was a Mermaid who lived in a cave. 

The roof of the cave was wet and green, and its floor 
was pebbly, with here and there a rock. Every day Michael 
came and sat on one of the rocks and listened to the Mer- 
maid's stories, and to the soft, lapping sound of the little 
waves. The Mermaid told him such stories as he had 
never heard before, for she had not always been in that 
cave, but had swum in deep seas and lived on many shores. 
She told Michael of places where the sea was warm and 
green, and the rocks were made of coral, and palm-trees 

113 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



shaded the mermaids when they played upon the sands. 
She told him too of bitter seas that were made of ice, so 
that no mermaid could swim in them ; and of towering 
icebergs shining in the sun ; and of white mist-fairies, who 
turned the hair of mermaids into a shower of icicles. Then 
she told him of sailors who had been her friends, and how 
some of them were sailing far away, and some of them were 
drowned, and how all of them were good playmates. 

While Michael listened to these stories his eyes were 
very round and wide open, and often his mouth was open 
too. He had never enjoyed anything so much before, and 
he thought it would be dreadful when the day came for him 
to leave the dancing sea-fairies and the Mermaid's cave, and 
go back to the big town where he hardly ever saw any 
fairies at all. One day he said — 

" Mermaid dear, I want something to take back to 
town with me ; something to make me remember the sea- 
fairies and you, and to make me think of the sea for ever 
and ever." 

" Tell me what you want," said the Mermaid, smiling ; 
" and if I can get it for you, I will." 

" Well," said Michael, " it's rather a big thing I was 
thinking of. Perhaps it's too big to ask for. But you see 
the Bay is full of white-horses to-day. Do you think you 
could possibly catch one for me ? I think if I could take 
home a white-horse from the Bay, I should remember the 
sea for ever and ever." 

The Mermaid slipped off her rock and dived into the 
deep water. A few moments afterwards Michael saw her 
far out in the Bay, with her hair floating in the wind, and 

114 



THE LITTLE BOY FROM TOWN 

her tail glittering under the waves. There were a great 
many wind-fairies playing about that morning, and that was 
the reason that the Bay was full of white-horses, for when 
the wind-fairies are playing on the sea they always ride 
white-horses. 

Michael climbed a high rock and stood on the very top 
of it, and watched the Mermaid. It was grand to see her 
gliding through the water, chasing first one white-horse and 
then another, diving and darting and dodging, and enjoying 
herself all the time. 

" Quick, quick ! " cried Michael. " You nearly had 
him that time ! " 

But she was not quick enough, for the white-horse was 
far out of reach even as she threw out her white arms to 
catch his mane. 

The chase lasted a long time, for though mermaids can 
swim better than most people, a white-horse on the sea 
is one of the hardest things to catch. At last, however, 
Michael clapped his hands and shouted — 

" She's got him, she's got him ! Hurrah — now I shall 
have a white-horse to take home with me, and to make me 
think of the sea for ever and ever ! " 

If it had been a fine sight to see the Mermaid chasing 
the white-horse across the Bay, it was far finer to see them 
come prancing back again. The Mermaid was not swim- 
ming this time, but riding on the back of the angry white- 
horse, who plunged and galloped across the Bay, tossing his 
long mane. And the Mermaid tossed her golden hair and 
laughed, because she was enjoying her ride. Michael 
laughed aloud too, because when the white mane and the 

115 



FAIRIES I HAVE MET 



golden hair streamed, up together upon the wind they were 
very beautiful to see. 

And now a very curious and unfortunate thing happened. 
The wind-fairies suddenly grew tired and went to sleep, 
every one of them. Now when the wind-fairies go to sleep, 
the white-horses always dive down below the sea and go to 
sleep too. Before the Mermaid had reached the shore she 
was swirmning again, for her white-horse had suddenly 
disappeared and left her with nothing to ride. He had 
gone to sleep below the sea until the next time the wind- 
fairies wanted to play. 

" Oh, Mermaid dear," cried Michael, " what have you 
done with my nice new horse } " 

" I am very sorry to tell you," said the Mermaid, lying 
down on the sand to rest herself, " that he has gone below 
the sea to sleep. It is really most unfortunate, but when a 
white-horse wants to sleep you can't stop him." 

" Oh dear, oh dear," said Michael piteously, for it was 
a great disappointment. " I did so much want to have a 
white-horse to make me think of the sea for ever and ever." 

" Wouldn't anything else do instead } " asked the 
Mermaid, who was Ytry kind. 

Then Michael noticed that every time a litde wave 
reached the shore it broke on the rocks in a shower of 
coloured jewels. He pointed to them. 

"Bring me some of those, please, Mermaid dear," he 
said. 

So the Mermaid took a large shell, shaped like a saucer, 
and waited on a rock till a little wave came in and sprinkled 
the rock with jewels. She held out her shell to catch the 

ii6 



THE LITTLE BOY FROM TOWN 

jewels, but as soon as they touched the shell they changed 
into water. 

"Look," she said to Michael, " the jewels have melted." 

"Oh dear," said Michael, "what am I to do? I am 
going back to town to-morrow, and I have nothing to 
remind me of the sea ! " 

" Do you really and truly wish to think of the sea for 
ever and ever ? " asked the Mermaid. 

"Of course I do," said Michael. 

"Then I will sing you the Sea Song," said the Mer- 
maid, " and after that there will be nothing that can make 
you forget the sea." 

So while Michael sat on the rock and looked at the sea, 
the Mermaid sang him the Sea Song, which mermaids have 
sung to sailors ever since the first ship was built. It is a 
song that no one ever torgets. It is like the voice oi the 
sea calling, calling ; and there are many people who hear it 
always, even in their dreams. If they are people who have 
to live in towns, or in country places far from the sea, they 
are not very happy. 

When the Mermaid had finished singing, she said — 

" Now I have given you something that will make you 
think of the sea for ever and ever." 

The next day Michael went back to town. He took 
with him the sound of the Sea Song ; and for ever after- 
wards he heard the voice of the sea calling, calling, even in 
his dreams. 

That was why he became a sailor when he was old 
enough. 



117 



Ube ©reebam fress, 

UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, 
WOKING AND LONDON, 



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