Scope for Imagination

Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?

-Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Flower Fable Part II

Here's the second half of Transcendentalist Louisa May Alcott's Flower Fairy story. The first half is below, on a post from July 9th. The goal was to trim the story into something Jill could read to her Big Room kids. We wonder whether kids of this time (mid 1800s) would have been able to understand such long, flowery sentences, or if adults just didn't talk to kids in a kid-friendly manner. This story is such delight!

Part II
“Now I will go to the hills,” said Annie. “Maybe I will find my little fairy there.” Up and down the hills she went, but she did not find the fairy. She asked the dragonflies and lilies whether they had seen the fairy, but none of them replied. Then she wandered into the forest, and as she passed along the dim paths, squirrels pepped up at the sight of her and doves cooed softly. But none could answer her. Tired of her long search, she sat amid the ferns and feasted on the strawberries that grew beside her, watching the clouds glow around the evening sun.

The night wind rocked the flowers to sleep; the birds sang their evening hymns and all grew calm and still. As the light grew paler, Annie’s head began to fall. Soon she was asleep on the soft moss in the silver moonlight.
Just then, the fairy who Annie had sought all night sent a dream to the sleeping child by elfin spell. Little Annie dreamed that she sat in her garden, like often, with angry feelings in her heart. She ignored the magic flower’s ring and held tightly to her troubled thoughts. Then came a little voice to her, “Annie, let me show you what you are creating with your thoughts and feelings that are now in your heart. You will see how great their power becomes unless you get rid of them.”

Then Annie saw her own angry words change into dark, unlovely forms that were easy to identify from which passion or fault they came. The spirits of anger had red eyes and glaring faces. The spirits of selfishness with gloomy, anxious looks tried to gather all that was in sight, but the more they grabbed, the less they had. Spirits of pride turned away from the rest with crossed arms, noses in the air. These and many more spirits came from her heart before her eyes.

They gathered in strength, each gaining a strange power over her. She could not take her eyes away from them as they dimmed the sunshine so that everything looked like a shadow. All the flowers faded away and in their place rose a dark wall that separated her from all of her favorite things. Then the spirits got closer to her, begging her to obey, because she had welcomed them into her heart and now she was their slave. She sunk down to the withered flowers and wept for her lost freedom and joy. Then she noticed her fairy flower gleaming on her chest. A soft, glowing light shone from her flower like a flashlight. The radiant light became clearer and brighter until the evil spirits turned away and left the child alone. The light and perfume of the flower brought Annie new strength, and she bent to kiss the blossom, “Dear flower, help and guide me now, and I will listen to you always and obey my faithful fairy bell.”

Still in her dream, she realized the the flower saved her from the troubling spirits. Then a low voice spoke in Annie’s sleeping ear, saying, “The dark passions in your heart can shut out love and happiness forever. Remember well the lesson of the dream, dear child, and let only loving thoughts live in your heart.”

Hearing this voice, little Annie awoke to find it was all a dream. She sat alone in the morning light and watched the forest wake up as she thought of the strange forms she had seen. She decided to strive to be a patient and gentle child and to bring back light and beauty to the flower’s faded leaves. Even after this one nice thought, the flower perked its head and breathed its fragrant breath to reassure Annie.

The forest welcomed the morning with whistles, sunbeams and kind greetings. The world looked more beautiful than ever. Throughout the long cold winter, the bell seldom rang and seldom did the fragrance cease. Often she was tempted, but she only had to remember where those thoughts would lead her and she would turn around her ugly thought, welcome spirits of gentleness and love, and all was bright again. Annie grew happier until spring came like a bucket of color over the earth and woke the flowers, set free the streams and welcomed back the birds. She couldn’t wait for her fairy friend to return so she could thank her again for the lovely gift. Then one day her friend appeared!

“Wait no longer; I am back! You have learned to love my gift and its has helped you so much,” the fairy looked tenderly into Annie’s face. “And I have another gift for you from Fairyland.” She touched the child with her wand and told Annie to look and listen closely.

Suddenly the world changed for Annie. The air filled with sweet sounds and all around her were lovely little creatures. Elves sat in every flower singing and rocking amid the leaves. Bright, airy spirits drifted by within each breeze. In the fountain danced sparkly spirits who played in the water. Even the trees sang a low, dreamy song and the grass was filled with sweet voices she had not heard before. Butterflies whispered lovely tales in her ears. Birds sang cheery songs. The world was full of beauty and music that she had never dreamed of until now.
“Dear fairy, is this another, lovelier dream, or is this real?” she cried.

“This is all true,” replied the fairy. “Few humans receive this lovely gift. Most don’t know the language of butterfly or bird or flower and cannot see all that I have given you the power to see. These lovely creatures are now your friends and your playmates, and they will teach you many pleasant things and will be with you always. Your own happiness brightens this place and your flower will never fade. I must go again dear Annie, but I will be back every springtime with the earliest flowers to visit you. Be well, my friend!”

The fairy floated up to the soft white clouds, smiling down on Annie. She stood in her enchanted garden, where all was bright and fragrant and cheery.

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