|Little Ida's Flowers by Arthur Szyk|
|Little Ada's Flowers illustrated by Arthur Rackham|
|Little Ida's Flowers by Arthur Szyk|
But the flowers did not come, and the music continued to play
beautifully; then she could not bear it any longer, for it was too pretty;
she crept out of her little bed, and went quietly to the door,
and looked into the room. Oh, how splendid it was, what she saw!
There was no nightlamp burning, but still it was quite light;
the moon shone through the window into the middle of the floor;
it was almost like day. All the hyacinths and tulips stood in two long
rows on the floor; there were none at all left at the window.
There stood the empty flowerpots. On the floor all the flowers were
dancing very gracefully round each other, making a perfect chain,
and holding each other by the long green leaves as they swung round.
But at the piano sat a great yellow lily, which little Ida had certainly
seen in summer, for she remembered how the student had said,
'How like that one is to Miss Lina.'
Then he had been laughed at by all; but now it seemed really
to little Ida as if the long yellow flower looked like the young lady;
and it had just her manners in playing—sometimes bending its long,
yellow face to one side, sometimes to the other, and nodding in tune
to the charming music!
No one noticed little Ida. Then she saw a great blue crocus hop
into the middle of the table, where the toys stood, and go to the doll's
bed and pull the curtains aside; there lay the sick flowers,
but they got up directly, and nodded to the others, to say that they
wanted to dance too. The old chimney sweep doll, whose under lip
was broken off, stood up and bowed to the pretty flowers: these did
not look at all ill now; they jumped down among the others,
and were very merry.
Then it seemed as if something fell down from the table.
Ida looked that way. It was the Shrovetide birch rod which was
jumping down! it seemed almost as if it belonged to the flowers.
At any rate it was very neat; and a little wax doll, with just such a
broad hat on its head as the councillor wore, sat upon it.
The birch rod hopped about among the flowers on its three red legs,
and stamped quite loud, for it was dancing the mazurka; and the
other flowers could not manage that dance, because they were
too light, and unable to stamp like that.
The wax doll on the birch rod all at once became quite great
and long, turned itself over the paper flowers, and said,
'How can one put such things in a child's head?
Those are stupid fancies!' and then the wax doll was exactly like
the councillor with the broad hat, and looked just as yellow
and cross as he. But the paper flowers hit him on his thin legs,
and then he shrank up again, and became quite a little wax doll.
That was very amusing to see; and little Ida could not
restrain her laughter. The birch rod went on dancing, and the councillor
was obliged to dance too; it was no use whether he might make
himself great and long, or remained the little yellow wax doll with the
big black hat. Then the other flowers put in a good word for him,
especially those who had lain in the doll's bed, and then the birch rod
gave over. At the same moment there was a loud knocking at the
drawer, inside where Ida's doll, Sophy, lay with many other toys.
The chimney sweep ran to the edge of the table, lay flat down
on his stomach, and began to pull the drawer out a little.
Then Sophy raised herself, and looked round quite astonished.
'There must be a ball here,' said she; 'why did nobody tell me?'
'Will you dance with me?' asked the chimney sweep.
'You are a nice sort of fellow to dance!' she replied,
and turned her back upon him.
Then she seated herself upon the drawer, and thought that one
of the flowers would come and ask her; but not one of them came.
Then she coughed, 'Hem! hem! hem!' but for all that not one came.
The chimney sweep now danced all alone, and that
was not at all so bad.
As none of the flowers seemed to notice Sophy, she let herself fall
down from the drawer straight upon the floor,
so that there was a great noise. The flowers now all came running up,
to ask if she had not hurt herself; and they were all very polite to her,
especially the flowers that had lain in her bed. But she had not hurt
herself at all; and Ida's flowers all thanked her for the nice bed,
and were kind to her, took her into the middle of the floor,
where the moon shone in, and danced with her; and all the other
flowers formed a circle round her. Now Sophy was glad, and said
they might keep her bed; she did not at all mind lying in the drawer.
But the flowers said, 'We thank you heartily, but we cannot live so
long. Tomorrow we shall be quite dead. But tell little Ida she is
to bury us out in the garden, where the canary lies; then we shall
wake up again in summer, and be far more beautiful.'
'No, you must not die,' said Sophy; and she kissed the flowers.
At that moment the door opened, and a great number of splendid
flowers came dancing in. Ida could not imagine whence they
had come; these must certainly all be flowers from the king's
castle yonder. First of all came two glorious roses, and they had
little gold crowns on; they were a king and a queen. Then came
the prettiest stocks and carnations; and they bowed in all directions.
They had music with them. Great poppies and peonies blew upon
peapods till they were quite red in the face. The blue hyacinths
and the little white snowdrops rang just as if they had bells on them.
That was wonderful music! Then came many other flowers,
and danced all together; the blue violets and the pink primroses,
daisies and the lilies of the valley. And all the flowers kissed
one another. It was beautiful to look at!
At last the flowers wished one another good night; then little Ida,
too, crept to bed, where she dreamed of all she had seen.
When she rose next morning, she went quickly to the little table,
to see if the flowers were still there. She drew aside the curtains
of the little bed; there were they all, but they were quite faded,
far more than yesterday. Sophy was lying in the drawer where Ida
had laid her; she looked very sleepy.
"Do you remember what you were to say to me!" asked little Ida.
But Sophy looked quite stupid, and did not say a single word.
"You are not good at all!" said Ida. "And yet they all danced with you."
Then she took a little paper box, on which were painted
beautiful birds, and opened it, and laid the dead flowers in it.
"That shall be your pretty coffin," said she, "and when my
Norwegian cousins come to visit me by and by, they shall help me
to bury you outside in the garden, so that you may grow again
in summer, and become more beautiful than ever."
The Norwegian cousins were two smart boys. Their names were
Jonas and Adolphe; their father had given them two new crossbows,
and they had brought these with them to show to Ida. She told them
about the poor flowers which had died, and then they got leave
to bury them. The two boys went first, with their crossbows on their
shoulders, and little Ida followed with the dead flowers in the pretty box.
Out in the garden a little grave was dug. Ida first kissed the flowers,
and then laid them in the earth in the box, and Adolphe and Jonas
shot with their crossbows over the grave, for they had neither guns