Aquarian Age Stories for Children
The Fairy Bouquet
Rowena Greenwood Noyes
Once upon a time, when countries were ruled
by kings, there lived in an old, but neat little hut in a deeply wooded forest,
a poor wood cutter and his little daughter Alice.
Every day this good man went out with his axe just as tile first
rays of the sun fell through the tall trees to wrest from the woods a living for
himself and child. Alice, too, did her part, for, while her father was away
working, she stayed at home and tended the house and cared for the flowers in
their tiny garden. She was never lonely, for she was fond of the flowers and
often spoke to them in loving terms. It seemed to her, that as the breezes
played about them, they nodded their heads in reply.
Many times while working in the house, she would run to the
little window through which she could look up to a magnificent palace that stood
imposing and majestic on the crest of a high hill a few miles away. Often she
dreamed of being in it, but more often she wished she could see a real little
"How happy I would be if only I could see a baby
princess," she was wont to cry.
At the very thought of seeing one, she would smile then sigh,
for she knew her dreams were idle. No little princess lived in the palace.
One day, however, as evening was coming on and he had been too
busy to spend time at the window, she chanced to cast a hurried glance toward
the palace. A strange sight met her gaze. Flying from every turret and window
was a gorgeous silk flag.
"It must be something very wonderful. The palace is in
holiday attire," exclaimed Alice excitedly. "Oh, what can it mean? I
must find out."
She glanced at the sun. From where it shone in the heavens, she
knew she would have time to run to the little village that lay between her home
and the palace ere it was time to get dinner for her father.
Quickly, her eager feet ran over the woodland path, and, in a
short time, along the main highway to the very gate of the village. As she
joined the throng of people in the busy streets, more wonderful sights greeted
her. From every housetop floated a flag. The sweet, melodious twang of stringed
instruments in joyous song floated on the gentle breeze from many gardens, while
children in the streets laughed as they played. The cobbled streets were crowded
with gaily dressed people going in the direction of the palace. In their arms
were mysterious packages and their little pack animals were laden with chests
and jewel boxes that Alice knew must surely contain gold, jewels, rich perfumes,
and silks from faraway lands, while the jingle of the bells around their necks
blended musically with the laughter of their masters.
Gently tugging at the sleeve of one of the travelers, she shyly
"Pray, kind friend, tell me what all this means?"
"Means?" asked the astonished man in reply. Then,
softly he questioned, "Child, know you not that a little princess was born
to the king and queen in yon palace?"
Seeing no gift, he added, "You must bring her a gift. See
that it is the most precious one you can find." So saying, he moved on.
For a moment, Alice stood as in a daze.
"A little princess! A little princess!" she cried out
in joy. "So there really is a little princess!"
Her heart swelled with happiness, but instantly sank within her
for she remembered that she had no rich gift like other people to give to her
princess, nor had she any money to buy one. Sadly, with her head bent low, she
turned and walked slowly homeward. Her heavy heart ached in startling contrast
to the gay ones she had just left.
The road seemed long and lonely. She grew very tired before
reaching her own little garden. As she stepped through the gate, she lifted her
eyes toward the palace where the last bright rays of the setting sun set aglow
its many colored windows with their gay flags.
She pictured in her mind the wee baby princess nestled snugly
beneath her silken coverlets and from her royal cradle gazing out upon her loyal
subjects who knelt before her and laid their precious gifts at her feet. A sob
choked her. Wearily she sank onto a low wooden bench and laid her head down
close to where the branches of the jasmine swept the back of the bench until its
sweet perfume soothed her troubled senses.
She had not lain there very long before the red rose across the
garden, near a tiny pool, nodded and unfolded its petals. Or did it?
She wasn't quite sure for it might have been only the breeze
moving the leaves. But there, it did it again. This time Alice was not mistaken.
She looked about her. To her surprise, a change had come over the garden. Night
had fallen and through the tall trees a silvery moon cast a faint shimmering
radiance about. There were the heliotrope, roses, marigolds, and all the flowers
she knew so well, but oh, how different they looked! The heliotrope fluffed its
green leaves and disclosed myriads of tiny amethysts. And from their bed the
snow-white daisies lifted their dainty petals, a shower of miniature diamonds.
Close to the purple-rayed violet, the yellow hyacinth cast a golden light on the
pearly gown of the lily-of-the-valley, while the rich red glow that filled the
heart of the red rose grew and grew until each petal reflected the fiery glow of
a ruby. The grass beneath it radiated with strange green lights, each emerald
shaft gently swaying as if to music.
Suddenly, as if she had come unnoticed while the flowers were
turning into jewels, there appeared the most charming flower-like creature, a
little fairy queen. She was seated on the daintiest of fairy thrones. Her long
golden tresses blending with her delicate gown was a sight so beautiful that
Alice was sure she would never forget it. On her radiant head was a wreath of
flowers that glowed with the fires of opals. In her hand a silvery wand caught
and reflected the moonbeams.
With the coming of their Queen, the flowers bowed their heads
and filled the night with their perfume. At the same time, from every blossom
stepped a tiny creature with gossamer wings and golden hair. Their gowns, as
they danced around, glistened with precious gems while the music of their voices
was as the tinkle of silver bells. Round and round they danced in a magic circle
until the Queen raised her wand and all bowed in silent obeisance.
"Come, my children," she spoke, her musical voice
clear and sweet. "Come to me that I may inform you of your beautiful
The hyacinth fairy stepped forth. The Queen touched her gently
on the head and said:
"Oh, child of sweetness and charm, I charge thee always to
guard thy spirit of sweet loveliness."
Next, a pansy fairy in soft sapphire and topaz shades bowed her
gentle head before the queen.
"Remember, dear child, thoughtfulness is a sacred virtue.
The Queen thus smilingly spoke to her.
Then the tiny spring daisy raised its trusting eyes.
"Babe of the flowers," softly crooned the Queen,
"always retain thy innocence."
Following, the damask rose, in splendor, lowered its glorious
"Lovely flower," praised she then, "keep thy
petals ever new in beauty."
Shyly the violet peeped from under her emerald green cloak and
slowly lowered her head.
Gravely the fairy administered this charge:
"Modesty is thy charm. Guard it well, for once lost it is
After the violet, the smilax and passion flower, hand in hand,
knelt before their queen.
"Ah," breathed she, "constancy and faith, two
cherished gifts are entrusted into thy keeping."
Next, the snow white water lily bowed in simplicity and grace
and the deep red rose blushed by its side. The Queen kissed them gently as she
rose and said:
"Purity of thought is the gift of God and love is its
perfect attribute. May you, chaste lily, keep your soul so pure, and you, lovely
rose, keep thy flaming heart aglow, that the world may see that purity and love
over all else are supreme."
So exquisite were they as they bowed their heads, that the child
on the bench rose to touch them. Instantly they vanished, the jewel flowers, the
Queen and her court, and Alice stood alone in the fading light. She rubbed her
eyes, but gone was the magic spell. There were the flowers, just as before, when
she had lain down on the bench, their colors merging into the dusk of the
For a moment she watched them swaying in the breeze, then,
clapping her hands in joy, gaily cried, "I know what I shall do. I have
found my gift for the princess." So saying, she went from flower to flower
and thought, "Which one shall it be?"
Smelling a hyacinth, she murmured, "Loveliness
sublime." The pansy thoughtfully returned her gaze. The innocent daisy and
modest violet nodded in a manner shy. A treat of rare beauty awaited her as the
damask rose unfolded her lovely pink petals and gracefully swayed in the breeze.
The passion flower and the smilax entwined their long strands and seeing them
thus, she said, "I remember--`Constancy and faith, two cherished
Passing on, she came to the miniature pond and there in snowy
whiteness, the untainted lily lay.
Bending over it from the water's edge, the blushing rose nodded
Clasping her hands in awed reverence, she softly breathed:
"`Purity and love.' In all the world, I know of no better gift. I shall
She stooped to pick them. As she did so, the fragrance of all
the other flowers seemed to come to her as if the blossoms were calling her. It
was then that she knew that all the flowers were necessary to make a perfect
gift. Carefully, she went from flower to flower taking from each one its most
The following morning, in the joyous mass that crowded the
palace halls, none bore a happier heart nor a humbler one than the child from
the forest hut. Kneeling before the wee, royal maid's cradle she shyly offered
A ripple of laughter ran through the richly garbed crowd, but
the wise and good king silenced them.
Taking the varied bouquet, he gazed on it long and thoughtfully.
There were the pansies, hyacinths, daisies, and all their lovely sisters, but
crowning them all, in the very heart, were the symbols of love and purity. Not a
single blossom with its treasured meaning had been overlooked by him. Smiling
gravely, he looked down at Alice.
"Dear little maid," he said, "you, above all
others, have given your princess the most precious gift, for all the gold in my
kingdom could not buy it. It is a fairy bouquet. And, as the happiest of kings,
I kiss the hand that brought it."
So saying, he bent his royal head and lifting her hand to his
lips, kissed it. That was not all, for to the astonishment of his subjects, he
lifted Her Royal Highness, the baby princess, and carefully placed her in
Alice's arms. Alice, her dream at last fulfilled, gazed happily upon a real
little princess, while the flowers on the silken coverlet nodded their heads and
filled the room with their fragrance.