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THERE IS A DIFFERENCE

 

IT was in the month of MayThe wind still blew cold but bushes and trees field and meadow all alike said the spring had come There was store of flowers even in the wild hedgesand there spring carried on his affairsand preached from a little apple tree where one branch hung fresh and bloomingcovered with delicate pink Lossomas that were just ready to open The Apple Tree Branch knew well enough how beautiful he was for the knowledge is inherent in the blade as well as in the bloodand consequently the Branch was not surprised when a nobleman's carriage stopped opposite to him on the roadand the young countess said that that apple branch was the loveliest thing one could behold a very emblem of spring in its most charming form. And the Branch was broken off and she held it in her delicate hand and sheltered it with her silk parasolThen they drove to the castle where there were lofty halls and splendid apartments. Pure white curtains fluttered round the open windows and beautiful flowers stood in shining transparent vases and in one of thesewhich looked as if it had been cut out of fresh-fallen snowthe Apple Branch was placed among some fresh light twigs of beechIt was charming to beholdBut the Branch be-came proudand this was quite like human nature

People of various kinds came through the room and according to their rank they might express their admiration few said nothing at all and others again said too muchand the Apple Tree Branch soon got to understand that there was a difference in human beings just as among plants

Some are created for beauty and some for use and there are some which one can do without altogether,”thought the Apple Branch.

And as he stood just in front of the open windowfrom whence he could see into the garden and across the fields he had flowers and plants enough to contemplate and to think aboutfor there were rich plants and humble plantssome very humble indeed

Poor despised herbs!”said the Apple Branch There is certainly a differenceAnd how unhappy they must feel if indeed that kind can feel like myself and my equals Certainly there is a difference and distinctions must be made or we should all be equal.”

And the Apple Branch looked down with a species of pityespecially upon a certain kind of flower of which great numbers are found in the fields and in ditchesNo one bound them into a nosegaythey were too commonfor they might be found even among the pavingstones shootin up everywhere like the rankest weeds and they had the ugly name of dandelion”, orthe devil's milk-pail”.

Poor despised plants!” said the Apple Branch.“It is not your fault that you are what you are that you are so common and that you received the ugly name you bearBut it is with plants as with men there must be a differ-enc.!”

A difference?”said the Sunbeamand he kissed the blooming Apple Branch but also kissed the yellow dandlelions out in the fieldall the brothers of the Sunbeam kissed them the poor flowers as well as the rich

Now the Apple Branch had never thought of the boundless beneficence of Providence in creation towards everything that lives and moves and has its beinghe had never thought how much that is beautiful and good may be hiddenbut not forgottenbut thattoowas quite like human nature

The Sunbeam the ray of light knew better and said

You don't see far and you don't see clearlyWhat is the despised plant that you especially pity?”

The dandelion,”replied the Apple Branch.“It is never received into a nosegay it is trodden under footThere are too many of themand when they run to seedthey fly away like little pieces of wool over the roadsand hang and cling to people's dress

They are nothing but weedsbut it is right there should be weeds tooOhI'm really very thankful that I was not created one of those flowers,”

But there came across the fields a whole troop of childrenthe youngest of whom was so small that it was carried by the restand when it was set down in the grass among the yellow flowers it laughed aloud with glee kicked out with its little legsrolled about and plucked the yellow flowers and kissed them in its pretty innocence The elder children broke off the flowers with their hollow stalksand bent the stalks round into one another link by link so that a whole chain was made first a necklaceand then a scat to hang over their shoulders and tie round their waistsand then a chaplet to wear on the headit was quite a gala of green links and chains The eldest children carefully gathered the stalks on which hung the white featere ballformed by the flower that had run to seedand this loose airy wool-flowerwhich is a beautiful objectlooking like the finest snowy downthey held to their mouths and tried to blow away the whole head at one breathfor their grandmother had said that whoever could do this would be sure to get new clothes before the year was outSo on this occasion the despised flower was a perfect prophet

Do you see?” said the Sunbeam.Do you see the beauty of those flowers do you see their power?”

Yesover children,” replied the Apple Branch

And now an old woman came into the field and be-an to dig with a blunt shiftless knife round the root of the dandelion plant and pulled it up out of the groundWith some of the roots she intended to make coffee for herselfothers she was going to sell for money to the druggist

But beauty is a higher thing!”said the Apple Tree Branch.“ Only the chosen few can be admitted into the realm of beautyThere is a difference among plants just as there is a difference among men.”

And then the Sunbeam spoke of the boundless love of the Creator as manifested in the creation and of the just distribution of things in time and in eternity

Yesyes that is your opinion,”the Apple Branch persisted. But now some people came into the room and the beautiful young countess appeared the lady who had placed the Apple Branch in the transparent vast in the sunlight She carried in her hand a flower or something of the kind The object whatever it might be was hidden by three or four great leaves wrapped around it like a shield that no draught or gust of wind should injure itand it was carried more carefully than the Apple Bough had beenVery gently the large leaves were now removedand Loathere appeared the fine feathery seed crown of the despised dandelionThis it was that the lady had plucked with the greatest care and had carried home with every precaution so that not one of the delicate feathery darts that form its downy ball should be blown awayShe now produced it quite uninjured and admired its beautiful fromits peculiar constructionand its airy beauty which was to be scattered by the wind

Look with what singular beauty Providence has in-vested it,” she said.“I will paint it together with the Apple Branch whose beauty all have admiredbut this humble flower has received just as much from Heaven in a different wayandvarious as they areboth are children of the kingdom of beauty.”

And the Sunbeam kissed the humble flower and he kissed the blooming Apple Branchwhose leaves appeared to blush thereat

 


 

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