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THE BUTTERFLY

 

THE Butterfly wished for a bridenaturallyhe wanted a very pretty one from among the flowersso he looked at themand found that every flower sat quietly and demurely on her stalkjust as a maiden ought to sitbefore she is engagedbut there were a great many of themand the choice threatened to become wearisomeThe Butterfly did not care to take much troubleand sohe flew off to the daisyThe French call this floweret "Marguerite"and they know that Marguerite can prophesywhen lovers pluck off its leavesand ask of every leaf they pluck some question concerning their lovers"HeartilyPainfullyLoves me much A littleNot atall"and so onEvery one asks in his own languageThe Butterfly also came to inquirebut he did not pluck offher leaveshe kissed each of themfor he considered that most is to be done with kindness

"Darling Marguerite daisy"he said to her"Youare the wisest woman among the flowersPraypray tell meshall I get this one or that Which will be my brideWhen I know thatI will directly fly to her and proposefor her"

But Marguerite did not answer himShe was angry that he had called her a"woman”,when she was yet agirland there is a great differenceHe asked for thesecond and for the third timeand when she remained dumband answered him not a wordhe would wait no longerbut flew away to begin his wooing at once

It was in the beginning of springthe crocus and thesnowdrop were blooming around

"They are very pretty"thought the Butterfly"Charming little lassesbut a little too much of the school girl about them"Like all young ladshe lookedout for the elder girls

Then he flew off to the anemonesThese were a littletoo bitter for his tastethe violet somewhat too sentimentalthe tulips too showythe eastern lilies too plebeianthelime blossoms were too smallandmoreoverthey had toomany relationsthe apple blossoms-they looked like ros-esbut they bloomed todayto fall off tomorrowto fallbeneath the first wind that blewand he thought that amarriage with them would last too short a timeThe PeaseBlossom pleased him best of allshe was white and redand graceful and delicateand belonged to the domesticmaidens who look welland at the same time are useful inthe kitchenHe was just about to make his offer whenclose by the maiden he saw a pod at whose end hung a withered flower

"Who is that" he asked

"That is my sister"replied the Pease Blossom

"Ohindeedand you will get to look like her"hesaid

And away he flew for he felt quite shocked

The honeysuckle hung forth blooming from the hedgebut there were a number of girls like thatwith long facesand sallow complexionsNohe did not like her

But which one did he like

The spring went byand the summer drew towards itscloseit was autumnbut he was still undecided

And now the flowers appeared in their most gorgeousrobesbut in vain-they had lost the fresh fragrant air ofyouthBut the heart demands fragranceeven when it is nolonger youngand there is very little of that to be foundamong the dahlias and dry chrysanthemumstherefore theButterfly turned to the Mint on the ground

This plant has no blossombut indeed it is blossomall overfull of fragrance from head to footwith flowerscent in every leaf

"I shall take her"said the Butterfly And he made an offer to her

But the Mint stood silent and stifflistening to himAt last she said "Friendshipbut nothing moreI am oldand youare oldwe may very well live for one anotherbut as tomarrying-no-dont let us appear ridiculous at our age.”

And thus it happened that the Butterfly had no wifeat allHe had been too long choosingand that is a badplanSo the Butterfly became what we call an old bachelor

It was late in autumnwith rain and cloudy weath-erThe wind blew cold over the backs of the old willowtreesso that they creaked againIt was no weather to be flying about in summer clothesnorindeedwas theButterfly in the open airHe had got under shelter by chancewhere there was fire in the stove and the heat ofsummerHe could live well enoughhut he said

"Its not enoughmerely to liveOne must havefreedomsunshineand a little flower.”

And he flew against the window-frameand was seen and admiredand then stuck upon a pin and placedin the box of curiositiesthey could not do more for him

"Now I am perched on a stalklike the flowers"said the Butterfly"It certainly is not very pleasantItmust be something like being marriedfor one is stuckfast"

And he consoled himself with that thought

"Thats very poor comfort"said the potted Plantsin the room

"But"thought the Butterfly"one cannot well trustthese potted PlantsThey've had too much to do withmankind"

 


 

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