THE SNAIL AND
THE ROSE TREE
AROUND the garden ran a hedge of hazels；beyondthis hedge lay fields and meadows，with cows and sheep；but in the midst of the garden stood a blooming Rose
Tree；and under it lived a Snail，who had a good deal inhis shell-namely，himself．
"Wait till my time comes！"he said：" I shall dosomething more that produce roses and bear nuts；or givemilk，like the cows and the sheep！"
"I expect a great deal of you"，said the Rose Tree．"But may I ask when it will appear？"
"I take my time．"replied the Snail．"You are al-ways in such a hurry．You don't rouse people's interestby suspense．"
Next year the Snail lay almost in the same spot, inthe sunshine under the Rose Tree，which again bore budsthat bloomed into roses，always fresh，always new．Andthe Snail crept half-way out，put out its horns and thendrew them in again．
"Everything looks just like last year．There has beenno progress．The Rose Tree sticks to roses；it gets no far-ther．"
The summer passed，the autumn came；the Rose Tree had always flowers and buds，until the snow fell andthe weather became raw and cold； then the Rose Treebowed its head and the Snail crept into the ground．
A new year began； and the roses came out， and theSnail came out also．
"You're an old Rose Tree now！" said the Snail．"You must make haste and come to an end， for you havegiven the world all that was in you： whether it was of anyuse is a question that I have had no time to consider；butso much is clear and plain，that you have done notinng atall for your own development，or you would have producedsomething else．How can you answer for that？In a littletime you will be nothing at all but a stick．Do you under-stand what I say？"
"You alarm me！"replied the Rose Tree．"I neverthought of that at all．"
"No，you have not taken the trouble to consider anything．Have you ever given an account to yourself， why you bloomed， and how it is that your blooming comesabout-why it is thus， and not otherwise．"
"No，"answered the Rose Tree．"I bloomed in glad-ness，because I could not do anything else The sun was so warm，and the air so refreshing．I drank the pure dewand the fresh rain，and I lived，I breathed．Out of theearth there arose a power within me，from above there came down a strength：I perceived a new ever-increasinghappiness，and consequently I was obliged to bloom overand over again； that was my life； I could not do other-wise．
"You have led a very pleasant life，"observed the Snail．
"Certainly．Everything was given to me，"said the Rose Tree．"But more still was given to you．You are oneof those deep thoughtful characters，one of those highlygifted spirits，which will cause the world to marvel．"
"I've no intention of doing anything of the hind，"cried the Snail．"The world is nothing to me．What haveI to do with the world？I have enough of myself and in myself．"
"But must we not all，here on earth， give to othersthe best that we have，and offer what lies in our power？Certainly I have only given roses．But you—you who havebeen so richly gifted—What have you given to the world？what do you intend to give？
"What have I given—what do I intend to give？I spit at it．It's worth nothing．It's no business of mine．Continue to give your roses， if you like：you can't doanything better．Let the hazel bush bear nuts，and thecows and ewes give milk：they have their public；but Ihave nine within myselr—I retire within myself，and there I remain．The world is nothing to me．"
And so ths Snail retired into his house，and closed up the entrance after him．
"That is very sad！"said the Rose Tree．"I cannotcreep into myself，even if I wish it —I must continue to produce roses．They drop their leaves，and are blown away by the wind But I saw how a rose was laid in the matron's hymn-book，and one of roses had a place on the bosom of a fair young girl，and another was kissed by the lips of a child in the full joy of life．That did me good；it was a real blessing．That's my remembrance—my life！"
And the Rose Tree went on blooming in innocence， while the Snail lay idly in his house—the world did not concern him．
And rolled by．
The Snail had become dust in the dust and the Rose Tree was earth in the earth；the rose of remembrance in the hymn-book was faded，but in the garden bloomed fresh rose trees，in the garden grew new snails； and these still crept into their houses，and spat at the world，for it did not con- cern them．
Suppose we begin the story again，and read it right through．It will never alter．