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THE SNOWDROP OR SUMMER-GECK

 

IT was winter-time the air was cold the wind sharpbut indoors itwas snug and warmIndoors lay the flower

it lay in its bulb underthe earth and the snow

One day rain fellthe drops trickled through thesnow-coverletdown into the ground touched the flower- bulb and told about the bright world up above soon asunbeam fine andpointed pierced its way through the snowdown to the bulband tapped on it

"Come in" said the flower

"Ican't" said the sunbeam" Iam not strong enough to open the doorIshall be strong when summer comes"

"When will it be summer"askedtheflowerandre peated it every time a new sunbeampierced down to it But itwas alongtime till summer the snow still lay on the groundand every night ice formed on the water

"Howlong it is in comingHowlong it is" said the flower"Ifeela prickling and tingling Imust stretch myself Imust stir myself Imust open up Imust get out and nod good morning to the summer that will be a happy time"

And the flower stretched itself and strained itself inside against the thin shell which the water outside hadsoftened which the snow and the earth had warmed and the sunbeam had tapped uponit shot out under the snow with its whitey-green bud on its green stalk with narrowthick leaves which seemed trying to shelter it The snow was cold but permeated with light and easy to push throughand here the sunbeams came with greater strength than before

"Welcome Welcome" sang every sunbeamand theflower raised itself above the snow out into the world oflight

The sunbeams patted and kissed it so that it openeditself completely white as snow and adorned with greenstripes It bowed its head in gladness and humility

"Beautiful flower" sang the sunbeams"how freshand pure thou art Thou art the first thou art the onlyone Thou art our darling Thou ringest in summer lovely summer over town and field All the snow shall meltThe cold winds shall be chased away We shall rule Everything will become greenAnd then thou wilt have company lilacs andlaburnum and last of all the roses butthou art the firstso fine and pure"

It was a great delight It seemed as if the air wasmusicas if the beams of light penetrated into its leavesand stalk There it stood sofine and fragileand yet sostrongin its young beautyit stood there in its white Kir-tle with green ribbons and praised the summerBut itwas far from summer-time clouds hid the sunand sharpwinds blew upon the flowers

"Thou art come a little too early" said Wind andWeather"we still have power and that thou shalt feeland submit toThou shouldst have kept indoors not runout to make a show It is not time yet"

It was biting cold The days which came broughtnot a single sunbeamit was weather to freeze to piecesinfor such a little delicate flower But there was morestrength in it than itknew ofit was strong in joy and faith in the summer which must come which was foretold to it by its own deep longing and confirmed by thewarm sunshineand so it stood with confident hopein itswhite dress in the white snow bowing its head whenthe snowflakes fell heavy and thick whilst the icy windsswept over it

"Thou wilt be broken" said they" wither andfreeze what didstthou seek out hereWhy wert thou lured abroadThe sunbeam has fooled thee Now canstthou enjoy thyself thou summer-geck"

"Summer-geck" echoed in the cold morning hours

"Summergeck" shouted some children who came down into the garden"there stands one so prettyso beautiful thefirst the only one"

And these words did the flower so much goodtheywere words like warm sunbeamsThe flower did not evennotice in its gladness that it was being plucked it lay in achild's hand was kissed by a child's lips was broughtinto a warm room gazed at by kind eyes and put in waterso strengthening so enlivening The flower believedthat it was come right into summer all at once

The daughter of the house a pretty little girl was just confirmedshe had a dear friend and he was also justconfirmed"He shall be my summergeck"said she so she took the fragile little flower laid it in a piece of scented paperonwhich were written versesverses about the flowerYesit was all in the versesand it was made upas a letter the flower was laid inside and it was all darkabout itas dark as when it lay in the bulb The flowerwent on a journeylay in the post-bagwas pressed and squeezed and that was not pleasant but it came to an endat last

The journey was over the letter was opened and readby the dear friend he was so delighted he kissed the flowerand laid it with the verses around it in a drawer inwhich were many delightful letters but all without a flowerthis was the firstthe only oneas the sunbeams had called it and that was very pleasant to think about

It got a long time to think about itit thought whilstthe summer passedand the long winer passedand it was summer once morethen it was brought out againBut thistime the young man was not at all delightedhe gripped thepaper hard and threw away the verses so that the flowerfell on the floor it had become flat and withered but itshould not have been thrown on the floor for all that stillit was better lying there than on the firewhere the letterand verses were blazing What had happened What so of ten happensThe flower had fooled him it was jest the maiden had fooled himand that was no jest she had cho sen another sweet-heart in midsummer In the morning the sun shone in onthe little flattened summergeckwhichlooked as if it were painted on the floor The girl who wassweeping took it up and put it in one of books on thetableshe thought ithad fallen outwhen she was clear-ing up and putting things in orderAnd so the flower layagain amongst verses printed verses and they are grander than written ones at least more is spent uponthem

Years passed awayand the book stood on the shelfAt length it was taken downopened and read it was agood book,—songs and poems by the Danish poet Am brosius Stub who is well worth knowing And the manwho read the book turned the page"Here is a flower"said he"a summer-geck not without some meaning doesit lie here Poor Ambrosius Stub he was also a summergeck abefooled poet he was too early in his timeandso he got sleet and sharp windsand went his rounds amongst the gentlemen of Fyen like the flower in the flowerglass the flower in the verses A summergeck awinterfool all jest and fooleryand yetthe first the only the youthfully fresh Danish poet Yes lie as a markin the book little summergeck Thou art laid there withsome meaning"

And so the summergeck was laid in the book againand felt itself both honoured and delighted with the knowledge that it was a mark in the lovely songbookandthat the one who had first sung and written about it hadalso been a summergeck had been befooled in the winterOf course the flower understood this in its own wayjust as we understand anything in our own way

This is the story of the summergeck

 


 

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