Once upon a time . . . . . from
our fabulous collection of Fairy Tales for children . . . they lived
happily ever after . . .
Now listen! In the country, close by the high road, stood
a farmhouse; perhaps you have passed by and seen it yourself.
There was a little flower garden with painted wooden palings
in front of it; close by was a ditch, on its fresh green bank
grew a little daisy; the sun shone as warmly and brightly upon
it as on the magnificent garden flowers, and therefore it
thrived well. One morning it had quite opened, and its little
snow-white petals stood round the yellow centre, like the rays
of the sun. It did not mind that nobody saw it in the grass,
and that it was a poor despised flower; on the contrary, it
was quite happy, and turned towards the sun, looking upward
and listening to the song of the lark high up in the air.
The little daisy was as happy as if the day had been a
great holiday, but it was only Monday. All the children were
at school, and while they were sitting on the forms and
learning their lessons, it sat on its thin green stalk and
learnt from the sun and from its surroundings how kind God is,
and it rejoiced that the song of the little lark expressed so
sweetly and distinctly its own feelings. With a sort of
reverence the daisy looked up to the bird that could fly and
sing, but it did not feel envious. 'I can see and hear,' it
thought; 'the sun shines upon me, and the forest kisses me.
How rich I am!'
In the garden close by grew many large and magnificent
flowers, and, strange to say, the less fragrance they had the
haughtier and prouder they were. The peonies puffed themselves
up in order to be larger than the roses, but size is not
everything! The tulips had the finest colours, and they knew
it well, too, for they were standing bolt upright like
candles, that one might see them the better. In their pride
they did not see the little daisy, which looked over to them
and thought, 'How rich and beautiful they are! I am sure the
pretty bird will fly down and call upon them. Thank God, that
I stand so near and can at least see all the splendour.' And
while the daisy was still thinking, the lark came flying down,
crying 'Tweet,' but not to the peonies and tulips- no, into
the grass to the poor daisy. Its joy was so great that it did
not know what to think. The little bird hopped round it and
sang, 'How beautifully soft the grass is, and what a lovely
little flower with its golden heart and silver dress is
growing here.' The yellow centre in the daisy did indeed look
like gold, while the little petals shone as brightly as
How happy the daisy was! No one has the least idea. The
bird kissed it with its beak, sang to it, and then rose again
up to the blue sky. It was certainly more than a quarter of an
hour before the daisy recovered its senses. Half ashamed, yet
glad at heart, it looked over to the other flowers in the
garden; surely they had witnessed its pleasure and the honour
that had been done to it; they understood its joy. But the
tulips stood more stiffly than ever, their faces were pointed
and red, because they were vexed. The peonies were sulky; it
was well that they could not speak, otherwise they would have
given the daisy a good lecture. The little flower could very
well see that they were ill at ease, and pitied them
Shortly after this a girl came into the garden, with a
large sharp knife. She went to the tulips and began cutting
them off, one after another. 'Ugh!' sighed the daisy, 'that is
terrible; now they are done for.'
The girl carried the tulips away. The daisy was glad that
it was outside, and only a small flower- it felt very
grateful. At sunset it folded its petals, and fell asleep, and
dreamt all night of the sun and the little bird.
On the following morning, when the flower once more
stretched forth its tender petals, like little arms, towards
the air and light, the daisy recognised the bird's voice, but
what it sang sounded so sad. Indeed the poor bird had good
reason to be sad, for it had been caught and put into a cage
close by the open window. It sang of the happy days when it
could merrily fly about, of fresh green corn in the fields,
and of the time when it could soar almost up to the clouds.
The poor lark was most unhappy as a prisoner in a cage. The
little daisy would have liked so much to help it, but what
could be done? Indeed, that was very difficult for such a
small flower to find out. It entirely forgot how beautiful
everything around it was, how warmly the sun was shining, and
how splendidly white its own petals were. It could only think
of the poor captive bird, for which it could do nothing. Then
two little boys came out of the garden; one of them had a
large sharp knife, like that with which the girl had cut the
tulips. They came straight towards the little daisy, which
could not understand what they wanted.
'Here is a fine piece of turf for the lark,' said one of
the boys, and began to cut out a square round the daisy, so
that it remained in the centre of the grass.
'Pluck the flower off' said the other boy, and the daisy
trembled for fear, for to be pulled off meant death to it; and
it wished so much to live, as it was to go with the square of
turf into the poor captive lark's cage.
'No let it stay,' said the other boy, 'it looks so
And so it stayed, and was brought into the lark's cage.
The poor bird was lamenting its lost liberty, and beating its
wings against the wires; and the little daisy could not speak
or utter a consoling word, much as it would have liked to do
so. So the forenoon passed.
'I have no water,' said the captive lark, 'they have all
gone out, and forgotten to give me anything to drink. My
throat is dry and burning. I feel as if I had fire and ice
within me, and the air is so oppressive. Alas! I must die, and
part with the warm sunshine, the fresh green meadows, and all
the beauty that God has created.' And it thrust its beak into
the piece of grass, to refresh itself a little. Then it
noticed the little daisy, and nodded to it, and kissed it with
its beak and said: 'You must also fade in here, poor little
flower. You and the piece of grass are all they have given me
in exchange for the whole world, which I enjoyed outside. Each
little blade of grass shall be a green tree for me, each of
your white petals a fragrant flower. Alas! you only remind me
of what I have lost.'
'I wish I could console the poor lark,' thought the daisy.
It could not move one of its leaves, but the fragrance of its
delicate petals streamed forth, and was much stronger than
such flowers usually have: the bird noticed it, although it
was dying with thirst, and in its pain tore up the green
blades of grass, but did not touch the flower.
The evening came, and nobody appeared to bring the poor
bird a drop of water; it opened its beautiful wings, and
fluttered about in its anguish; a faint and mournful 'Tweet,
tweet,' was all it could utter, then it bent its little head
towards the flower, and its heart broke for want and longing.
The flower could not, as on the previous evening, fold up its
petals and sleep; it dropped sorrowfully. The boys only came
the next morning; when they saw the dead bird, they began to
cry bitterly, dug a nice grave for it, and adorned it with
flowers. The bird's body was placed in a pretty red box; they
wished to bury it with royal honours. While it was alive and
sang they forgot it, and let it suffer want in the cage; now,
they cried over it and covered it with flowers. The piece of
turf, with the little daisy in it, was thrown out on the dusty
highway. Nobody thought of the flower which had felt so much
for the bird and had so greatly desired to comfort it.
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