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PAGE 4

Queen Aster
by [?]

“She has done more than ever we did to make the kingdom beautiful and safe and happy, and I’ll be the first to own it, to thank her and offer my allegiance,” he said to himself, and waited for a chance.

One night when the September moon was shining over the meadow, and the air was balmy with the last breath of summer, the Prince ventured to serenade the Queen on his wind-harp. He knew she was awake; for he had peeped through the ferns and seen her looking at the stars with her violet eyes full of dew, as if something troubled her. So he sung his sweetest song, and her Majesty leaned nearer to hear it; for she much longed to be friends with the gallant Prince, and only waited for him to speak to own how dear he was to her, because both were born in the palace and grew up together very happily till coronation time came.

As he ended she sighed, wondering how long it would be before he told her what she knew was in his heart.

Golden-rod heard the soft sigh, and being in a tender mood, forgot his pride, pushed away the screen, and whispered, while his face shone and his voice showed how much he felt,–

“What troubles you, sweet neighbor? Forget and forgive my unkindness, and let me help you if I can,–I dare not say as Prince Consort, though I love you dearly; but as a friend and faithful subject, for I confess that you are fitter to rule than I.”

As he spoke the leaves that hid Violet’s golden heart opened wide and let him see how glad she was, as she bent her stately head and answered softly,–

“There is room upon the throne for two: share it with me as King, and let us rule together; for it is lonely without love, and each needs the other.”

What the Prince answered only the moon knows; but when morning came all the meadow was surprised and rejoiced to see the gold and purple flowers standing side by side, while the maple showered its rosy leaves over them, and the old rock waved his crown of vine-leaves as he said,–

“This is as it should be; love and strength going hand in hand, and justice making the earth glad.”