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The Flower’s Story
by [?]

Marion had been ill, and was still so weak that she had to lie on her bed many hours each day trying to sleep and rest. One winter afternoon when the snow fell quietly outside and the room was very still, with Nurse dozing in her chair, the kitten purring on the rug, and nothing new or pretty to look at but a bunch of pansies in a glass beside the bed, Marion said to herself with a sigh,–

“If I only had some one to tell me a story I should be able to get through this long day without fretting. But Mamma is away, Nurse is tired, and I know all my books by heart; so what can I do, since I’m too tired to play with my dolls?”

No one answered this important question; and Marion sighed again as she turned to look at the other side of the room, hoping to discover some help or amusement in that direction. The queer ladies on the great Japanese fan over the glass stared at her with their small eyes, but seemed too busy drinking tea out of red and yellow teapots to take any interest in the pale little girl on the bed. The pins sat primly in the blue satin cushion as usual; but neither the pearl fly, the golden rose-headed one, nor the funny mourning brooch Nurse was so fond of,–with hair in it, and a picture of a fat baby at the back,–could amuse Marion now. The dolls lay piled up in the cradle, with their poor arms and legs sticking out in all directions, sadly neglected by their little mamma; while the dear books upon the shelves had been read so often lately that they had nothing new and pleasant to offer now.

“Oh dear! I wish the birds on the wall-paper or the children in the pictures hanging round my room could sing and talk to me. I’ve been so good and patient I really think some one ought to take pity on a poor little sick girl and do something to please her,” said Marion, with a third sigh, heavier than the others.

It made such a breeze that it blew one of the flowers out of the glass. Marion took it up and looked at it, ready for any playmate, even a ladies’-delight.

It was a very pretty one, and showed such a smiling face among its dark and bright petals that the child felt as if she had found a friend, and kissed it softly, being rather tender-hearted just then as well as lonely.

To her great surprise the flower nodded at her, and then a faint, sweet voice said, as she still held it close to her face,–

“Now I can speak, and am very glad to come and amuse you; for we have been pitying you very much, because we also are lonely and homesick so far from our own people.”

“Why, you dear little thing, how lovely it is to hear you talk and see you smile at me! Please tell me all about yourself. I’m fond of flowers, and was so pleased when one of my schoolmates sent me this pretty nosegay of pansies,” said Marion, charmed with this surprise.

“I have no story; for I was born in a green-house, and have lived in a little flower-pot all my life, with many sisters, who are carried away when they bloom, and never come back again. We only sat for a few hours in a shop before we were pinned in paper, and brought here by a dreadful boy, who left us at your door. We were much pleased to find ourselves in this pretty vase of fresh water in a quiet, warm room, with a gentle mistress to look at us. Now, if you want a story about our people, I will tell you an old one that all our family know and like very much.”