7 THE DAISY’S FIRST WINTER雏菊的第一个夏季
1.Somewhere in a garden of this earth,which the dear Lord has planted with many flowers of gladness,grew a fresh,bright little daisy.The first this little daisy knew,she found herself growing in green pastures and beside the still waters where the Heavenly Shepherd was leading his sheep.And very beautiful did life look to her,as her bright little eyes,with their crimson lashes,opened and looked down into the deep crystal waters of the brook below,where the sunshine made every hour more sparkles,more rings of light,and more brilliant glances and changes of color,than all the jewelers in the world could imitate.
2.She knew intimately all the yellow-birds,and meadowlarks,and bobolinks,and black-birds,that sang,piped,whistled,or chattered among the bushes and trees in the pastures,and she was a prime favorite with them all.The fish that darted to and fro in the waters seemed like so many living gems,and their silent motions,as they glided hither and thither,were full of beauty,and told as plainly of happiness as if they could speak.Multitudes of beautiful flowers grew up in the water,or on the moist edges of the brook.
3.There were green fresh arrow-heads,which in their time gave forth their white blossoms with a little gold ball in the center of each,and there were the pickerel-weed,with its thick,sharp,green leaf,and its sturdy spike of blue blossoms,and the tall meadow-grass,with its graceful green tassels hanging down and *** wavy reflections in the water;and there was the silver-weed,whose leaves as they dipped in the brook seemed to be of molten silver,and whose tall heads of fringy white blossoms sent forth a grateful perfume in the air;and there,too,were the pink and white azaleas,full of sweetness and beauty,and close along in the green mosses of the banks grew blue and white violets,and blood-root,with its silvery stars of blossom,and the purple hepatica,with its quaint,hairy leaves,and the slender wind-flower on its thread-like stem,and the crowfoot,with its dark bronze leaf and its half-shut flower,looking like the outside of a pink sea-shell.
4.In fact,there is scarcely any saying how many beautiful blooming things grew and flourished in that green pasture where dear little Daisy was so happy as first to open her bright eyes.They did not all blossom at once,but had their graceful changes;but there was always a pleasant flutter of expectation among them,—either a sending forth of leaves,or a *** of buds,or a bursting out into blossoms;and when the blossoms passed away,there was a thoughtful,careful maturing of seeds,all packed away so snugly in their little coffers and caskets of seed-pods,which were of every quaint and dainty shape that ever could be fancied for a lady's jewel-box.
5.Overhead there grew a wide-spreading apple-tree,which in the month of June became a gigantic bouquet,holding up to the sun a million silvery opening flowers,and a million pink-tipped buds;and the little winds would come to play in its branches,and take the pink shells of the blossoms for their tiny air-boats,in which they would go floating round among the flowers,or sail on voyages of discovery down the stream;and when the time of its blossom was gone,the bountiful tree from year to year had matured fruits of golden ripeness which cheered the hearts of men.
6.Little Daisy's life was only one varied delight from day to day.She had a hundred playmates among the lightwinged winds,that came to her every hour to tell her what was going on all over the green pasture,and to bring her sweet perfumed messages from the violets and anemones of even the more distant regions.
7.There was not a ring of sunlight that danced in the golden network at the bottom of the brook that did not bring a thrill of gladness to her heart;not a tiny fish glided in his crystal paths,or played and frolicked under the water-lily shadows,that was not a well-known friend of hers,and whose pleasures she did not share.At night she held conferences with the dew-drops that stepped about among the flowers in their bright pearl slippers,and washed their leaves and faces before they went to rest.Nice little nurses and dressing-maids these dews!and they kept tender guard all night over the flowers,watching and blinking wakefully to see that all was safe;but when the sun arose,each of them spread a pair of little rainbow wings,and was gone.
8.To be sure,there were some reverses in her lot.Sometimes a great surly,ill-looking cloud would appear in the sky,like a cross schoolmaster,and sweep up all the sunbeams,and call in a gruff voice to the little winds,her play-fellows,to come away from their nonsense;and then he would send a great strong wind down on them,all with a frightful noise and roar,and sweep all the little flowers flat to the earth;and there would be a great rush and pattering of rain drops,and bellowing of thunders,and sharp forked lightnings would quiver through the air as if the green pastures certainly were to be torn to pieces;but in about half an hour it would be all over,—the sunbeams would all dance out from their hiding-places,just as good as if nothing had happened,and the little winds would come laughing back,and each little flower would lift itself up,and the winds would help them to shake off the wet and plume themselves as jauntily as if nothing had gone amiss.
9.Daisy had the greatest pride and joy in her own pink blossoms,of which there seemed to be an inexhaustible store;for,as fast as one dropped its leaves,another was ready to open its eyes,and there were buds of every size,waiting still to come on,even down to little green cushions of buds that lay hidden away in the middle of the leaves down close to the root."How favored I am!"said Daisy,"I never stop blossoming.The anemones and the liverwort and the blood-root have their time,but then they stop and have only leaves,while I go on blooming perpetually;how nice it is to be made as I am!"
10."But you must remember,"said a great rough Burdock to her,—"you must remember that your winter must come at last,when all this fine blossoming will have to be done with."
"What do you mean?" said Daisy,in a tone of pride,eying her rough neighbor with a glance of disgust."You are a rough,ugly old thing,and that's why you are cross.Pretty people like me can afford to be good-natured."
11."Ah,well," said Dame Burdock,"you'll see.It's a pretty thing if a young chit just out from seed this year should be impertinent to me,who have seen twenty winters,—yes,and been through them well,too!"
"Tell me,Bobolink," said Daisy,"is there any truth in what this horrid Burdock has been saying?What does she mean by winter?"
12."I don't know,—not I,"said Bobolink,as he turned a dozen somersets in the air,and then perched himself airily on a thistle-head,singing,—
"I don't know,and I don't care;
It's mighty pleasant to fly up there,
And it's mighty pleasant to light down here,
And all I know is chip,chip,cheer."
13."Say,Humming-bird,do you know anything about winter?"
"Winter!I never saw one," said Humming-bird;"we have wings,and follow summer round the world,and where she is,there go we."
"Meadow-Lark,Meadow-Lark,have you ever heard of winter?" said Daisy.
14.Meadow-Lark was sure he never remembered one."What is winter?"he said,looking confused.
"Butterfly,Butterfly,"said Daisy,"come,tell me,will there be winter,and what is winter?"
But the Butterfly laughed,and danced up and down,and said,"What is Daisy talking about?I never heard of winter!Winter?ha!ha!What is it?"
15."Then it's only one of Burdock's spiteful sayings,"said Daisy."Just because she isn't pretty,she wants to spoil my pleasure,too.Say,dear lovely tree that shades me so sweetly,is there such a thing as winter?"
And the tree said,with a sigh through its leaves,"Yes,daughter,there will be winter;but fear not,for the Good Shepherd makes both summer and winter,and each is good in its time.Enjoy the summer,and fear not."