The flax was in full bloom. It had such pretty blue blossoms, as soft as the wings of a moth, and even more delicate. And the sun shone down on the flax, and the rain clouds watered it, and that was as good for it as it is for little children to be bathed and kissed by their mothers-it makes them look so much prettier, and so it did the flax.
"People say that I stand exceedingly well," said the flax, "and that I am growing so charmingly tall that I'll make a grand piece of linen. Oh, how happy I am! No one could possibly be happier! How well off I am! And I'm sure I'll be put to some good use, too. The sunshine makes me so cheerful, and the rain tastes so fresh! I'm exceedingly happy; yes, I'm sure I'm the happiest being in the world!"
"Oh, yes," jeered the hedge stakes. "But you don't know the world the way we do. There are knots in us." And then they creaked out dolefully:
Snip, snap, snurre,
The ballad is over!
"No, it's not," said the flax. "The sun will shine tomorrow, and the rain is so good for me, I can hear myself grow; I can feel that I'm in blossom. Who could ever be as happy as I?"
But one day people came, grabbed the flax by the top, and pulled it up by the roots. Oh, how that hurt! Then it was thrown into the water as if to be drowned, and after that laid on the fire as if to be roasted. It was terrible!
"You can't always have what you want," said the flax. "It's good to suffer sometimes; it gives you experience."
But there was still worse to come. The flax was broken and cracked, hackled and scalded-it didn't even know what the operations were called- and finally put on the wheel - snurre, snurre! It was impossible to think clearly.
"I have been very happy in the past," it thought in all its pain. "You should always be thankful for the happiness you've enjoyed. Thankful, oh, yes!" And the flax clung to that thought as it was taken to the loom. And there it was woven into a large, beautiful piece of linen. All the flax from one field was made into one piece of cloth.