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The Snowdrop

All the snow shall melt, the cold winds be driven away! We shall reign! Everything shall grow green! And then you shall have company, the lilacs and laburnums and finally the roses. But you are the first, so tender and pure!"

This was a great delight to the Flower. It was as if the air itself were ringing and singing, as if the Sunbeams were all penetrating the leaves and stem of the Flower. There it stood, so fine and fragile, and yet so strong, in all its youthful beauty, in its white kirtle with the green bands, praising the summer. But summertime was far off; clouds shrouded the sun; sharp winds blew on the Flower.

"You have come a little too early!" said Wind and Weather. "We still have power, and this you shall feel and have to comply with! You should have remained indoors, instead of rushing out here to display your finery! It is not the time for that yet!"

It was bitingly cold, and the days that followed didn't bring a sunbeam. It was weather to freeze such a delicate little flower to bits. But there was more strength in it than even it realized. That strength was in its happy faith that summer must come, and this had been imparted by its own deep desire and confirmed by the warm sunlight. And so with patient hope it stood there in its white dress, in the white snow, bowing its head when the snowflakes fell thick and heavy or while the icy winds swept over it.

"You'll break!" they said. "Wither, freeze! What did you want out here? Why did you let yourself be enticed? The Sunbeam has hoaxed you! Now make the best of it, you snowdrop, summer fool!"

"Snowdrop, summer fool!" repeated the Flower there in the cold morning.

"Snowdrop!" rejoiced some children who came into the garden. "There stands one, so sweet, so beautiful-the first, the only one!

And these words made the Flower feel so well; they were like the warm Sunbeams. In its gladness it never noticed that it was being plucked. Then it lay in a child's hand, was kissed by a child's lips, brought into a warm room, gazed upon by kindly eyes, and set in water-so strengthening, so exhilarating.

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