The Fairy Queen's Party
Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird had been South all Winter, and just returned to their Summer home in the North.
They had chosen for their home this year a beautiful old garden with a great many nice trees, and flower beds which, when the weather was a little warmer, would be full of bright blossoms.
Running through this garden was a dear, happy little brook, with shining white pebbles in the bottom; and the water was so clear that Mrs. Bluebird decided at once that this was the very best spot which could be chosen for them to build their nest and begin housekeeping.
"Yes," said Mrs. Bluebird, "I never before have seen such a beautiful place for a house. This old cherry tree is so large, and some of the branches hang right over the brook; so that every morning we can just fly down and take a bath before we go for our breakfast."
Mr. Bluebird was very glad to see Mrs. Bluebird so happy and so well pleased with everything in the old garden. "But," said he, "we must not waste any time; we will fly around and look sharply to find material for our little nest." So they flew away, one to one side of the garden, and one to the other, but never staying far apart for any length of time.
Suddenly Mr. Bluebird came flying down beside Mrs. Bluebird, saying: "Oh, my dear, you can't think of the surprise I have for you! Come right over here with me."
"What is it?" said Mrs. Bluebird, very much excited; "do tell me what it is."
"It is some old friends of yours," said Mr. Bluebird; "but I don't want to tell you about them. Please come right away, for I know you will be glad to see them."
So she followed Mr. Bluebird, who went down behind a large willow tree which grew by the side of the brook, and there to her surprise and delight she found six dear little fairies.
Now Mrs. Bluebird was very fond of the fairies, for she had known them the year before, and they had become the best of friends.
"We're so glad to see you!" said Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird; "but why do you look so sad and so unhappy?"
"Well," said the fairies, "we are unhappy, but we are glad to see you, and your singing has cheered us wonderfully; still it does not help our trouble any."
"Why, what can be the matter? Tell us all about it," said the birds; "perhaps we can help you."
"Well, if you have time to listen we will tell you," said the fairies; "but we doubt if you can do anything to help us. There is one person that we little fairies love better than anyone else in the world, and who also loves us very dearly; and this is the Queen of the fairies. She takes care of us all through the Winter and Spring, Summer and Fall, and is just the dearest and loveliest queen that ever was. She gives us our dresses, and teaches us how to keep them nice and tidy. She tells us how to help other people, and do things to make them happy; but this is very easy, for she herself is always doing some kind act; and if we watch her we can see just how to do it ourselves."
"Well, well," said Mr. Bluebird, "this is funny. Why are you so unhappy then?"
"Wait," said the fairies; "we haven't come to the unhappy part yet. Every year, just at this time, our queen gives a party to welcome back the Spring. It is at this party that we get our new dresses; and we may choose any color we like. This year we six made a nice plan that we would be rainbow fairies, for we know that the queen is very fond of the rainbow. Now we will tell you how we get our dresses. We each find a flower that is just the color we want our dress to be, and when the day for the party comes, we each take our flower to the queen; she dips it in the brook and then sprinkles the water over .us, and our dress becomes just like the flower. After this we say "Thank you," very politely, and we each lay our flower in her lap. When all our dresses are changed and all the flowers in the queen's lap, she takes the flowers and puts them in a large basket, and we all make a circle and dance around them. Then the queen tells us all about places we may go, and kind things we can do all through the long Summer; she tells us stories and plays games with us, and - oh, we do have such a lovely time!"
"Oh, dear!" said one of the fairies, "we almost forgot to say that the queen always invites the birds to come and sing, and be happy with us."
Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird had listened very quietly while the fairies had been telling their story, and now they said: "Well, that must be perfectly delightful; but you have not told us yet why you are so very sad."
"We're just coming to that," said the fairies.
Our trouble is this: You know we have had such a cold Winter, and Jack Frost has stayed so late, that we are afraid we cannot get any flowers."
"Ah," said Mr. Bluebird, "this does seem rather serious; just let me think a few moments." He put his little head on one side and looked very wise, and Mrs. Bluebird whispered to the fairies: "He will do all he possibly can to get the flowers for you. He is very wise, and I am sure can think- of some way out of the difficulty."
After Mr. Bluebird had thought for some time he said that he would do his best, but that no time must be lost. So he called Mrs. Bluebird,- for they always went together,- and away they flew, leaving the fairies a little comforted, but not knowing just what the birds were going to do.
First they flew to the flower bed where the hyacinths grew, and Mr. Bluebird knocked on the ground with his bill - tap-tap! "Aren't you awake. Hyacinth? Don't you want to go to the Fairy Queen's party?"
"Yes," sleepily answered Hyacinth; "but the covers on my bed are so heavy that I can't lift them off; and my little green leaves are so tender that unless our dear old friend Mr. Sun is shining very warmly, I am afraid I cannot come out in some time."
"Well, well, something must be done about this. My dear," said Mr. Bluebird to his wife, "will you please go around and wake up Crocus and Daffodil and Violet and the Ferns, and tell them that if they want to go to the Fairy Queen's party they must be ready to come out in a hurry? I will go and ask the friendly clouds and the kind old sun if they will help us to make this year's fairy party a grand success."
Mrs. Bluebird was very glad to do her part, so she started out and knocked - tap-tap! - at the doors of all the different flower families. They all said they were ready to come, if the sun and rain would help them to throw off their Winter covers.
While Mrs. Bluebird was busy with her part of the work,Mr. Bluebird asked the clouds if they would be kind enough to send a little nice, warm rain to soften the hard earth and make it easy for the little flowers to get through. "Yes," said the clouds; "we are willing to do our part, but the sun must go away before we can send the rain."
"Oh, no," said Mr. Bluebird; "if all you little clouds come together, you can make one big cloud, which will hide the sun, and then when the rain is over, all the little clouds can separate, and the sun can shine warmly and brightly and help the little flowers to grow."
Mr. Wind had been listening to this conversation, apd he thought to himself, "Now I think I can help a little here." So he very gently blew all the little clouds together, and very soon a nice, gentle rain was coming down all over the old garden.
The little seeds and bulbs in the ground thought that their covers began to feel lighter, as one by one they all began to poke their little heads out to see if they had better get up and dress themselves for the queen's party, of which the Bluebirds had told them.
When they looked out they saw that the sun was shining warmly and brightly; for after the rain was over, Mr. Wind had come again and blown the clouds, so that Mr. Sun could have his turn to help.
The sun kept shining and the flowers kept growing, so that when the day for the party arrived, the little fairies were very happy. The flowers were standing up so straight, not minding if it was a little bit chilly; for they knew it would soon be warmer, and besides, they were going to the party, and the flowers as well as the fairies loved the Fairy Queen, for she touched them so gently and tenderly; and they loved to lie in her lap and have her smile down on them.
Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird occupied a prominent place, and sang their sweetest songs.
Everything was just as the six little rainbow fairies had told them; and how proud they were to see red, blue, yellow, green, orange, and purple come one after the other with their flowers, and then see the queen dip the flowers in the brook and sprinkle each one, changing their dull brown Winter coat to a beautiful dress exactly like the flower! Then the queen kissed them, and each one laid her flower in the queen's lap, and gayly danced back to her place in the fairy circle.
This was a happy day for all the birds and flowers and fairies; but the very happiest of all were Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird, who did so much to make the queen's party a success.