Rose Marian and the Flower Fairies

Rose Marian and the Flower Fairies

Rose Marian and the Flower Fairies
Home Page Flower Faeries Natalia Pierandrei Myrea Pettit
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Rose Marian and
the Flower Fairies

Rose Marian and the Flower Fairies

In 1850 Lydia Maria Child an American author wrote the book
'Rose Marian and the Flower Fairies'

Rose Marian and the Flower Fairies

Full information on Lydia Maria Child including bibliography can be found at:

The following text and graphics are courtesy of & Copyright© 2002 Kerrie O'Leary

Copyright© 2002 Kerrie  O`Leary

Long, long time ago, lived a widowed queen, named Elfrida. Her beloved husband died in battle, in the prime of his life; and from that time she lived alone with her daughter Marian, a blooming maiden of fifteen. Her solitary palace was in a very romantic country, surrounded by verdant hills and picturesque mountains whence flowed two bright streams glistening in the sunshine, like threads of silver.

Through all the neighboring country, good queen Elfrida was revered as a saint; for she assisted the poor, nursed the sick, comforted the unhappy, and was ever gentle and friendly to all. She kindly extended her hand even to the most wretched beggars, and granted their petitions if possible. Thus were her own sorrows consoled, and the loneliness of her existence was cheered by universal gratitude and love.

Her daughter, the princess Marian, was fresh and beautiful as a morning in May. Her cheeks were like Blush-Roses, and her mild eyes were modest and clearly blue, like the lovely little flower, which Germans call forget-me-not. The country people all called her Rose Marian. She was, moreover, affectionate, wise, and good. She assisted her mother in her various duties, and attended upon her with the most devoted love. Her next greatest delight was to cultivate the flowers of their spacious garden. She was among them at earliest sunrise, while the dew was sparkling on their leaves. She trained the vines, carefully guarded the roses from destructive insects, and supported the carnation with pretty lattices, when they were bending under the weight of blossoms. The flowers repaid her tender care with delicious fragrance, and colors unusually brilliant. Marian had no other playmates, and in the fulness of her love she talked to them, as if they were intelligent beings, who could understand her words. In her own mind she was quite convinced that every flower, and every little bit of moss, had within it a guardian fairy. She often fancied that they listened to her, nodded their friendly heads, and answered her with perfumes.

At night, when the solitary old castle was silvered with moonlight, and nightingales, hidden among the foliage, sang enchanting songs, then came moss-elves and flower-fairies dancing into the garden. They divided into separate troops, and as they passed and re-passed under Marian's window, the different bands sang and answered each other in a chorus of love and praise. Their tones were so sweetly plaintive, tender, and etherial, that little brooks stopped their murmuring voices, and animals in the neighboring woods stood still to listen. Copyright© 2002 Kerrie  O`Leary The good princess slept profoundly, but a smile gleamed all over her face, for she was listening to the floral serenade, and heard in her dreams all the clear sweet tones, all the affectionate words, of her darling flowers. After such a night she always woke bright and cheerful. Her pulse beat vigorously, her countenance was luminous with happiness, and her soul expanded with devotional feeling. She looked up to the broad blue sky and the golden sun, with such elevating confidence in God, such love for all the beautiful things he had created, that she sometimes imagined she did not live on earth, but in heaven, and that angels were always with her. When she sprinkled the plants with fresh water, she said, in the simplicity of her innocent heart, "''I thank you, my beautiful ones, for the delightful midnight melodies you sing to me in my dreams."'' They bowed themselves before her, and the incense they waved seemed more fragrant than ever.

Queen Elfrida watching her child Copyright© 2002 Kerrie  O`Leary The queen watched the motions of her graceful child, and observed her innocent amusements with maternal pleasure. It was the cherished wish of her heart to live long for this dear daughter's sake, and zealously devote many future years to her improvement and happiness. But it was ordered otherwise. Her health was failing fast, and she perceived it, thought Marian did not. Often when she looked on her darling, her heart trembled and her eyes filled with tears. The consciousness that she must soon leave her, deepened her habitual tenderness, and they were happy only in each other's society. But the parting hour came at last. The good queen fell asleep in her daughter's arms, and wakened no more in this world.

Marian believed her mother had become an angel, and gone to dwell with celestial beings. But her own heart was very desolate, and earth no longer seemed to her so beautiful as it was in her happy childhood. Her songs were hushed, and her buoyant step became languid and slow. Even her precious flowers were neglected. She glanced at them sorrowfully, and took little notice of their gay colors, or the fragrance they breathed around her. Feeling themselves deserted, they bent their lovely heads, and their withered crowns fell on the ground, as if they shared Marian's sorrow. She grew pale, every day paler. Marian at her Mother's grave Copyright© 2002 Kerrie  O`Leary She was silent and listless during the day, and all through the soft summer night she remained wakeful at her mother's grave. Her hands became thin and quite transparent, and when she looked up to heaven there was a glorified light in her eyes, that seemed to come from a brighter and holier world than this. The doctors said, "'If she keeps ever wakeful, and this profound melancholy continues, she will certainly become insane."'

It made the flowers very sad to see their dear guardian drooping thus, and they inquired anxiously of each other what they could do to console her. Roses, Heliotrope, and Mignonette wished to wrap her in a cloud of perfumes, and they sighed to think she no longer delighted in their sweetness. A superb fringed poppy suggested that sleep was what she most needed, and the Hop-vines were of the same opinion. "'Aye, aye,"' exclaimed many flowers; "'that is a good thought. A refreshing sleep will certainly cure her. But how can we convey it to her!"' While they thus took counsel together, and sighed for their favorite fading away, the surrounding foliage suddenly became luminous, and the flowers could see all the dew-drops gleaming in a soft tremulous light. At first, they thought the moon had risen; but when they looked up, they perceived a beautiful being, with shining hair, surmounted by a golden crown sparkling with jewels. Her lustrous robe of heavenly blue was covered with stars, which diffused a wonderful light. The astonished flowers trembled through all their veins, and bent to touch each other.

The radiant vision smiled to see them all stand so silent, touching each other with such timid joy. "'Beautiful and fragrant ones, be not afraid of me,"' she said. "'I come to ask your assistance in conveying the good young princess to a happy home, where she will never more know trouble. She must sleep, or she will lose her reason, and then she will suffer much and long. I am a benevolent spirit, whose mission it is to alleviate the misery of the good in this world. Angels love Marian, and take pity on the sorrow that is wasting her life. They have sent me to you with this golden cup. If each of you will breathe into it, I will stir with my wand, and when the dear sufferer inhales the mingled odors, they will quiet her nerves, and she will fall into a peaceful slumber. The kind good child has done much for you; now is the time to prove your gratitude."'

All the flowers exclaimed at once, "'We would gladly give our lives for Marian."'

The beneficent spirit passed among them with her golden cup, and each one breathed into it. She stirred it with her wand, and the united perfumes were so powerful and so delicious that the flowers themselves were lulled. While they nodded their heads drowsily, and had enchanting dreams, the luminous spirit glided away to Marian, who sat by her mother's tomb, gazing at the solemn stars, thinking sadly and lovingly of the dear departed friend. The spirit gently waved her golden cup, and filled the air with the balmy perfume of a thousand flowers. The mourner ceased to sigh, her beautiful head drooped languidly, and her weary eyelids closed in slumber.

The kind spirit hastened back to the flowers, and waked them from their dreams, to tell the joyful tidings from their dreams, to tell the joyful tidings that Marian slept tranquilly, and had pleasant visions of her dear mother in realms of bliss. At these welcome tidings, the flowers danced merrily on the breeze, and rang all their bells for joy, and sang in chorus:

"' Calm and sweet be her rest;
May she ever be blessed.
The beautiful child,
So good and so mild!
May the friends of the flowers
Bring her many bright hours."'

But the modest little Lily of the Valley added timidly:

"' Angels know what is best for such as Marion."'

With a celestial smile the spirit answered: "'If you will again aid me, friendly ones, the princess never need to suffer any more. She may go at once to a heavenly home, and be eternally happy with her good mother."'

"'But should we not lose her?"' exclaimed the flowers. "'How could we part with the dear, beautiful one? To be separated from her, would be like losing the sunshine and the dew. She has always been so loving and so careful of us. Oh, no we cannot part with Marion!"'

"'You need not be separated,"' replied the spirit; "'on the contrary, your existence may be more intimately blended with hers than it has ever been. She may be your sister, and dance among you with the zephyrs, and scatter delicate perfume from a vase of pearl."'

"'Beautiful spirit,"' said the Amaranth, "'you know what is best for Marian. She must be dear to angels, or they would not have sent you to console her."'

All the flowers sang in chorus:

"' Set the gentle maiden free
From sorrow and from care,
And we will gladly serve thee,
And offer perfumes rare.

The tie between us do not sever,
And we will dearly love thee ever."'

She smiled graciously, and answered:

Then follow me, both large and small;
To Marian follow, one and all."'

illustration of the flower fairy procession Copyright© 2002 Kerrie  O`Leary The flowers joyfully obeyed her commands. As the blooming procession passed along, nightingales sang their richest melodies, while fire-flies perched on the flower-crowns, and lighted up all the foliage through which they passed. Roused by the enchanting music and starry gleams, up started gnomes in green robes sparkling with jewels, and bright little elves with golden hair. They joined the procession, and away they all went in search of Rose Marion.

When they saw her in the distance, sitting by her mother's tomb, they all began to sing:

"' Fairies love the innocent,
The gentle, and the mild;
All they have is freely lent
To a tender-hearted child.

"'And those who cherish flowers
With ever-cheerful love,
Are dear to sylvan powers,
And spirits bright above.

"'They quiet all their fears,
They solace all their woes,
And dry up all their tears,
Like dew-drops on the rose.

"'Blest are they whom fairies love,
The innocent and the mild;
And all good powers above
Protect a gentle child."'

The sleeping Marian was conscious of a sweet, soothing influence, as if the rustling of the night air among the foliage had gradually grown musical. She was seated on a mossy bank, leaning against the trunk of an old weeping-willow. Zephyrs played gently with her unbound hair, her thin arms drooped languidly, and her pale face looked very beautiful as the fairy light fell upon it.

The gnomes, the elves, and the flower-fairies ranged themselves to the right and the left; and the elves took the very small flowers up in their arms, that they might have a chance to see well. In the centre of them all stood the resplendent vision in her robe of stars. For a short time, they remained contemplating with silent reverence the serene and holy beauty of that sleeping maiden. Then the spirit raised her wand, and they all began to sing together with exquisite harmony, in tones tender, etherial, and plaintive, as the voice of Æolian harps:

"' Sleep, sufferer, sleep,
And weep no more;
Thy pains have ceased,
Thy grief is o'er.

Sleep, Marian, sleep,
And sleeping rise
To thy own bright home
Above the skies.

Sleep, dear one, sleep,
And wake above,
Welcomed by angels,
To thy mother's love."'

The starry spirit approached very near the slumberer, and said in a soft voice, "'Artless maiden, thou hast been ever good, and kind, and true. Such are sometimes permitted to suffer much on earth; but their guardian-angels never forsake them. All their tears are are gathered in a golden cup, and they produce beautiful flowers in gardens of paradise. Thither thy soul will rise, to be forever happy with the angels. Thy body, being mortal, must remain on earth; but every year, after a short winter-sleep, it shall be renovated in the form of a lovely flower, charming all with its pearl-like purity and delicate fragrance. Thy night of sorrow has passed away; the day of heavenly joy is dawning."'

The tender serenade and the soothing words floated musically through Marian's dream, and a tranquil smile was on her countenance. All the sylvan spirits stood very still, and scarcely ventured to draw their breath. The bright vision in the starry robe whispered a few mysterious words, and gently touched the slumberer with her wand. A clear lambent flame flickered about her head for a few moments, and then, rising slowly, sailed away far out of sight, up among the stars. It was Marian's soul, departed from the body and gone to realms of bliss.

The elves and the flower-fairies gazed after with longing, as it rose up to the blue firmame and they sighed deeply when it disappeared. They turned to look at the lifeless body, and perceived that it had undergone a marvellous change. It had become transparent as crystal, and all the net-work of veins could be plainly seen.

"'It was a beautiful shrine for the immortal spirit,"' said the resplendent vision. "'The innocent soul has gone to heaven, and now sees and hears what no mortal eye or ear could perceive or comprehend. Her body was a temple worthy of the divinity that dwelt within it; and its death shall only be transformation into a new form of beauty."'

She touched the inanimate form, and said, "'Princess among maidens, rise a princess among flowers!"'

Quick as the words were spoken, a pure white blossom rose on its majestic stalk, and the air was redolent with fragrance, like the mingled breathings of all the flowers in the golden cup. The starry spirit saw that all the plants were thrilled to their roots with joyful surprise. She smiled on them, and said, "'Receive your new sister. Love her as Marian loved you, and may you always be happy together."'

The Rose blushed deeply, and bowing her beautiful head, replied, "'Beneficent genius! the new flower you have so graciously given us deserves to be our queen. Marian was our guardian and our princess; and the royal blossom you have raised from her lovely remains, deserves to be our princess still. Is it not so, my sisters?"'

All the flowers eagerly responded, "'Yes; our new sister shall be the queen. When she was a maiden, they called her Rose. What shall we call her now?"'

"'I have named her the Lily, "' replied the beneficent spirit. "'And now, floral beauties, salute your queen!"'

Then all the flowers bowed gracefully toward the regal Lily, and waved fragrance before her, and some laid their crowns at her feet, saying, "'Thus we pay homage to the Lily, because she is the emblem of innocence."'

The Queen of the Flowers bent her majestic head, and answered, "'Dear children of the gardens and the woods, beloved by all innocent and simple souls, you have chosen me for your queen, but I prefer to be your loving sister. Come nearer, and receive me among you."'

Then the flowers touched leaves, and danced in wreaths around her, while she breathed sweetly on them, and threw kisses as they passed. The elves and fairies sang together:

"' A loving heart is like the dew,
Which gently falleth ever;
A daily blessing always new,
A fount that faileth never.

"'Fair as a pearl is innocence,
The crown of youthful hours;
And the name of the pure gone hence
Is like the breath of flowers."'

After a while, the music slowly fainted away, as starry vision, golden-haired fairies, and glimmerfire-flies receded in the distance. Their path was marked by shimmering light moving along the foliage, making the woods look like a golden forest. Nightingales listened in silence to the fairy-song; but when they could hear it no longer, they again poured forth their own soft, plaintive melodies. The moon rose in beauty, and lovingly kissed her new-born flower.

Thus the Lily became queen of the garden. Before that time, she was a pure, good princess, called ROSE MARIAN.

Copyright© 2002 Kerrie O'Leary

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