It was early spring. The Cherry Children woke up and called: "Mother,
may we go to play now?"
"Wait till I have made your fairy boats," said the Cherry Mother.
They lay still and waited, and she made their fairy boats, with white
silk sails. Then they sprang up and played in the sunshine, sailing to
and fro on the spring winds, and throwing tiny scent-balls out into the
air. The bees and butterflies and silver moths came to visit them;
everybody laughed and chattered and was happy.
After a while the Cherry Children grew tired.
"Mother," they called, "we have played enough. We should like to rest
"Creep into your little green cradles," said the Cherry Mother. "Rest
there and grow while I make your cradles big."
They crept into their cradles. The mother gently loosened the white
sails and dropped them on the ground, where they lay like scented
snowflakes. Then she made the cradles bigger as the children grew.
She lined the wooden walls with softest satin, and covered them with a
thick green covering. The winds blew and rocked the little cradles to
and fro; from the neighbouring trees the birds sang soft lullabies, and
watched and waited.
The green cradle coverings turned deep red. Once more the Cherry
Children woke up.
"Mother, we wish to grow," they called.
"The birds are coming. They will carry you away to grow," replied the
The birds came in flocks and carried the Cherry Children away in their
beaks. They pecked off the sweet red coverings and ate them, dropping
the hard wooden cradles on the ground. There the autumn leaves covered
them when they fell, and the rain showers washed them farther and
farther into the soft earth.
One day the wooden cradles split open at the sides, and out peeped the
Cherry Children. They grew down and up, and soon wherever a cradle had
fallen there stood a young cherry tree, slender and green.