Elsie lay on a couch by an open window, trying to grow strong again.
She had been hurt, and had to lie here for a year. As she had always
been an outdoor girl she found it hard to stay so long indoors. But
the sunbeams and the little winds came in to play with her, her
favourite tree outside the window made funny leaf shapes to amuse her,
and, best of all, the Season Fairies came to tell her the doings of the
This is what the Spring Fairy said: "Each day the sun shines more
brightly, and everything is waking from its winter sleep. The spring
wind knocks at the close-shut doors of the winter houses, and calls
again and again till they are opened. Buds burst, leaves and flowers
dance out, and everything is gay.
"In the garden plots crocuses and snowdrops and golden daffodils nod to
one another across the ground, primroses and violets scent the air, and
hyacinths ring their merry chimes. Pink-tipped daisies open their
golden eyes here and there on the lawn; the grass-blades shoot up
straight and green.
"I flew through the kitchen garden on my way here. The radishes have
already sent up two thick leaves, and the young cabbages stand in stiff
rows like soldiers, each trying to grow a heart. I peeped under the
ground. There everything is sprouting. The peas and beans have burst
open at the sides, and strong white shoots have come out. The potatoes
are growing stems out of their eyes, and are sending down white roots
to search for water. Under the ground, too, the young grubs are waking
up and moving fast, ready to devour all that they can find.
"Down in the fruit garden, the trees are a glorious mass of white and
pink; for cherry-trees and plum-trees, apple-trees and pear-trees, are
all decked out in their sweet spring dresses. The air is filled with
their fragrance, and snowy petals soon begin to float on every little
"The bees are busy there, gathering honey and pollen to take home to
the newly-hatched bee-grubs. The gooseberry and currant bushes have
opened their queer little flowers to the bees, and, low on the ground,
the strawberry spreads its white petals, inviting them to its honey
"In the pool below the fruit garden queer swimming creatures rush
eagerly about in search of food, for the warmth of the spring has
reached them. One day they are to grow into gnats or mosquitoes or
dragon-flies, but they are not thinking about that just now, all their
thoughts are on their meals.
"From grass-blades and leaves everywhere the tiny eggs are hatching
that were laid by moths and butterflies; caterpillars creep out from
them to wander off in search of food.
"In the wheat-field millions of green blades are shooting up; on the
roadside grasses and thistles, dandelions and ragwort, and a hundred
little weeds, are pushing and jostling each other for their summer
places. The hedges are shining with the gold of gorse and broom; in
the trees dainty nests are being made for eggs as dainty.
"A tender bleating rises all day from the meadow at the foot of the
hill, for there the mother sheep watch over their snowy lambs. The
lambs frisk and gambol on the soft grass, and the mothers call to them
with the mother-note that has come with the spring."