ONLY a little while after the earth was made, the trees and plants came to live on it. They were happy and contented. The lily was glad because her flowers were white. The rose was glad because her flowers were red. The violet was happy because, however shyly she might hide herself away, some one would come to look for her and praise her fragrance. The daisy was happiest of all because every child in the world loved her.
The trees and plants chose homes for themselves. The oak said, "I will live in the broad fields and by the roads, and travelers may sit in my shadow." "I shall be contented on the waters of the pond," said the water-lily. "And I am contented in the sunny fields," said the daisy. "My fragrance shall rise from beside some mossy stone," said the violet. Each plant chose its home where it would be most happy and contented.
There was one little plant, however, that had not said a word and had not chosen a home. This plant was the heather. She had not the sweet fragrance of the violet, and the children did not love her as they did the daisy. The reason was that no blossoms had been given to her, and she was too shy to ask for any.
"I wish there was some one who would be glad to see me," she said; but she was a brave little plant, and she did her best to be contented and to look bright and green.
One day she heard the mountain say, "Dear plants, will you not come to my rocks and cover them with your brightness and beauty? In the winter they are cold, and in the summer they are stung by the sunshine. Will you not come and cover them?"
"I cannot leave the pond," cried the water-lily.
"I cannot leave the moss," said the violet.
"I cannot leave the green fields," said the daisy.
The little heather was really trembling with eagerness. "If the great, beautiful mountain would only let me come!" she thought, and at last she whispered very softly and shyly, "Please, dear mountain, will you let me come? I have not any blossoms like the others, but I will try to keep the wind and the sun away from you."
"Let you?" cried the mountain. "I shall be contented and happy if a dear little plant like you will only come to me."
The heather soon covered the rocky mountain side with her bright green, and the mountain called proudly to the other plants, "See how beautiful my little heather is!" The others replied, "Yes, she is bright and green, but she has no blossoms."
Then a sweet, gentle voice was heard saying, "Blossoms you shall have, little heather. You shall have many and many a flower, because you have loved the lonely mountain, and have done all that you could to please him and make him happy." Even before the sweet voice was still, the little heather was bright with many blossoms, and blossoms she has had from that day to this.