Pure White














A LILY of the valley pushed up its green leaves as the spring opened, hung out its tiny white bells, and breathed its perfume on the air. Every evening a host of little dewdrops 

came and sat on its green leaves, or nestled in its white flower-bells, and the lily loved the dewdrops and took them into her heart.

All through the hot summer the lily dwelt in a cool retreat, shaded by tall forest trees, by lowly ferns, and by rankly-growing grasses, and dewdrops came to her every evening, sitting on her green leaves, nestling in her flower bells, and going down to dwell in her loving heart. The lily was very happy.

Autumn painted the forest trees, and made the mountains and valleys look like splendid pictures. Then, as the days grew shorter and the frost fell, the leaves of the trees lost their rich coloring and dropped to the ground. And now the lily could look up through the leafless branches of the trees above her and see the blue sky and the bright sun. But the cold winds began to moan and sigh, and to rush down into the valley where the lily grew. As soon as their chill was felt by the dewdrops, they said:

"Now we must go, sweet lily, but we will come again."

And the lily was sad at this, and drooped her leaves as the gentle dewdrops crept out of her heart and were kissed away by the wind. Then all her leaves faded, and her stem withered, and she shrunk away into the ground. After this the frost came and built a prison of earth as hard as stone all about the lily.

Meantime, the dewdrops, borne away by the winter winds, rose in the air. 

Up, up, they went until they were lost in the clouds among sister drops, which had, like them, risen from the earth. Colder and colder it grew in this high region, until the drops were changed into pure white snow and came drifting down to the earth.

How beautiful it was! Old men and children came out to look at the soft flakes that dropped through the air like the soft down of birds; not pattering noisily, as the rain, but touching all things gently and silently. 

Soon the dull, brown earth and every tree and shrub were clad in garments as white as innocence.

Down in its frozen cell slept the lily. It could not hear the snowflakes that dropped on the ground above its resting-place, even if their coming had not been in silence, for its sleep was like the sleep of death.

For many weeks the snow rested above the lily's hiding-place, softening the frozen earth and drawing out the hard and chilling frost. Flake after flake melted and went down to search for the lily. At last they found her, and awakened her with kisses, and she said, 

"Oh, my sweet dewdrops! I thought you were gone forever."

But they answered, "No, we have come to you again, as we told you when the winds bore us away and carried us into the sky. We came back as snow, and have softened and warmed the frozen earth over your head. The spring is almost here. 

Soon you can push up your green leaves and hang out your white bells, and then we will rest on your leaves again and creep into your fragrant blossoms."

At this the lily's heart thrilled with delight, and she began to make herself ready for the coming spring. A few weeks longer, and many more dewdrops came down and told the lily that all was ready above. And they gathered about her, and crept into her chilled heart, and like good angels, as they were to the lily, bore her up to the regions of air and sunshine. And then she spread forth her green leaves again, and hung out her row of white flower-bells, filling the air with sweetness. And every evening and morning the dewdrops came to her as of old, and she took them lovingly into her heart, and they were very happy. 

 T. S. Arthur.