Gateway to the Classics: For the Children's Hour by Carolyn S. Bailey
For the Children's Hour by  Carolyn S. Bailey

The Goldenrod and Aster

T HERE were once two little girls who lived at the foot of a great hill; and one had such long, yellow hair that she was called Golden Hair, and the other had eyes as deep and blue as the sky, so every one called her Blue Eyes. And up at the top of the hill lived a wise old woman who could turn people into anything she wished.

It was a long way to the top of the hill, and the old woman was so dark and stern to look at that not every one cared to climb the path to the top; but one day the little girls began to wish that they might do something to make other people happy.

"Let us climb the hill," they cried, "and ask the old woman to tell us what we may do."

So Golden Hair took Blue Eyes' hand, and they started up the mountain side. It was a warm day, and they were obliged to stop many times to rest under the great oak trees which grew on either side of the path. They made baskets of leaves and filled them with berries as a gift for the old woman. They chased the squirrels and watched the gay little fishes darting about in the brook. On and on they walked in the rocky path, until the sun went down and the birds forgot to sing and the squirrels went to bed. Before long the stars peeped out and the moon shone down on them, and they were a long way from home—but they kept on climbing and climbing.

At last they came to the top of the hill, and there, at her gate, stood the old woman looking so stern that the two little girls were frightened, but Golden Hair said, bravely: "We came to ask you what we might do to make every one happy." And Blue Eyes said: "We want to stay together, please."

Then the old woman opened her gate wide for the two little girls to go inside, and she smiled a queer smile, as if she were thinking of magic things; and no one ever saw Golden Hair or Blue Eyes again. But in the morning the green grass on the hillside was full of waving, yellow goldenrod, and close by it grew nodding purple aster.

They say the old woman of the hill walks through the grass every moonlight night touching the goldenrod and aster—and she could tell, if she would, how it was she changed Golden Hair and Blue Eyes into flowers.

— Adapted from Cook's "Nature Myths"   

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