Gateway to the Classics: The Red Indian Fairy Book by Frances Jenkins Olcott
The Red Indian Fairy Book by  Frances Jenkins Olcott

The Star and the Water Lilies


Oh! many, many Moons ago, when the World was young, there was no Winter. It was always beautiful Spring. Then Violets and Roses bloomed all the year round, and the birds sang their sweetest songs night and day.

Then there wandered through the Sky Land, a very bright little Star. It looked down on the Earth, and saw the children laughing and playing, and it wished to live among them and be loved. So it put out wings like a bird's, and flying downward, hovered above the tops of the trees. But it did not know in what form to dwell so that the children would love it.

Taking the shape of a bright maiden, the Star entered the dreams of a young brave, who slept alone in his lodge.

"Young brave," said the maiden to the dreaming youth, "I am a Star that has left the Sky to live in your land. Lovely are the things of Earth!—its flowers! its birds! its rivers! its lakes! But more lovely are its children! Ask your wise men in what form I should dwell to be best loved by the children."

Thus spoke the bright maiden, and vanished from the young man's dreams. He awoke, and, stepping from his lodge, saw the shining Star hovering above the trees. And at dawn he sought the wise men of his tribe, and told them his dream. And when night was come again, and the brave was sleeping alone in his lodge, the Star spread its wings, and in the shape of the maiden, entered once more his dreams. Then he bade it seek a dwelling-place in the tops of giant trees, or in the hearts of the flowers. So would the children love it.

The maiden vanished as before, and becoming the Star again, wandered above the Earth, seeking some form in which to dwell.

At first the Star crept into the heart of the White Rose of the Mountain. But it was so hidden in a lonely spot that the children never saw it.

Then it went to the prairie to live in the blades of grass. But it feared the trampling hoofs of the Buffalo.

Next it sought the rocky cliff to lie in the moss. But the children could not climb so high.

Then said the Star: "I will live on the surface of the lake, for there, all the warm Summer day, the children paddle their canoes. They will see me reflected in the ripples, and will love me."

So the Star alighted on the lake, and dissolved in beauty.

And when the children rose in the morning, and ran down to the shore, they saw hundreds and hundreds of white Lilies, like Fairy cups, floating on the water. And in the heart of each, the bright Star was dwelling.

Soon the happy children, in their canoes, were darting to and fro, and as they trailed their hands in the water, and gathered the blossoms, they laughingly called to each other:—

"Oh! how we love the Water Lilies!"

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