WO little weeds grew on a bank by the roadside. All summer they had drunk dew and sunshine, and had been happy; but now autumn was come, with gray skies, and winds that nipped and pinched them.
"We shall die soon!" said one little weed. "I should like to do something pleasant before I die, just to show what a happy time I have had. I think I will turn red, and then people will see how I feel."
"You will be a great fool to waste your strength in any such nonsense!" said the other little weed. "I shall live as long as I can, and hug the brown bank here."
So the first little weed turned bright scarlet, and was so pretty that every one who passed that way turned to look at it. By and by there came along a most beautiful maiden with her lover; and when the lover saw the scarlet leaves, he plucked them, and set them in his maiden's hair, and they lent her a new grace. This made the little weed so happy that he died for pure joy.
The second little weed lived on, and turned slowly brown, like the bank.
"He was a fool!" he said, speaking of his companion. "He put all his strength into turning red, and so he died."
"I was proud of him!" said the brown bank. "He did what he could, and people observed him."
"Yes, but I am alive, and stay with you!" said the weed.
"Much I care!" said the brown bank.