Gateway to the Classics: Good Stories for Great Holidays by Frances Jenkins Olcott
Good Stories for Great Holidays by  Frances Jenkins Olcott

The Cañon Flowers


At first there were no cañons, but only the broad, open prairie. One day the Master of the Prairie, walking out over his great lawns, where were only grasses, asked the Prairie: "Where are your flowers?"

And the Prairie said: "Master, I have no seeds."

Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them far and wide, and soon the Prairie bloomed with crocuses and roses and buffalo beans and the yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the red lilies, all the summer long.

Then the Master came and was well pleased; but he missed the flowers he loved best of all, and he said to the Prairie: "Where are the clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets and wind-flowers, and all the ferns and flowering shrubs?"

And again the Prairie answered: "Master, I have no seeds."

And again he spoke to the birds and again they carried all the seeds and strewed them far and wide.

But when next the Master came, he could not find the flowers he loved best of all, and he said: "Where are those, my sweetest flowers?"

And the Prairie cried sorrowfully: "O Master, I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and they wither up and fly away."

Then the Master spoke to the Lightning, and with one swift blow the Lightning cleft the Prairie to the heart. And the Prairie rocked and groaned in agony, and for many a day moaned bitterly over its black, jagged, gaping wound.

But a little river poured its waters through the cleft, and carried down deep, black mould, and once more the birds carried seeds and strewed them in the cañon. And after a long time the rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses and trailing vines, and all the nooks were hung with clematis and columbine, and great elms lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight, and down about their feet clustered the low cedars and balsams, and everywhere the violets and wind-flowers and maiden-hair grew and bloomed till the cañon became the Master's place for rest and peace and joy.

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