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But one day there came people, who, seizing the Flax by its head, pulled it up by the roots; this was painful. Then, it was laid in water that it might become soft; and then it was placed over a slow fire as if it was to be baked. Oh, it was sad work!
"One cannot expect to be always prosperous," said the Flax; "one must suffer now and then, and thereby, perhaps, a little wisdom may be gained."
But matters seemed to grow worse and worse: after the Flax had been soaked and baked it was beaten and hackled: neither could it guess the meaning of all that was inflicted. At length, it was placed on the spinning-wheel-whizz, whizz, whizz! It was not easy to collect one's thoughts in this position.
have been extremely happy," thought the patient Flax amid all its sufferings; one ought to be contented with the good things one has already enjoyed. Contentment, contentment, oh!" The words were scarcely uttered when the well-spun thread was placed in the loom. The whole of the Flax, even to the last fibre, was used in the manufacture of a single piece of fine linen.
Well, this is really extraordinary; I never could have expected it! How favourable fortune is to me! The old thorn-stick was a sad croaker when he said,—
For the song is by no means o'er, indeed it seems only to be begun. It is really wonderful! What have I ever done to deserve so happy a fate? Oh, I am the most fortunate of beings! My web is so stout and so fine-so white and so smooth! This is quite another thing from being merely a plant, bearing flowers indeed, but untended by man, and watered only when the rain fell upon me from heaven. Now, I am waited on and cared for. Each morning does the neat-handed maiden turn me over; and in the evening I receive a rain-bath out of the bright green watering-pot; yes, and the pastor's lady herself has been talking of me, and says I am the best piece in the whole parish. I could not be happier than I am."
Now, was the piece of linen carried into the house; then, submitted to the scissors; oh, how unmercifully was it nicked and cut, and stitched with needles! That was by no means
agreeable; but from this single piece were cut twelve linen garments of that sort which one does not gladly name, but which all men desire to possess. Of such garments, twelve were cut out and quickly made.
"Only see, now! I have at length become really useful; and this, surely, was my true destiny. Oh, what a blessing is this, that I am allowed to produce something that is needful to mankind! and when one is permitted to do so, it is a source of the purest satisfaction. We are now become twelve pieces, and yet, we are all one and the same. We are a dozen! What extraordinary good fortune is this!
And years passed on, and the linen was now quite worn out. "I shall very soon be laid aside," said each one of the garments; "I would gladly have lasted longer, but one must not desire impossibilities."
So they were torn into stripes and shreds; and it seemed as if, now, all was over with the worn out linen, for it was hacked and soaked and baked; and what more it scarcely knew until it became fine white paper.
"Well, this is a surprise-a delightful surprise!" said the paper. "Now am I still finer than before; and of course I shall be written upon. Yes! Who can tell what glorious thoughts may be inscribed upon my leaves? This is, indeed, an unlooked for happiness!"
And so it turned out, truly, that the most beautiful tales and poetry were written upon the paper; and some of it came into the hands of a worthy pastor-that was a peculiar happiness; for many people listened to the words he had noted down, and they were so wise and so good that they made men wiser and better than they were before. A blessing seemed to rest upon the words written on this
"This is more than ever I ventured to dream of when I was a simple little blue flower growing in the field. How, indeed, could it have occurred to me that at a future time I should be the messenger of wisdom and of joy to mankind? It is almost inconceivable to me, and yet it is truly so. time, when I thought within myself, now, indeed, the song is o'er,' then did it speedily rise to a higher and better strain. Now, I shall doubtless go on my travels, and be sent throughout the world that all men may become acquainted with my
But the paper was not destined to set out on its travels,
for it was sent to the printing-press; and there all its writing: was printed in a book, or rather in many hundred books, so that an infinitely larger share of knowledge and amusement resulted from its circulation than if the written paper had been sent travelling round the world, when it would have been worn out before half its journey was accomplished.
"Well, this is truly a most sensible arrangement," thought the written paper; "never could such an idea have entered my imagination. Now am I left at home, and honoured almost like an aged grandfather, which in fact I am, of all those new books, and they will do so much more good in the world therefore was it that I could not be permitted to set out on my travels. I have, indeed, been kindly cared for by him who wrote the whole; and every word which flowed out of his pen has entered into my substance and become part of my very self. I am surely the very happiest of beings.
Then was the paper gathered in a bundle and thrown into a barrel which stood in the wash-house.
"After the completion of a work it is good to repose awhile,” said the paper, "it is well to collect one's thoughts now and then, and to meditate on that which dwells within. For the first time in my life I now begin to understand aright what I was intended for, and to know one's self is the truest progress. What may be about to befall me now I cannot tell, but hitherto each change has been an onward step. Onwards, ever onwards, is my destiny. This have I learned by past experience.'
And so it happened one day that the whole bundle of paper was taken out of the barrel and laid upon the hearth in order that it might be burned there, for it was thought a pity to sell it to the huckster for the purpose of wrapping up sugar and butter in its leaves. All the children in the house stood round about because they wished to see the paper burning; it flamed up magnificently, and afterwards were seen countless red sparks darting hither and thither, and one after the other going out so swiftly-so swiftly. Then cried out one of the little ones, "Come and see the children out of school!" and the last spark was the schoolmaster. It often seemed as if the last one was extinguished, but instantly another spark would gleam out, and then came the cry, "There goes the schoolmaster again." Yes, they were quite well acquainted with him; they only wished to know whither he went! We
shall come to know it, but they knew it not. All the old paper, the whole bundle, was laid upon the fire, and quickly did it kindle, "Uh, uh!" said the burning paper, and flickered up into clear bright flames. “Uh, uh!” It was by no means pleasant thus to consume away; but when the whole mass was lighted into one vast glowing flame it rose up so high into the air, higher far than the tiny blue flower ever could have aspired to do, and shone as the fine white linen never could have pretended to do in its most glossy days. That was fun indeed; and the children sang beside the dark dead ashes the old-fashioned rhyme,
The song is o'er."
But the little airy invisible beings spoke in another strain, saying, "The song is by no means o'er, its sweetest part but just begins."
"I know it, and am, therefore, still the happiest of beings." The children, however, could neither hear nor understand that; neither was it to be expected of them, for children are not intended to know everything.-HANS CHRIS. ANDERSEN.
1. Describe the flax in the field.
21. What was made from the worn-out
2. What cherished and refreshed the linen? lovely plant?
3. What is as good for a sweet little babe as this was for the flax?
4. What said the flax while blooming in the field?
5. But what discontented being interrupted him?
6. What said the grumbling twig? 7. Explain the old rhyme.
8. Did the flax admit that its career was over?
9. What convinced him that it was not over?
10. What apparent misfortune now be fel the flax?
11. Were its reflections of a desponding
12. What painful steps brought it to the spinning wheel?
13. What reflections comforted the trusting flax now?
14. What was the end of all this tearing and spinning?
15. Having become linen, was it not now more useful and happy?
16. Describe its condition now, with its state while growing in the field.
17. Who bought the piece?
18. What was done to it, and what made from it?
19. What now did the cheerful confiding flax say?
20. In what state were the linen garments after some years?
22. Was not this a step higher!
23. Into whose hands did some of the paper come?
24. What sort of words did the pastor write on the paper?
25. Read or repeat its reflections now? 26. Where was the written paper sent? 27. What said the manuscript on being left at home?
28. When thrown into the barrel as waste paper did the flax despair?
29. For what did this repose afford opportunity?
30. What were the flax's thoughts about the past changes in her lot and her future destiny?
31. What most severe trial awaited the
32. Why were the children gathered round the hearth?
33. What about the sparks?
34. What did one of the children cry? 35. What was the last spark called? 36. What did the children want to know about the schoolmaster?
37. Can you tell where he went, or in other words where sanctified affliction leads?
38. Was the song over now?
39. Did not the childreu think so?
41. Who will quote the words of Acts xiv. 22? and also of 2nd Cor. iv. 17?
THE Turkish bath is one of the greatest luxuries enjoyed by the Easterns. The rich have baths in their own houses, but they go to the public ones occasionally, to chat, or meet their friends; and the private baths being necessarily small, are incapable of accomodating more than six or eight persons at a time, so that on grand occasions, fasts, feasts, &c., the women are obliged to hire one of the public baths. Some large towns have a bath for the women, and another for the men, but the small ones admit the women on certain days, and the men on the intervening days: or the men from morning until noon, and the women from noon till sunset, which is the most usual arrangement.
We paid our fee-about eighteenpence, at the door, to an old Turk who was regaling himself with a pipe, and sipping coffee; and then passing through a narrow passage, we entered the outer apartment or entrance-chamber, which was spacious and surrounded by a platform, on which reclined, supported by cushions, and enveloped in large white towels, several persons who had undergone the process of parboiling -for the Turkish bath is certainly akin to it—and were now endeavouring to refresh themselves with sherbet, coffee, or smoking. In the centre of the paved floor was a very large marble basin,
"Where a spring
Of living waters from the centre rose,
Whose bubbling did a genial freshness fling."
Flowers were ranged round the fountain; and innumerable