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For the Children's Hour by  Carolyn S. Bailey

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THE DANDELION

"The Presbyterian."

ONCE upon a time, in a tiny green camp by the roadside, lived a soldier all alone. He had traveled a long way, from a dark underground country, bent on see- [197] ing the world. The first thing he saw was a broad field full of waving banners; and he thought: "What a beautiful place I have come to!" and he pitched his tent among the green grasses.

The rain drop elves saw how tired and dirty he was from his long journey northward, and they soothed him with stories, and refreshed him with a shower bath. Through the clouds came the sunbeam fairies, bringing him a handsome uniform of green and gold and quiver of golden arrows. Then the soldier was very happy and smiled at the passers-by, cheering everybody with his sunny face.

By and by spring went away over the hilltops. The birds finished building their nests, and the butterflies and grasshoppers came to herald the summer. Then the soldier began to feel tired, and he knew that he was growing old. His gay uniform had faded, and his golden arrows had changed to silver, and the wind fairies shot them far away. So the soldier crept down among the green grasses, and his little camp was left empty.

But everywhere his arrows fell there blossomed bright, golden flowers, and the children called them "dandelions."


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