C. M. L. Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen.
 THE flax was in blossom; it had pretty little blue
flowers, even more delicate than the moth's wings. The
sun shone on it, the raindrops fell on it and moistened
it, and it grew prettier every day.
"The people say that I look unusually well," said the
Flax, "and that I am fine and long, and will make a
good piece of linen. How well off I am! How the
and the rain refreshes one! I am the
happiest of all beings."
"Yes, yes," said the fence post, "but you don't know
the world; I do." And then he creaked out sadly:
"Snip, snap, snurre,
The song is done."
"No; it is not done," said the Flax. "To-morrow the
sun will shine, or the rain will fall—it matters not to
me. I feel that I am growing; I am sure that I am in
blossom. I am the happiest of beings."
But one day some people came and roughly pulled up the
Flax—pulled it up by the roots. Then it was laid in
some water, as if they were going to drown it; and then
they put it over the fire, as if they were
to roast it. It was dreadful! "One cannot always have
pleasant times. One must suffer some to know what life
is," said the Flax.
But times grew worse. The Flax was moistened and
roasted, and broken and hackled; and other things were
done that it would not tell. Then it was put on the
spinning-wheel—whirr! whirr! whirr! round and round,
till it was quite dizzy.
"I have been very happy, even if I am not now," it
thought, in all its pain. "One must be contented with
the good one has enjoyed! Contented! Contented!" And
it kept saying that until it was put into the loom and
became a large, beautiful piece of linen. All the
Flax, to the last stalk, was used in making one piece.
"How remarkable this is!" said the Flax. "I could not
have believed it. The fence post was wrong when he
"The song is not done by any means. Now it is
beginning in earnest. If I have suffered, I have been
made into something! How strong and fine I am, and how
white! This is much better than being a plant. Now I
am cared for; the maid turns me over every morning, and
I get a shower bath every evening from the watering
pot. Even the clergyman's wife says I am the best
piece of linen in the whole parish. I cannot be
One day the linen was taken into the house and put
under the scissors. How it was cut and torn, and then
pricked with needles! That was not pleasant; but
twelve garments were made of it—a whole dozen!
"Just think," it said; "now something has really been
made of me! I shall be of some use in the world!"
 Years passed away, and now the garments were old
and worn—they could not hold together any longer.
"It must be over, some day," said one piece. "I would
gladly have held together a little longer, but I know
that we cannot last always."
They were now torn into pieces. They thought they were
to be thrown away, but they were ground into shreds,
and softened and boiled; and even they, themselves, did
not know all that was done to them. But at last they
became beautiful white paper!
"Now, what a surprise this is!" said the paper. "I am
even finer than before! How fortune favors me! I
shall be taken to the printer."
And really the most beautiful stories and verses were
printed upon it. The people read what was on the
paper, and became wiser and better.
"This is more than I ever imagined when I was bearing
little blue flowers in the fields. How could I know
that I should spread joy among men? Each time I have
been promoted from one pleasure and honor to another.
Each time, when I thought the song was done, it began
again in a higher and better way."