WHY FLOWERS HAVE BRIGHT COLOURS
 IF you had been in the Garden Beautiful late one moonlight night, you would
have heard the Lady Petunia, all dressed in a violet robe, tell such a
wonderful story that even the dewdrops nestled among her leaves to listen.
"Once upon a time," she said, "when the world was new, all flowers were
white, and none wore the bright coloured dresses we see them wear these
"The queen of the flowers was an exquisite white rose. She grew in the
centre of the garden, near the lake, and grouped around her were flowers of
every kind—pinks, nasturtiums, poppies, dahlias, lilacs, hyacinths,
daisies, daffodils, and many, many other kinds.
"But all, like the queen, were dressed in pure white.
"They loved the rose queen, because it
 was she who had taught them all
the wonderful secrets that they knew.
"She had shown them how to send forth their slender roots under the ground
for food to eat, and how to carry it up the stalks to the leaves and
"She had shown them, too, how to make the wonderful pollen dust of gold, and
even how to make the little seed cradles with the wee baby seeds tucked
"But one thing, the greatest thing of all, the rose queen could not tell
them; and that was how to ripen the wee seed babies and make them grow fat
and round and plump,—as an earth baby does, you know.
"For many days the rose queen bowed her head and thought and wondered over
this question. What could she do?
"It would be too bad if the baby seeds from none of the plants ever ripened
or grew any larger, for not even a little seed likes always to be a baby.
Then too, without well-ripened seed, soon there would be no flowers blooming
in the Garden Beautiful—because there would be no seeds to plant.
 "So, you see, that was enough to make the rose queen sorrowful, and for
nights and days she thought or dreamed of nothing else.
"At last she said, one day, to a little breeze fairy who was softly fanning
" 'Pretty breeze fairy, in all of your travels, have you heard of no
knows how flowers may ripen their seeds, and make them grow plump and
" 'I know how trees ripen their seeds, replied the little breeze
exchange their golden pollen dust with one another. I have often helped the
wind blow it from one tree to another.
" 'Perhaps that is the way flowers should ripen their seed babies, too.
would help you if I could, but when the wind blows it is so rough and strong
that I feel sure it would blow the dainty flower-cups all to pieces.
" 'Why do you not ask the bees to help you do this or the moths and
butterflies? They would be the very ones to help you out of your trouble,
and carry the pollen dust to and fro.'
 "Now the rose queen had often seen the bees and butterflies flitting by
the garden; but they never came near any of the flowers. So how could she
ask any of them to carry the golden pollen dust from flower to flower?
" 'I must get a message to these bees and butterflies somehow,' said
queen to herself. 'How shall I do it? '
"And then, the very next moment, a smile played over her beautiful face and
she said softly: 'Oh, now I know what we can do! I suppose bees and
butterflies are like the earth-children and like good things to eat.
" 'I will tell the flowers about my plan in the morning, and we will
sweet nectar juice and tuck it away, down in our flower cups, and then the
bees and butterflies will be sure to come to us for a taste.
" 'It is then I will ask them to help us exchange our golden pollen
one another—roses with roses, violets with violets, pinks with
is the way.'
"And so the rose queen fell asleep, happy in her new-made plan, because she
 how happy it would make the flowers next day when they heard that
she had at last thought of a way to make their seed babies ripen and grow.
"And, indeed, they were very happy when they heard about it, and they began
at once, and worked from early morning until night, storing away delicious
nectar juice for their visitors, the bees and butterflies, whom they were
expecting very soon.
"But alas! though the nectar juice was of the sweetest and very best, none
of the bees or the dainty butterflies stopped to take even a sip, and
because of this the beautiful rose queen was more sorrowful than ever, and
the flowers drooped low over the cradles where the young seed babies lay
sleeping, sick and pale.
"It seemed that they would have to die after all, since neither the bees nor
butterflies would come to help them exchange their golden pollen dust, and
this alone was all that could possibly save their lives. "Surely something
must be done, or very soon the Garden Beautiful would be without
lovely flowers, since there would be no more seeds to grow up in place of
the flowers that withered.
" 'Iíll tell you,' said the little breeze, who lingered again by the
the rose queen. 'Why do you not put out signal flags of red and blue and
other bright colours?
" 'All of your flowers in the Garden Beautiful are dressed in white,
perhaps bees and butterflies cannot see white.
" 'Now if you will put out brightly-coloured signal flags, I am sure
and butterflies will come, because they like bright colours, and when they
find out that you have made sweet nectar juice for them they will be only
too glad to keep on coming.
" 'Try it,' laughed the little breeze, 'and while the bees and
are busy sipping nectar juice, the flowers can be sprinkling golden pollen
dust over their bodies and wings so they will be sure to leave some with
every new flower they call on.
'"The fair rose queen laughed merrily
 with the little breeze, as he talked, and then she said:
" 'But wait; before you go, tell me, pray, where I am to get these
brightly-coloured signal flags you speak of? I have none.'
" 'Oh, the sunbeam fairies can bring you every colour of the
orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet,' replied the mischievous little
breeze, tickling her leaves into fresh laughter as he flew away.
"Then the happy rose queen called quickly to a sunbeam fairy who danced that
" 'Come and help me, shining fairy of the sky,' she said. ' Bring to
pray thee, many brightly-coloured flags. I would have them of the lovely
rainbow colours, so beautiful to look upon.'
" 'Flags?' replied the shining sunbeam fairy, pausing in his dance. 'I
no flags, fair queen, but I can bring you something better—dresses in
the rainbow colours, bright and beautiful to look upon.'
"So away he hastened to the palace of the sun, leaving the dear rose queen
 and when he returned there came with him many, many tiny
sunbeam fairies, each one heavily laden, and oh, the beautiful, beautiful
dresses they brought with them! Soon all the flowers had changed their robes
of spotless white for garments of the brightest rainbow hues—of blue
and violet and orange and their tints and shades.
"Very soon there was a wonderful change in the Garden Beautiful and the rose
queen's cheeks flushed a delicate pink when she bowed her head in thanks to
the kind little sunbeam fairies.
"And it really happened just as the little breeze fairy said it would.
"Very soon the bees and butterflies caught sight of the Garden Beautiful,
decked out in its wonderful new colours, and over the old wall they flew in
troops and visited every flower.
"Best of all, they liked the nectar juice so much that they came again and
again, and, fluttering here and there, they carried with them the golden
pollen dust which was needed so much to help the seed babies grow.
 "So, day by day, the flowers worked to keep a store of nectar juice,
and day by day the bees and butterflies kept coming, until by and by the
seed babies were ripe and plump and strong, and the fair rose queen knew the
Garden Beautiful would remain as it had been—fresh and beautiful every
"And now," said the Lady Petunia, "my story is ended, and you know why it is
that the flowers wear bright-coloured dresses.
"True, a few of them still wear white in memory of the fair rose queen, but
by their perfume the bees and butterflies have learned that they keep sweet
nectar juice for their friends and visit them just the same.
"Some of these white flowers bloom only at night when the bees and
butterflies have gone to bed. But the little gray moths that flit about in
the starlight know how sweet they smell, and visit them often—sipping
nectar and carrying the golden pollen dust from flower to flower."
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