WHY HEART-SHAPED LEAVES HAVE PITCHERS
 THE Valentine Princess was the one who first thought of sending valentines
as love messages.
She was the little school-mistress of the Brownie School, and always wore a
dainty apron cut from the pattern of a heart.
All through the month of February the little brownies were busy as bees with
scissors and paste and coloured papers, making the pretty valentines and
writing the love messages on them.
Then, just at nightfall on St. Valentine's Day, all the little brownies
tripped round to the doors in Brownie-land, rang the bells and left the
pretty valentines which they slipped beneath the doors and ran, ran, ran!
Oh, it was great fun, and I have heard that some of these valentines fell to
the earth-world below, and that is why the earth-children began making
valentines. It may be that you have found one beneath your door.
 Well, the Valentine Princess offered a gold ring to the little brownie
who would make the most beautiful valentine for the queen, and of course
every little brownie was anxious to get the prize.
There was one little brownie who was so very, very fat that all the other
little brownies called him Jumbo, and it seemed that he was more anxious
than any of the others to make the most beautiful valentine; so he worked
and worked and worked with scissors and brush and pretty papers, even while
the other brownies were out at play, and at last he made a valentine which
he thought was pretty enough to send to the queen.
When everyone had finished his valentine, though, the Princess herself could
not tell which was the most beautiful, because they were all so very pretty.
But then, a brownie never saw an ugly valentine, anyway, and I am quite sure
he would never make an ugly one to send away, any more than you would.
Oh, yes, of course, I know that down in the earth-world you will sometimes
 valentines in the stores, unless you turn your head and walk
quickly away, as a brownie would do.
Well, what do you suppose happened to the little fat Jumbo brownie and his
That very day—St. Valentine's Day it was—he was hopping along
earth-world, visiting the flowers, when all at once he heard someone crying
close by his side, and when the little Jumbo brownie looked up he saw a
little fair-haired girl sitting on the front door-steps sobbing. And she
held a valentine in her hand.
"That is queer," thought the little Jumbo brownie. "I never knew before that
valentines would make an earth-child cry. I'll just take a peep."
So he slipped up very quietly behind the little girl and looked over her
shoulder. And then he shut his eyes—shut them very tight and turned
head. Can you guess why?
Yes, someone had sent the little girl an ugly valentine. I couldn't begin to
tell you how very ugly it was, and I am not
 surprised that the little brownie shut his eyes and hopped away so quickly.
It was the first ugly valentine he had ever seen, and he thought surely an
earth-child was like the brownies and would never send a valentine to anyone
unless it had birds and flowers and dainty little pictures with love verses
hidden beneath them—because a valentine is a love message, you know.
wondered and wondered.
And then, the first thing the little Jumbo brownie knew, there were tears in
his own eyes, because he felt so sorry for the little girl, and all in a
minute, what do you suppose he did?
While the little earth-child sat on the door-steps with her head buried in
 sobbing and sobbing, why, he slipped right up behind her
again, as softly as ever he could, and dropped his own beautiful valentine
right into her lap, and then skipped away in a hurry.
Now, don't you know the little girl was surprised and very happy when she
raised her head and saw the beautiful valentine?
But the little Jumbo brownie, what about him?
When he got back to fairyland it was just at nightfall, and all the other
little brownies were getting ready to take their prize valentines to the
queen. And he had given his away; so he had none to take—no love
So the little Jumbo brownie bowed his head and was very sorry, indeed!
Oh, dear, no! not sorry because he had given his valentine away to the
little earth-child—he was glad about that—but sorry because he
the Valentine Princess would not understand, and the fairy queen would
wonder where his love message was? That was what troubled him.
 But while he was walking slowly along with his head bowed down,—the
little Jumbo brownie was thinking so hard,—why, he walked right into
bank by the side of the road.
And then the little brownie laughed and laughed and laughed, and he said:
"There now! why not make a love message out of this clay? Why not?" And then
he laughed again.
So the little Jumbo brownie stooped down quickly and from a bit of the soft,
brown clay he rolled and modelled a most beautiful little pitcher. Then he
gathered a bunch of the pretty green heart-shaped leaves and tucked them
into the little brown pitcher; and the queen's love message was finished.
Now don't you think that was a most beautiful valentine? The queen smiled
and smiled when she saw it, and she said:
"This is quite the prettiest valentine that I ever saw. The little brown
pitcher is as dainty as dainty can be, and the heart-shaped leaves must mean
love, I am sure.
 How did you come to think about this pretty valentine, little Jumbo
Then the little brownie told about the earth-child he had found crying on
the door-steps, because someone had sent her an ugly valentine, and the
fairy queen said:
"Dear me! Can it be that the earth-children do not know how to make
beautiful valentines? We must give them your pattern this very day, little
So she hurried away with all the other brownies, and throughout the shady
dells and woods of the earth-world they planted the first heart-shaped leaf
plants, which mean love. And they did not forget to tuck away the pretty
brown pitchers, which the sweet-smelling heart-shaped leaf plant delights to
fill with fresh, cool water to keep her love leaves always green.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics