ORIGIN OF THE BROWN-EYED SUSANS, A KIND OF SUNFLOWER
 THERE was once a little red dwarf named Evil Eye, who lived within the heart
of the blossoms on the poison-oak vine.
It was said by all the fairies that this vine had never become poisonous
until Evil Eye chose it for his home, and it was his breath that really
poisoned the vine so that the earth-children are afraid even to touch its
His breath was poisonous, of course, because his heart was evil; and some
said Evil Eye had once got a piece of the wicked giant's black glass in his
eye, and ever since that time his eyes could see only the ugly, crooked
things in life, and never anything beautiful.
That was very sad I can tell you. Even the flowers looked ugly to Evil Eye.
The beautiful birds, the trees and water, the ferns
 and daisies, and the
blue, blue sky—all seemed ugly to Evil Eye.
But that was not all, for there was something about him even sadder than
that—every little girl or boy who was touched by Evil Eye became
too, and could see only ugly things, as he did, and never anything
They would begin at once to fight and quarrel and snarl like the little
street dogs, and that would please Evil Eye very much, because if he could
blow his breath into their faces then—why the little girl or the
was changed at once into a little black street dog, and ran growling and
snarling through the streets. And,—it was said,—his evil breath
changed more than one little boy and one little girl into snarling dogs.
Now the king of the country had heard about Evil Eye and sent his soldiers
out many times to see if they could capture him and lock him up in his
dungeon, because he was causing so much trouble in the land. But, though the
soldiers tried their best,
 they could never capture Evil Eye. This was
because of the invisible cap he carried around with him, and when he chose
to wear it, why, no one could see him!—not even with a spy-glass.
Now the king had a little girl, the Princess Susan, whom he loved better
than anything in his kingdom, and no wonder, since she was as good as she
Her hands were kind, her lips were kind, and her eyes saw only the
beautiful, so that not only the king himself but everyone loved the little
Princess Susan, with her long, golden hair and sparkling, brown eyes and
rosy, dimpled cheeks. She, somehow, reminded everyone of a flower, perhaps
because she was so pure and sweet.
But I forgot just now when I said everyone loved her. I should have said,
everyone loved her but one, and you can guess who that one was.
Yes! it was Evil Eye. He hated the little princess and her father too, and
he tried and tried to blow his breath upon the little Princess Susan,
because he knew it would
 grieve the king, and then, too, he wished to
change the little princess into a snarling snapping dog.
But how could that be? Anyone that is pure and sweet inside could never be
changed into a snarling, snapping dog. It is only those with an evil eye
that could be changed into anything ugly.
Anyway, Evil Eye could not see this, so he kept on trying and trying to get
close enough to the little golden-haired princess to touch and blow his
breath into her face, and one day the chance came.
The king was in the palace gardens playing "hide-and-seek," with the little
princess, and as she ran to hide behind a tree, Evil Eye slipped quickly up,
and with one puff his poisonous breath touched the fair cheek of the
Princess Susan, whom everyone loved,—and what do you think happened?
No, no, no! never was she changed into a snarling little dog, but when the
king ran up to the tree to find her, there was no little princess at all.
She was changed, right before his eyes, into a beautiful yellow
with sunny petals like gold, and a centre of dark, rich brown,—just
little girl's eyes.
Well, of course, the king was very sorrowful, for while he loved beautiful
new flowers, he loved his golden-haired daughter better, and for days and
days he sat by the dainty, yellow flower in the hope that it would change
again into his own little girl.
But no change came, except that the flower was busy making its seeds and
pollen dust and dancing in the sunshine and nodding to the breeze and
calling to the butterflies to taste of its nectar juice.
 So, you see, even as a flower the little Princess Susan was loving and
At last the king sent for the queen of the fairies to see if anything could
be done, and it was then that he learned that Evil Eye had become blind,
after blowing his breath into the face of the little brown-eyed princess,
and that he had gone back to the poisonous oak vine, afraid to stir from its
So you see, Evil Eye had come to sorrow, as all evil people do some day.
Now the queen of the fairies felt very sorry for the king, and she said to
"Cheer up, there is still hope for the little princess. Now that Evil Eye is
blind, he is very anxious for another pair of eyes, and we must get them for
him,—eyes that are pure and true, eyes that look only for the good and
beautiful in everything.
"If this can be done, Evil Eye will see the great wrong he has done the
little Princess Susan, and will be only too glad to change her back again to
her real self."
Now do you know, I believe the fairy queen could have changed the little
 back herself,—because a fairy queen can do anything, you know.
But I rather think she did not want to do it herself. She wanted Evil Eye to
right the wrong that he had done, because that was best for him, you see,
and would change him from an evil dwarf into a good dwarf.
Well, the king found out it was no easy matter to find anyone who would be
willing to give his eyes to the little red dwarf.
Eyes are so very precious that no one likes to part with them, especially if
they are good and pure, so it seemed the little Princess Susan was ever to
remain a flower after all.
But at last someone was found, and guess, if you can, who it was? Not the
fairy queen,—far from it!
It was only a little worm who had spent his life in the king's garden,
ploughing the earth soft about the plants and doing his best to help them
He liked to look on the bright coloured flowers, and the soft, white clouds,
and the dancing sunbeams,—they were very beautiful to him.
 But if he could make the king happy and give the little Princess Susan
back to him, why, that would be greater joy, don't you think?
And so the little worm gave his kind, pure eyes to the red dwarf, Evil Eye,
and sure enough, just as the fairy queen had said, no sooner had Evil Eye
got his new eyes, than he began to do kind things straight away, and
the very first thing he did was to change the dear little princess back to
her real self once more.
But the pretty brown-eyed Susans we still find blooming in old-fashioned
flower gardens, reminding us of the little Princess Susan and the very kind
little worm, who, since he has no eyes, and cannot see, still works away
beneath the damp ground, ploughing about the flower roots and helping to
make the world beautiful for others to see.
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