N the good old days, many many thousands of years ago, you
must know that this world was inhabited by various little
fairies, gnomes, elves, and such-like funny little
creatures; beasts could talk like rational human beings,
even better than most human beings can talk now-adays; and
in every flower there dwelt a little fairy, who sang sweet
songs, and in every tuft of grass little elves played to and
In those days there were no cities, roads, or houses; no big
human creatures erected big buildings, drained rivers, or
built railroads; everything was peaceful and quiet; wild
animals lived happily in the forests, for the little fairies
never dreamt of hunting or killing them for mere sport, and
the fairy flowers grew in luxurious splendour, for the wild
beasts did not pluck or cast them away.
In those days, somewhere in the world—I don't think I can
tell you exactly where, for it is such a very long time
ago—there stood in the midst of the forest a most
beautiful lake, surrounded on all sides by graceful rushes,
and covered with water-lilies and lotus. This lake was so
clear and beautiful that all the little fairies who dwelt in
the rushes and grasses round the lake used to come every
morning and sit on the water-lilies, while they looked at
themselves in the waters of the lake, which reflected their
dainty little forms like a mirror.
It was a very truthful mirror too, for the little
goldfishes, who dwelt in the lake, gave their opinion very
impartially as to the beauty of the various little faces
 peeped down at them from above. Sometimes they would
argue down below as to the merits of one or the other
beauty; then there was great splashing and disturbance in
the waters, which amused the little fairies very much, and
they would all shout as loudly as possible—
"Goldfish, goldfish, living under the lake, who will the
prize for beauty take?"
Of course you may imagine that opinions on this point among
the little goldfish differed very much, and yet there were
some days when they were absolutely unanimous, and
those were the days when the beautiful fairy princess,
Narcissa, came to the lake, and kneeling on one of the lily
leaves, looked down into the clear waters, while she combed
her golden hair and sang in the sweetest of voices—
"Goldfish, goldfish, tell me where
Is the fairest of the fair?"
Then all the little fish and all the little sprites would
skip out of the water merrily, and sing with one accord—
"Of beauteous fairies 'neath the skies,
Princess Narcissa takes the prize."
And Narcissa would go home happy and proud, with her head
held well erect, for all around her the birds and
beasts would do her homage. Wherever she walked the little
birds would flutter round her to whisper sweet words of
praise in her ears; the little frogs and rabbits would stop
in their play to watch her pass; and all the
little gnomes and grass elves would march before her
in state, as if she were a queen.
Now I am sorry to say all this praise and admiration
had a very bad
 effect on Narcissa. She grew haughtier and
more conceited every day, and, in consequence idler and
more disagreeable at home, so that her father and mother
were made quite unhappy by
their daughter's vanity, till at last it became almost
unendurable. She used to go out morning, noon, and night,
and sit for hours on the water-lily leaves, looking
at her own reflection in the water, and hearing the
waves, the winds, the flowers, the beasts, all murmur
in concert: "Princess Narcissa is the most beautiful of
all the fairies in the world!"
One day, when her poor fairy mother was thus left sitting
all alone in her beautiful palace among the bulrushes, after
seeing her daughter go off on her usual journey, she
suddenly caught sight, near the edge of the lake, of a
lovely little cluster of forget-me-nots. So sweet and modest
did they look, and withal so exquisitely lovely in colour,
that she sighed regretfully, and said, "Oh, how I wish I
had another, a tiny blue-eyed daughter, modest and sweet,
who would be a comfort to me."
Now the Fairy Queen, who always hears the wishes of all her
subjects, heard the poor mother's cry, and shortly after
presented her with a nice little daughter, with lovely
 golden curls all round her tiny head, and such beautiful
blue eyes that looked so sweetly out into the world, that
her mother and father were almost
beside themselves for joy, and named her "Forget-me-not,"
because she resembled those dainty little
The haughty Princess Narcissa
did not take very much notice of
her baby sister just at first; she was
too much occupied with herself and her
own beauty, inventing new garments for
her little person, and new jewellery
for her hair. She used to tease and
torment her occasionally, though,
especially when Forget-me-not
began to grow up, compelling her to dress her
hair, fasten her dress, and altogether using her as a sort
of servant to help to administer to her own adornment. But
Forget-me-not was so modest and unassuming, and really
looked upon her older sister as a creature of such exquisite
loveliness that she gladly did all that Narcissa wished,
and even tried to invent all sorts of pretty new
contrivances to further enhance her beauty.
This went on for some time; Forget-me-not was growing up
very rapidly, and every day she seemed to grow in beauty, as
well as in goodness; her hair was now long and
glistened like gold, her skin was fine and transparent, as
only fairy skin can be, and her eyes were tenderer and bluer
than the little flowers after whom she was named. Her father
and mother were now perfectly happy, for their little
daughter was all the comfort in the world to them. When
Narcissa had finished her toilet in the morning, and gone
off to the enchanted lake, followed by her crowd of
admirers, little Forget-me-not would go about the house
singing merrily, chatting to her father, and helping her
mother to spin and sew.
The little creature had never been outside her father's
garden, she had never seen any one, except her father, and
mother, and sister, so she really did not know how beautiful
 she was, for the latter had no eyes for any one save
herself, and the former had such a dread and horror of
vanity creeping up in their darling's heart, that they were
particularly careful never to speak on the subject before
One day, when Forget-me-not was running about in the garden,
she saw a beautiful bright-eyed butterfly lying on the
grass. She drew near on tip-toe to have a better
look, when the butterfly spread out his wings and flew off
to the other end of the garden. Forget-me-not ran after him,
for she had never seen such a lovely creature before—all
blue and silver, with great dark spots, like eyes.
Hardly had she, however, come near enough to him, when
the butterfly again flew off; this time far to the other
side of the garden gates. Forget-me-not was tempted to
follow him, and so she ran on and on till she saw him
apparently settle on a water-lily leaf, and then disappear
from her view.
Little Forget-me-not, who had now reached the edge of
the lake, was determined to see where the beautiful
butterfly had disappeared to, so, treading
softly on the lotus and lily leaves, she
looked round her, and then into the clear
waters of the lake, but no butterfly could she see;
only as she was looking a whole crowd of little
goldfish and water sprites (things she had never seen in all
her life before) rose from out of the water, and, forming a
circle round the leaf on which she stood, they bowed low
before her, and sang in the sweetest chorus she had ever
"Forget-me-not, lovely blue-eyed Forget-me-not,
Fairest far of all the lot."
She could hardly tear herself away from them, so beautifully
did they all sing, till finally a little goldfish swam
quite close to her, and asked her if she would honour
him by getting on his back, and allowing him to swim with
her to shore, which she did, as she did not like to wound his
 feelings by refusing so courteous an offer, but she felt
very frightened at this altogether now mode of locomotion,
and also very upset and shy at being suddenly so surrounded
and admired by a crowd of unknown beings.
When she got to shore she was still so nervous that she
quite forgot to thank the goldfish and water sprites for
their lovely music, and ran home as fast as her fairy legs
could carry her, and into her mother's arms, who was very
much upset when she heard the whole story, for she felt that
evil would come of this if Narcissa were to know.
The next day Narcissa got up and dressed, or rather made
Forget-me-not dress her as usual; she was not yet tired of
all the admiration her beauty always roused whereever
she passed, and she still loved as dearly as ever to
gaze at her own reflection in the lake, and provoke its
inhabitants into songs of praise. On this particular
morning she had made herself look lovelier than ever, and
she stepped out of her mother's garden, anxiously peering
round for the squirrels, who always greeted her approach
joyfully, and escorted her to the edge of the lake with many
a bow of
admiration and envy. However, this morning the squirrels
were not to be seen, she could hear them in the distance
holding an animated discussion, but not one of the little
faces peeped down at her, and Narcissa thought it very
strange that they should think other matters more
interesting than the sight of her.
She ran down to the lake, and stepped on the broad
water-lily leaves, then sitting on one of the pink
blossoms the little vain fairy peeped down at her
dainty image. How pretty she was! with her fairy
figure, her milk-white skin and rosy lips, her graceful arms
bent over her head, while she combed her golden
hair with a pearl comb, while her garments,
 made of moon-beams, shone like silver, and made her appear
like a bright jewel in the heart of the lotus flower.
Very soon a large crowd of gold and silver fish had gathered
round her, and funny round eyes and gaping mouths peered at
her from the green depths below. But instead of the usual
chorus of admiration with which they usually greeted her,
she found herself apparently the object of an extraordinary curiosity.
The fishes appeared
to be whispering to each other, then
looking at her with their funny wise heads held on one
side, till Narcissa could bear the suspense no longer, and
she sang in her sweetest tones—
"Goldfish, goldfish, tell me where,
Is the fairest of the fair?"
Then, to her horror and dismay, a mischievous-looking little
water sprite rose to the surface and said—
"Although Narcissa very beauteous be,
Forget-me-not is fairer far than she."
Then the whole chorus of fishes echoed—
"Yes, Forget-me-not, little blue-eyed Forget-me-not,
is fairer far than she."
Narcissa could hardly believe her own ears. Forget-me-not!
ugly little Forget-me-not! Why, she had never
been outside her mother's garden! The fishes could
never have seen her, and if they had, why, surely there was
no comparison between the lovely Narcissa, more beautiful
 than the Fairy Queen herself, and this tiny, unpretentious
little sister of hers.
And yet the goldfish would keep on
"Have you seen Forget-me-not,
Fairest far of all the lot?"
Narcissa went ashore,
and in a rage picked up some pebbles and
pelted the fishes and water sprites with
them, but they did not care;
they dived down to the very bottom of the lake and
re-appeared again, still singing—
"Forgot-me-not, lovely Forget-me-not."
The enraged little fairy ran off as
fast as she could. As she passed the rushes where all the
frogs had congregated she heard them croaking—
"Little Forget-me-not with blue eyes grand—Quack, quack, quack.
Is loveliest in Fairyland—Quack, quack, quack."
Through the woods she ran, where her friends, the squirrels,
always used to pay her homage; now they were running up and
down the trees in a great state of excitement, and shouting
to each other—
"Have you seen Forget-me-not, the loveliest of all the lot?"
This was too much for Narcissa altogether. She rushed
through her mother's garden, up the steps, to where little
Forget-me-not sat spinning a dress of spiders' webs. She was
quite startled when she saw her sister rush in in so
frantic a manner. Narcissa took hold of her hand, told her
to leave her spinning and come with her.
Little Forget-me-not was so accustomed to do as she was told
that she obeyed, and followed her sister, though she felt
very frightened. On the two fairies ran, Narcissa
 dragging her little sister after her, till they came to an
old dried-up well, which led down to the centre of the
"Now," said Narcissa, "I have dropped my spindle in this well,
and cannot finish my
spinning; you must jump down and fetch it for me."
"But," said little Forget-me-not, "the well is so deep;
mother says it has no bottom. I should not know where to
look for your spindle."
"If you don't jump down immediately and do as you are told
I will throw you in, for I am stronger than you," said Narcissa,
and her eyes glittered with rage so that she looked quite
What was poor little Forget-me-not to do? She was all
alone with her wicked sister, and no chance for any one to
come and help her, so she thought of her dear mother
as she stood one moment hesitating on the brink of the well;
then, suddenly Narcissa gave her a push, and down she
fell—down, down, down. It was pitch dark round her; she
seemed to be floating in absolute space, and the last thing
she remembered as she lost consciousness in her terror, was,
high up above, a little speck of light, and Narcissa's
wicked little face peering down at her and laughing
And so she fell lower and lower yet, the darkness grew more
and more intense, and then all of a sudden a ray of light
began to penetrate from a long way down below; this
little thin streak of light encroached more and more upon
the darkness. Little Forget-me-not re-opened her eyes,
and suddenly found herself in full daylight on the edge of
another well, with tall, over-hanging trees round her;
she clambered up and
looked round, she was in a strange part of the world, that
was very evident, curiously shaped trees and plants
 surrounded her, flowers she had never seen before, but
still they were trees and flowers, and as such Forget-me-not
was not frightened at them, but still
she did not dare venture through the thick masses of
undergrowth, through which even her fairy-like little form
could not have always found a passage.
She felt very lonely
and miserable, and longed for her dear mother, and her own
familiar flowers; this was a very strange country, where
perhaps she never would meet a friend who would be kind to
her, and take her home. Poor little fairy, she sat down and
cried, till the great sobs shook her little form, and her
heart ached as if it would break.
Suddenly she heard a shrill voice quite close to her,
calling her by her name,
"Forget-me-not, Forget-me-not, why do you cry?"
The little fairy, looked up in wonder, and there, standing
before her, was the funniest little old woman she ever saw,
her face was such a mass of wrinkles that you could not see
any of the features, the eyes were hidden by deep furrows
and ridges, the mouth appeared like a long narrow slit, only
the nose, a very big hook nose, was so prominent and long
that it quite frightened poor little Forget-me-not.
Her head was very huge, and seemed much too heavy for the
small shrivelled body, all bent as if over-weighted with
age. She had large bony hands and feet, with long
nails like a bird's claws, and there she stood, blinking at
the pretty little fairy, like an old hawk staring at a
"Why do you cry?" the old woman repeated impatiently,
as poor little Forget-me-not seemed unable to answer, but
only stared at her in fear and astonishment.
"Oh," sobbed the poor little fairy, "I am so lonely and so
miserable; my sister pushed me down a well, and I have
fallen so deep down that now I don't the least bit know
where I am, and my poor dear mother at home must be crying
after me, and wondering where I am, and I don't
 remember the way I came here, so I cannot go back. Dear,
good, kind fairy, if you are a fairy, take me back to my
mother, and I will do anything in the world to serve and
help you if I can."
"I don't know that I want to take you back to your mother,"
the old fairy said, "and I am sure you can be of no
possible use to me, so I don't see why I should trouble my
head about you at all."
"But l can spin and sew for you," Forget-me-not said
eagerly, noticing the funny old green rags in which the old
woman was clad, "and I can cook most dainty dishes, and
scrub the floors, and dress your hair, in fact, I can make
myself most useful about a house, and like doing all kinds
"H'm," said the ugly old fairy, "I have been looking
out for a young servant for some time, and you do seem
pretty active and willing" . . . "well," she said, "if you
will come with me and be my maid, attend to my household and
look after me, I will undertake to help and protect you.
Will you agree to that?"
"But," said little Forget-me-not, "that will never do. I
have no other wish but to go back to my dear mother, and go
on living my own quiet happy life, and if I go to be your
servant, what use is all protection in the world to me,
while I know my dear ones at home are mourning for me, and
think that I am dead?"
"Well, you can please yourself," said the little old woman,
"I have told you under what conditions I will help
and protect you, if they don't suit you you
can leave them alone, or rather, I
will leave you alone, for I am busy,
and don't mean to stand here talking with
you any longer. If you change your mind,
clap your hands three times, and
you will see me again. Good-bye."
Saying which, the old fairy hobbled off,
 leaning on her heavy stick, and laughing maliciously at
poor little Forget-me-not, who was left more desolate and
lonely than before.
Evening was drawing on rapidly, the forest around grew
darker and darker, every moment the poor little fairy began
to feel very frightened. She heard strange sounds
around her, and great luminous eyes seemed to be staring at
her from out the darkness. The moon now rose and shed a soft
mysterious light on the strange landscape, and curious
little beings, grass-elves and wood-nymphs, came out,
skipping and dancing merrily round the now terrified little
form. She began to feel that if she spent a whole night
here by herself she would die with fright. If only her
dear mother could hear her and come to her rescue, or even
if the malicious old fairy would be here to keep her
company. She felt that anything would be better than stay
alone a moment longer, so she clapped her little hands
three times, and in a moment, as if she had
sprung out of the earth, there stood the funny old
woman in her green rags, leaning on her stick. "Oh, take me
away from here!" poor Forget-me-not cried.
"I will be your servant and do anything you like, but I
cannot stay here any longer by myself. I should die
"Very well," said the old fairy; "you must come with me to
my palace, but remember, you are to do
everything I tell you, and help me
to spin, sew, and cook, and to reward
you l will help you and give you shelter."
 "Well, then, you must help me now to let my mother know
that I am quite safe, and will come back to her as soon as I
The old fairy waved her stick three times over her head, and
a huge frog carne jumping apparently from nowhere, and
waited for orders.
"Send any message you like," the old fairy said, "and
this frog will convey it to your mother before daybreak."
"Please, Mr. Frog," said Forget-me-not, "go to my dear
mother and tell her that I am still alive. Narcissa pushed
me down the well, but a kind fairy has rescued
me, and I am going to be her little servant until she
"Croak, croak," said the frog, and disappeared from view.
"Now," said the old fairy, "you must come home with me at
once, and make the beds for the night. My son will be
waiting for me, and you must help to make everything
comfortable for him at home."
She again waved her stick, and presently two bats came
flying along, each carrying a broomstick. The old fairy
mounted the one, and told Forget-me-not to get on to the
other and follow her.
Away she flew, high up over the trees. Forget-me-not
felt very frightened and uncomfortable,
as she had never travelled on
a broomstick before. However, the
journey was not a very long
one, and presently the two fairies
landed opposite a most gorgeous
palace, made entirely of glass.
Through the walls one could see the long
suites of exquisite rooms, with crystal domes
and golden pillars. But not a soul was
visible anywhere, neither in the palace nor
in the beautiful moonlit grounds, the whole
palace glittering in the moonlight, surrounded with
gigantic trees and exquisitely-scented flower
 beds, wore a fearfully deserted look, and Forget-me-not
wondered more and more about the curious old fairy who went
about in rags, and owned such a magnificent though solitary
abode. As she stepped off her broomstick and helped her
mistress to alight she caught sight, in one of the gorgeous
halls, of a sumptuously-laid-out feast, beautiful gold and
silver dishes filled with the rarest fruits, and wine in
diamond goblets. And there, alone, having a lonely
sat the handsomest fairy prince she could imagine.
Little Forget-me-not could not take her eyes off him, he
had such a lovely face, though he looked very dejected and
melancholy in his loveliness.
"That is my son," said the old fairy. "I am very proud
of him, as he is the handsomest prince in all fairyland,
but I don't want him to marry, as then, of course,
he would have to leave me. That is why I won't allow a
living thing to come anywhere near my palace, for fear
they should captivate his fancy, and put thoughts of
marriage into his head. As for a bird, I won't have one near
the place, as they will chirrup of nothing else but love and
home. I have had no servant or attendant entirely on that
account, and have been obliged to go about in rags, and eat
nothing but nuts and fruit, as I had no one to spin, or sew,
or cook for me.
Bats and frogs are the only creatures I will
tolerate, as I don't think there is the faintest chance of
my son falling in love with one of them.
I have an old bat's skin
somewhere up in my room, you will have to wear that all
day, while my son is at home, you may only take it off
for three hours after midnight, as then he always goes to
sleep, and there is no fear of his seeing you."
Little Forget-me-not did not at all relish the idea of going
about all day with a horrible old bat's skin on her, but
of course she could say nothing, she had to do as her
mistress told her.
 The old fairy hobbled up the grand glass staircase, and
presently returned carrying the skin. She made
Forgetme-not put it on, and her own mother would not have
recognized in this old gray bat her pretty blue-eyed little
The old fairy then told her that she might go to bed and
rest for the remainder of the night, she would find her room
at the top of one of the towers, and little Forget-me-not,
now thoroughly tired and worn out, went up a long
winding staircase, till she came to a nice little room, with
a clean bed of straw, where she lay herself down, and
immediately dropped into a long heavy sleep, where she
forgot all about the well, the bats, the broomsticks, the
little old woman, and even the handsome fairy prince.
The next morning she was up quite early, dressed herself
in her bat's skin, and went downstairs. She cooked
the breakfast for the prince and his mother, and all
day she was kept busy, sewing and spinning new
dresses in place of the fairy's old rags.
She had to wait at all the meals too,
and oh! it made her quite miserable
to see the handsome prince sitting at table, looking so
dejected and lonely, with no one to talk
to, except his ugly old mother; there seemed to
be such longing in his
eyes when he looked round him, and saw
nothing but ugly beings,
frogs, bats or spiders; even the new servant
was only another old bat, his eyes seemed to quite ache for
something beautiful to look at, and his ears for sweet
sounds. Forget-me-not quite
 longed to tell him of all the lovely
things in nature, of the birds, the squirrels, and the
butterflies, and also of all the beautiful fairies, of
which she herself was one,
but she was pledged to the old woman, and was
never allowed to take off her disfiguring garment, so she
was obliged to hold her peace.
Day after day passed off in solitude for little
Forget-me-not, her mistress was very kind to her in her
old grim way, but watched over all her movements most
rigidly, for fear she should ever speak to the prince.
At night only, for three hours after midnight, was the little
fairy, allowed to wander freely about the castle and the
park, unencumbered by the heavy skin, clad in her
pretty dress of cobwebs; she would then run down to the
edge of a little neighbouring stream, and gather her little
namesakes to weave pretty garlands for her hair, then she
would sit on the bank and talk to the frogs and bats, who
were her only companions; she had taken a great fancy to
them, and loved to hear their quaint talk.
They all told
her how sorry they were for the poor prince, of whom his
mother was so jealous, how they had all hoped when she
came to be a little servant, that he would see her, fall
in love with her, and
marry her, and so change this gloomy, solitary
place into one of festivities and gaieties; but,
of course, with a badly fitting bat's skin on her,
the thing was impossible, and the old fairy,
was so watchful all day that it was quite
impossible for any one to have a few words
with the prince, she only relaxed her vigilance
when he was asleep, and then she snored
Forget-me-not listened to all this, and felt more
miserable than ever to think that the handsome fairy
prince, with whom she was now very much in love, should
never have a chance of even knowing there was such a thing
as love and beauty in the world; she asked her friend, the
chief bat of the establishment, if he could not help her in
any way, while her old mistress was asleep.
"Well," said the bat, "if you like to get on
my back I can take you into the Prince's room one
night, but then he is fast asleep, so I
don't know of what use that can be to you."
But Forget-me-not was so desirous
of seeing the Prince when his mother
was not there, that she told the bat she
would not mind his being asleep,
would he please take her in at his window and let her see
The old bat consented. It was too late then, but on the
following night he agreed to wait for Forget-me-not
under the old cedar tree. The little fairy could
hardly contain her impatience all day. When midnight
struck, and the old woman and her son had both gone to
sleep, she ran up to her little room and took out her
pretty fairy dress, then dressed her beautiful golden
hair, and having placed a garland of forget-me-nots on her
head, she anxiously awaited her friend, the bat, under
the cedar tree.
He was punctual to the minute, and Forget-me-not, having
mounted on his back, he deposited her on the sill of the
Prince's window. She stepped in, and saw the handsome fairy
prince lying asleep, looking, oh! so lonely and
dissatisfied. She went up to him and kissed him gently,
and a tear fell from her eye on to his pillow, where it
changed into a brilliant diamond. Near it she laid the
wreath of forget-me-nots from her hair, then stole gently
out of the room again and regained her own couch without,
fortunately, disturbing her old mistress, who was snoring
louder than ever.
The next morning the Prince awoke feeling that he had had a
most beautiful dream. He dimly remembered seeing a little
form of exquisite beauty fly in at his window, come up
close to him and kiss him, and then . . . . . .
but surely it was not a dream, for there, on his pillow, was
the wreath of forget-me-nots she wore, and near it
 the bright tear of love and sympathy which her fair eye had
let fall on his forehead, and which had changed into a most
brilliant diamond. He took both up and fastened them inside
his doublet; then, as it was still very early in the
morning, he stole on tiptoe down the stairs, out of the
palace, and through the park, into the great world, beyond
the crystal gates, which he had never dared to cross
before. A new feeling which he could not explain seemed
to put an altogether different life into him. Everything
around him seemed endowed with unwonted beauty; the great
trees waved their majestic branches over his head and
whispered words he had never understood before, and when he
looked up, there among the boughs, he saw two lovely little
beings he had never been allowed to see before, sitting
quite close together and chirping sweet words to each
He seemed to know directly what they
were saying: "Love and beauty"
was what they were talking of, and that was what
the fairy prince
was now in quest of—"love and beauty."
He was determined to wander until he
found the owner of the forget-me-not wreath and the diamond
tear. He knew she could not be anywhere
within his mother's palace or garden, so he had set off,
no matter for how long a distance, until he had once
more seen the bright blue eyes which had appeared to him
in his dream.
On and on he went; he did not know himself how far he had
gone, or how long he had been on the road. He felt no
fatigue, all the world was so new to him, and so
beautiful. In the forest the nimble squirrels and
gaily-coloured birds; in the fields the bright-eyed
butterflies, in the grass the tiny elves and fairies, in the
waters the jewelled fishes, all were a source of wonder and
admiration to him, so beautiful were they all, and yet not
one so perfect as the little fairy being whom he had only
seen in his dream.
At last, one day, after long, long wanderings, he came to
the very lake near which Narcissa and her mother and father
still dwelt. As he was beginning to feel very tired, he sat
down on the reed-covered bank and looked down with
delight at a cluster of forget-me-nots close to him,
which so strongly reminded him
of the bright blue eyes in his dream.
He began to fear that he
should never see her; that, perhaps, she did
not really exist.
Suddenly he looked up, and coming
down the path, he saw a lovely little fairy,
walking dejectedly along. She was
very beautiful, though not quite so beautiful as his dream.
She had golden hair also, and blue eyes, but they were not
the same blue eyes he had wandered all this long way to see.
Narcissa, for it was she, had never ceased to come to the
edge of the lake, and never ceased to look at herself in the
waters and ask the goldfish who was the most
beautiful fairy in the land, but the goldfish had never
ceased to say—
"Although Princess Narcissa very beauteous be,
Little Forget-me-not, far away, is more beautiful than she."
That is why she looked so dejected, for she was still so
vain that she hated the idea that Forget-me-not should still
be alive and still be thought more beautiful than she. The
Prince looked at the fairy figure in admiration as she trod
gracefully on the large lily leaves, then, sitting on a pink
lotus, began to comb her golden hair.
Presently a whole row of little goldfish and water sprites
put their little heads out of the water, and, looking
critically at the fairy, began to sing gaily—
"Although Princess Narcissa very beauteous be,
Little Forget-me-not, far away, is more beautiful than she."
Then the Prince knew that they must mean his own
little fairy, the lovely being that he had seen
once, and immediately learnt to love, and in search of
whom he had wandered from the other end of the world.
He heard Narcissa asking eagerly—
"And tell me, Goldfish,
where is Forget-me-not, who you say is a thousand times
more beautiful than I?"
"She is there, standing near you!
Welcome, Forget-me-not, the most beautiful in all
The Prince looked round in amazement, astonished that this
lovely being should have been so near him without his
knowing it, but he saw no one, only an ugly old bat,
whom he dimly recollected having seen a long time ago in
his mother's palace.
Poor little Forget-me-not!—When she had perceived the
consequences of her midnight adventure, and had seen her
dear Prince go forth in quest of her, she resolved to
follow him wherever he went. On and on she had wandered,
always after him, until she felt so tired and footsore she
could hardly walk, till at last she also had arrived near
the well-known lake, and had seen her sister, Narcissa, and
her old friends, the goldfish, and all the old familiar
places; yet she had no eyes for all these, she only thought
of her dear prince, and longed to throw off her ugly
disguise, and tell him that she was his own little fairy,
who had kissed him in the night, and taught him the
meaning of love and beauty; yet she dared not, she was
pledged to the old fairy not to take off her disguise, and
was too frightened of her to break her word. Besides, if
Narcissa were to see her now,
surely she would throw her into the water and kill her. So
she had to stand by, and feel that the Prince was looking at
her, and did not recognize her. Narcissa did,
one moment; the eyes of envy and vanity are so sharp. She
 looked round when
the goldfish had spoken, and immediately,
under the bat's skin, she spied
her little blue-eyed sister.
Without a moment's hesitation she rushed at her, and giving
her a violent push, threw her into the water.
The Prince, who had learnt to love all living creatures,
however mean and humble, could not bear to see even an old
bat drown, so he snatched hold of one of its
wings to help it swim to shore, when lo! the bat's skin
came right off, and in its place he was holding the lovely
being from his dream, she was again looking at him with
those bright blue eyes, he had never since forgotten. He
pulled her to shore, and she at last was happy in his arms.
Now, need I tell my little readers any more? Well!
perhaps they might like to hear that the old fairy mother,
though at first sorely vexed at her son's conduct, finally
obliged to give her consent to his marriage with
Forget-me-not, so there was a grand wedding in the palace
of glass, which henceforth became the abode of mirth and
gaiety. As for Narcissa, she was Forget-me-not's bridesmaid,
and it was a severe punishment to her for all her
wickedness, to hear the whole fairy world, yea even the
Queen herself, say joyfully—
"Yes, Forget-me-not, little blue-eyed Forget-me-not,
is the most beautiful fairy of the lot!"
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