Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
OW you shall hear!
Out in the country, close by the roadside, there was a
country house; you yourself have certainly seen it.
Before it is a little garden with flowers, and a paling
which is painted. Close by it by the ditch, in the
midst of the most beautiful green grass, grew a little
Daisy. The sun shone as warmly and as brightly upon it
as on the great splendid garden flowers, and so it grew
from hour to hour. One morning it stood in full bloom,
with its little yellow sun in the center. It never
thought that no man would notice it down in the grass,
and that it was a poor despised floweret; no, it was
very merry, and turned to the warm sun, looked up at
it, and listened to the Lark caroling high in the air.
The little Daisy was a happy as if it were a great
holiday, and yet it was only a Monday. All the children
were at school, and while they sat on their benches
learning it sat on its little green stalk and learned
also from the warm sun and from all around how good God
is. And the Daisy was very glad that everything that is
silently felt was sung so loudly and charmingly by the
Lark. And the Daisy looked up with a kind of respect to
 the happy bird who could sing and fly, but it was not
at all sorrowful because it could not fly and sing
"I can see and hear," it thought; "the sun shines on
me, and the forest kisses me. Oh, how richly have I
Within the palings stood many stiff, aristocratic
flowers—the less scent they had the more they
flaunted. The peonies blew themselves out to be greater
than the roses, but size will not do it; the tulips had
the most splendid colors, and they knew that and held
themselves bolt upright that they might be seen more
plainly. They did not notice the little Daisy outside
there, but the Daisy looked at them the more, and
thought: "How rich and beautiful they are! Yes, the
pretty bird flies across to them and visits them. I am
glad that I stand so near them, for at any rate I can
enjoy the sight of their splendor!" And just as she
thought that—"keevit!"—down came flying the
Lark, but not down to the peonies and tulips—no,
down into the grass to the lowly Daisy, which started
so with joy that it did not know what to think.
The little bird danced round about it and sang:
"Oh, how soft the grass is! And see what a lovely
little flower with gold in its heart and silver on its
For the yellow point in the Daisy looked like gold, and
the little leaves around it shone silvery white.
How happy was the little Daisy—no one can
conceive how happy! The bird kissed it with his beak,
sang to it, and then flew up again into the blue air. A
quarter of an hour passed, at least, before the Daisy
could recover itself. Half ashamed, yet inwardly
rejoiced, it looked at the other flowers in the garden,
for they had seen the honor and happiness it had
gained, and must understand what a joy it was. But the
tulips stood up twice as stiff as before, and they
looked quite peaky in the face and quite red, for they
had been vexed. The peonies were quite wrong-headed: it
was well they could not speak, or the Daisy would have
received a good scolding. The poor little flower could
see very well that they were not in a good humor, and
that hurt it sensibly. At this moment there came into
 garden a girl with a great sharp, shining knife; she
went straight up to the tulips and cut off one after
another of them.
"Oh," sighed the little Daisy, "that is dreadful! Now
it is all over with them."
Then the girl went away with the tulips. The Daisy was
glad to stand out in the grass and to be only a poor
little flower; it felt very grateful; and when the sun
went down it folded its leaves and went to sleep and
dreamed all night long about the sun and the pretty
The next morning, when the flower again happily
stretched out all its white leaves, like little arms,
toward the air and the light, it recognized the voice
of the bird, but the song he was singing sounded
mournfully. Yes, the poor Lark had good reason to be
sad: he was caught, and now sat in a cage close by the
open window. He sang of free and happy roaming, sang of
the young green corn in the fields and of the glorious
journey he might make on his wings high through the
air. The poor Lark was not in good spirits, for there
he sat a prisoner in a cage.
The little Daisy wished very much to help him. But what
was it to do? Yes, that was difficult to make out. It
quite forgot how everything was so beautiful around,
how warm the sun shone, and how splendidly white its
own leaves were. Ah! it could think only of the
imprisoned bird, and how it was powerless to do
anything for him.
Just then two little boys came out of the garden. One
of them carried in his hand the knife which the girl
had used to cut off the tulips. They went straight up
to the little Daisy, which could not at all make out
what they wanted.
"Here we may cut a capital piece of turf for the Lark,"
said one of the boys; and he began to cut off a square
patch round about the Daisy, so that the flower
remained standing in its piece of grass.
"Tear off the flower!" said the other boy.
And the Daisy trembled with fear, for to be torn off
would be to lose its life; and now it wanted
particularly to live, as it was to be given with the
piece of turf to the captive Lark.
 "No, let it stay," said the other boy; "it makes such a
And so it remained, and was put into the Lark's cage.
But the poor bird complained aloud of his lost liberty
and beat his wings against the wires of his prison; and
the little Daisy could not speak—could say no
consoling word to him, gladly as it would have done so.
And thus the whole morning passed.
"Here is no water," said the captive Lark. "They are
all gone out and have forgotten to give me anything to
drink. My throat is dry and burning. It is like fire
and ice within me, and the air is so close. Oh, I must
die! I must leave the warm sunshine, the fresh green,
and all the splendor that God has created!"
And then he thrust his beak into the cool turf to
refresh himself a little with it. Then the bird's eye
fell upon the Daisy, and he nodded to it and kissed it
with his beak, and said:
"You also must wither in here, poor little flower. They
have given you to me with the little patch of green
grass on which you grow, instead of the whole world
which was mine out there! Every little blade of grass
shall be a great tree for me, and every one of your
fragrant leaves a great flower. Ah, you only tell me
how much I have lost!"
"If I could only comfort him!" thought the Daisy.
It could not stir a leaf, but the scent which streamed
forth from its delicate leaves was far stronger than is
generally found in these flowers; the bird also
noticed that, and, though he was fainting with thirst
and in his pain plucked up the green blades of grass,
he did not touch the flower.
The evening came on, and yet nobody appeared to bring
the poor bird a drop of water. Then he stretched out
his pretty wings and beat the air frantically with
them; his song changed to a mournful piping, his little
head sank down toward the flower, and the bird's heart
broke with want and yearning. Then the flower could not
fold its leaves, as it had done on the previous
evening, and sleep; it drooped, sorrowful and sick
toward the earth.
 Not till the next morn did the boys come; and when they
found the bird dead they wept, wept many tears, and dug
him a neat grave, which they adorned with leaves of
flowers. The bird's corpse was put into a pretty red
box, for he was to be royally buried—the poor
bird! While he was alive and sang they forgot him and
let him sit in his cage and suffer want, but now that
he was dead he had adornment and many tears.
But the patch of turf with the Daisy on it was thrown
out onto the highroad; no one thought of the flower
that had felt the most for the little bird and would
have been so glad to console him.