The daisy



Now listen! In the country, close by the high road, stood a farmhouse; perhaps you have passed by and seen it yourself. There was a little flower garden with painted wooden palings in front of it; close by was a ditch, on its fresh green bank grew a little daisy; the sun shone as warmly and brightly upon it as on the magnificent garden flowers, and therefore it thrived well. One morning it had quite opened, and its little snow-white petals stood round the yellow centre, like the rays of the sun. It did not mind that nobody saw it in the grass, and that it was a poor despised flower; on the contrary, it was quite happy, and turned towards the sun, looking upward and listening to the song of the lark high up in the air.

The little daisy was as happy as if the day had been a great holiday, but it was only Monday. All the children were at school, and while they were sitting on the forms and learning their lessons, it sat on its thin green stalk and learnt from the sun and from its surroundings how kind God is, and it rejoiced that the song of the little lark expressed so sweetly and distinctly its own feelings. With a sort of reverence the daisy looked up to the bird that could fly and sing, but it did not feel envious. "I can see and hear," it thought; "the sun shines upon me, and the forest kisses me. How rich I am!"

In the garden close by grew many large and magnificent flowers, and, strange to say, the less fragrance they had the haughtier and prouder they were. The peonies puffed themselves up in order to be larger than the roses, but size is not everything! The tulips had the finest colours, and they knew it well, too, for they were standing bolt upright like candles, that one might see them the better. In their pride they did not see the little daisy, which looked over to them and thought, "How rich and beautiful they are! I am sure the pretty bird will fly down and call upon them. Thank God, that I stand so near and can at least see all the splendour." And while the daisy was still thinking, the lark came flying down, crying "Tweet," but not to the peonies and tulips– no, into the grass to the poor daisy. Its joy was so great that it did not know what to think. The little bird hopped round it and sang, "How beautifully soft the grass is, and what a lovely little flower with its golden heart and silver dress is growing here." The yellow centre in the daisy did indeed look like gold, while the little petals shone as brightly as silver.

How happy the daisy was! No one has the least idea. The bird kissed it with its beak, sang to it, and then rose again up to the blue sky. It was certainly more than a quarter of an hour before the daisy recovered its senses. Half ashamed, yet glad at heart, it looked over to the other flowers in the garden; surely they had witnessed its pleasure and the honour that had been done to it; they understood its joy. But the tulips stood more stiffly than ever, their faces were pointed and red, because they were vexed. The peonies were sulky; it was well that they could not speak, otherwise they would have given the daisy a good lecture. The little flower could very well see that they were ill at ease, and pitied them sincerely.

Shortly after this a girl came into the garden, with a large sharp knife. She went to the tulips and began cutting them off, one after another. "Ugh!" sighed the daisy, "that is terrible; now they are done for."

The girl carried the tulips away. The daisy was glad that it was outside, and only a small flower– it felt very grateful. At sunset it folded its petals, and fell asleep, and dreamt all night of the sun and the little bird.

On the following morning, when the flower once more stretched forth its tender petals, like little arms, towards the air and light, the daisy recognised the bird's voice, but what it sang sounded so sad. Indeed the poor bird had good reason to be sad, for it had been caught and put into a cage close by the open window. It sang of the happy days when it could merrily fly about, of fresh green corn in the fields, and of the time when it could soar almost up to the clouds. The poor lark was most unhappy as a prisoner in a cage. The little daisy would have liked so much to help it, but what could be done? Indeed, that was very difficult for such a small flower to find out. It entirely forgot how beautiful everything around it was, how warmly the sun was shining, and how splendidly white its own petals were. It could only think of the poor captive bird, for which it could do nothing. Then two little boys came out of the garden; one of them had a large sharp knife, like that with which the girl had cut the tulips. They came straight towards the little daisy, which could not understand what they wanted.

"Here is a fine piece of turf for the lark," said one of the boys, and began to cut out a square round the daisy, so that it remained in the centre of the grass.

"Pluck the flower off" said the other boy, and the daisy trembled for fear, for to be pulled off meant death to it; and it wished so much to live, as it was to go with the square of turf into the poor captive lark's cage.

"No let it stay," said the other boy, "it looks so pretty."

And so it stayed, and was brought into the lark's cage. The poor bird was lamenting its lost liberty, and beating its wings against the wires; and the little daisy could not speak or utter a consoling word, much as it would have liked to do so. So the forenoon passed.

"I have no water," said the captive lark, "they have all gone out, and forgotten to give me anything to drink. My throat is dry and burning. I feel as if I had fire and ice within me, and the air is so oppressive. Alas! I must die, and part with the warm sunshine, the fresh green meadows, and all the beauty that God has created." And it thrust its beak into the piece of grass, to refresh itself a little. Then it noticed the little daisy, and nodded to it, and kissed it with its beak and said: "You must also fade in here, poor little flower. You and the piece of grass are all they have given me in exchange for the whole world, which I enjoyed outside. Each little blade of grass shall be a green tree for me, each of your white petals a fragrant flower. Alas! you only remind me of what I have lost."

"I wish I could console the poor lark," thought the daisy. It could not move one of its leaves, but the fragrance of its delicate petals streamed forth, and was much stronger than such flowers usually have: the bird noticed it, although it was dying with thirst, and in its pain tore up the green blades of grass, but did not touch the flower.

The evening came, and nobody appeared to bring the poor bird a drop of water; it opened its beautiful wings, and fluttered about in its anguish; a faint and mournful "Tweet, tweet," was all it could utter, then it bent its little head towards the flower, and its heart broke for want and longing. The flower could not, as on the previous evening, fold up its petals and sleep; it dropped sorrowfully. The boys only came the next morning; when they saw the dead bird, they began to cry bitterly, dug a nice grave for it, and adorned it with flowers. The bird's body was placed in a pretty red box; they wished to bury it with royal honours. While it was alive and sang they forgot it, and let it suffer want in the cage; now, they cried over it and covered it with flowers. The piece of turf, with the little daisy in it, was thrown out on the dusty highway. Nobody thought of the flower which had felt so much for the bird and had so greatly desired to comfort it.
Nu skal du høre!

Ude på landet, tæt ved vejen, lå et lyststed. Du har bestemt selv engang set det! der er foran en lille have med blomster og et stakit, som er malet. Tæt herved på grøften, midt i det dejligste grønne græs, voksede en lille gåseurt. Solen skinnede lige så varmt og smukt på den, som på de store rige pragtblomster inde i haven, og derfor voksede den time for time. En morgen stod den ganske udsprunget med sine små, skinnende hvide blade, der sidder som stråler rundt om den lille gule sol indeni. Den tænkte slet ikke på, at intet menneske så den der i græsset og at den var en fattig, foragtet blomst. Nej den var så fornøjet, den vendte sig lige imod den varme sol, så op i den og hørte på lærken, som sang i luften.

Den lille gåseurt var så lykkelig, som om det var en stor helligdag, og så var det dog en mandag. Alle børn var i skole. Mens de sad på deres bænke og lærte noget, sad den på sin lille grønne stilk og lærte også af den varme sol og alt rundt omkring, hvor god Gud er, og den syntes ret at den lille lærke sang så tydeligt og smukt alt, hvad den i stilhed følte, og gåseurten så med en slags ærbødighed op til den lykkelige fugl, der kunne synge og flyve, men var slet ikke bedrøvet, fordi den selv ikke kunne det. "Jeg ser og hører jo!" tænkte den, "solen skinner på mig og vinden kysser mig! oh, hvor jeg dog er blevet begavet!"

Inden for stakittet stod så mange stive, fornemme blomster, jo mindre duft de havde, des mere knejsede de. Pæonerne blæste sig op, for at være større end en rose, men det er slet ikke størrelsen, som gør det! Tulipanerne havde de allersmukkeste kulører, og det vidste de nok og holdt sig så ranke, for at man endnu bedre skulle se det. De lagde slet ikke mærke til den lille gåseurt udenfor, men den så des mere på dem og tænkte: "Hvor de er rige og dejlige! ja, dem flyver vist den prægtige fugl ned til og besøger! Gud ske lov, at jeg står så nær herved, så kan jeg dog få den stads at se!" og lige idet den tænkte det, "kvirrevit!" der kom lærken flyvende, men ikke ned til pæoner og tulipaner, nej, ned i græsset til den fattige gåseurt, der blev så forskrækket af bare glæde, at den vidste slet ikke mere, hvad den skulle tænke.

Den lille fugl dansede rundt omkring den og sang: "Nej, hvor dog græsset er blødt! og se, hvilken sød lille blomst med guld i hjertet og sølv på kjolen!" den gule prik i gåseurten så jo også ud som guld, og de små blade rundt om var skinnende sølvhvide.

Så lykkelig som den lille gåseurt var, nej, det kan ingen begribe! Fuglen kyssede den med sit næb, sang for den og fløj så igen op i den blå luft. Det varede bestemt et helt kvarter, før blomsten kunne komme sig igen. Halvt undselig og dog inderlig fornøjet så den til blomsterne inde i haven. De havde jo set den ære og lyksalighed, der var vederfaret hende, de måtte jo begribe, hvilken glæde det var, men tulipanerne stod nok engang så stive som før, og så var de så spidse i ansigtet og så røde, for de havde ærgret sig. Pæonerne var ganske tykhovedede, bu! det var godt, at de ikke kunne tale, ellers havde gåseurten fået en ordentlig tiltale. Den stakkels lille blomst kunne nok se, at de var ikke i godt humør, og det gjorde den så inderligt ondt. I det samme kom der inde i haven en pige med en stor kniv så skarp og skinnende, hun gik lige hen mellem tulipanerne og skar den ene af efter den anden. "Uh!" sukkede den lille gåseurt, "det var jo forskrækkeligt, nu er det forbi med dem!" Så gik pigen bort med tulipanerne. Gåseurten var glad ved, at den stod ude i græsset og var en lille, fattig blomst. Den følte sig ret så taknemlig, og da solen gik ned, foldede den sine blade, sov ind og drømte hele natten om solen og den lille fugl.

Næste morgen, da blomsten igen, lykkelig, strakte alle de hvide blade ligesom små arme ud mod luft og lys, kendte den fuglens stemme, men det var sørgeligt, hvad den sang. Ja, den stakkels lærke havde god grund dertil, den var blevet fanget og sad nu i et bur tæt ved det åbne vindue. Den sang om at flyve frit og lykkeligt omkring, sang om det unge, grønne korn på marken og om den dejlige rejse, den kunne gøre på sine vinger højt op i luften. Den stakkels fugl var ikke i godt humør, fangen sad den der i buret.

Den lille gåseurt ønskede så gerne at hjælpe, men hvorledes skulle den bære sig ad dermed. Ja det var vanskeligt at hitte på. Den glemte rent, hvor smukt alt stod rundt om, hvor varmt solen skinnede, og hvor smukke hvide dens blade så ud. Ak, den kunne kun tænke på den fangne fugl, som den slet ikke var i stand til at gøre noget for.

Da kom der i det samme to små drenge ud af haven. Den ene af dem havde i hånden en kniv, stor og skarp som den, pigen havde til at skære tulipanerne af med. De gik lige hen imod den lille gåseurt, der slet ikke kunne begribe, hvad de ville.

"Her kan vi skære en dejlig græstørv til lærken!" sagde den ene dreng og begyndte at skære i en firkant dybt ned, omkring gåseurten, så at den kom til at stå midt i græstørven.

"Riv den blomst af!" sagde den anden dreng, og gåseurten rystede ordentlig af angst, thi at blive revet af, var jo at miste livet, og nu ville den så gerne leve, da den skulle med græstørven ind i buret til den fangne lærke.

"Nej, lad den sidde!" sagde den anden dreng, "den pynter så net!" og så blev den siddende og kom med ind i buret til lærken.

Men den stakkels fugl klagede højt over sin tabte frihed og slog med vingerne mod jerntrådene i buret. Den lille gåseurt kunne ikke tale, ikke sige et trøstende ord, ihvor gerne den ville. Således gik hele formiddagen.

"Her er intet vand!" sagde den fangne lærke, "de er alle ude og have glemt mig med en dråbe at drikke! min hals er tør og brændende! der er ild og is indeni mig og luften er så tung! Ak, jeg må dø, fra det varme solskin, fra det friske grønne, fra al den dejlighed, Gud har skabt!" og så borede den sit lille næb ned i den kølige græstørv, for derved at opfriskes lidt. Da faldt dens øjne på gåseurten, og fuglen nikkede til den, kyssede den med næbbet og sagde: "Du må også visne herinde, du stakkels lille blomst! Dig og den lille grønne plet græs har man givet mig for den hele verden, jeg havde udenfor! hvert lille græsstrå skal være mig et grønt træ, hvert af dine hvide blade en duftende blomst! ak, I fortæller mig kun, hvor meget jeg har mistet!"

"Hvem der dog kunne trøste ham!" tænkte gåseurten, men den kunne ikke røre et blad. Dog duften, som strømmede ud af de fine blade, var langt stærkere, end den ellers findes hos denne blomst. Det mærkede også fuglen, og skønt den forsmægtede af tørst og i sin pine rev de grønne græsstrå af, rørte den slet ikke blomsten.

Det blev aften, og endnu kom ingen og bragte den stakkels fugl en vanddråbe. Da strakte den sine smukke vinger ud, rystede dem krampagtigt, dens sang var et vemodigt pipi. Det lille hoved bøjede sig henimod blomsten, og fuglens hjerte brast af savn og længsel. Da kunne blomsten ikke, som aftnen forud, folde sine blade sammen og sove, den hang syg og sørgende ned mod jorden.

Først den næste morgen kom drengene, og da de så fuglen død, græd de, græd mange tårer og gravede den en nydelig grav, som blev pyntet med blomsterblade. Fuglens lig kom i en rød, dejlig æske, kongeligt skulle den begraves, den stakkels fugl! da han levede og sang, glemte de ham, lod ham sidde i buret og lide savn, nu fik han stads og mange tårer.

Men græstørven med gåseurten blev kastet ud i støvet på landevejen, ingen tænkte på den, som dog havde følt mest for den lille fugl og som gerne ville trøste den!

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