It was a lovely day in early spring. The green buds were just bursting into leaf, soft breezes blew, and the spring flowers tossed their bright little heads as though full of the joy of life!
The little flower fairies were waking from their long winter sleep to make their flower homes bright and beautiful.
A lovely fairy, dressed in pale gold, with a daffodil in her bright hair, flew out from a clump of daffodils that grew on a mossy bank and danced among the flowers, tossing her golden head with joy.
Her name was Dewdrop.
That night the Queen of the Fairies gave a ball to start the season. All the sunbeam and moonbeam fairies, the fairies of the daffodils and many other fairies and gnomes and pixies went to this ball.
Of course, Dewdrop was there.
She danced a great deal with a young knight of the daffodils named Sir Alga. This Sir Alga looked very handsome in his suit of gold-colored satin, with wings of pale gold, traced with brown, and he was said to be as brave as he was handsome.
Sir Alga and Dewdrop loved each other, and that night, after the ball, the knight went to Dewdrop's father and requested her hand in marriage.
Dewdrop's father was daffodil fairies and he said, "You shall marry my daughter, my good knight, if you will do three deeds which I will tell you of."
Anything I can do to win Dewdrop will be done to the best of my ability, if you will please give me your orders, Sir Azim!"
So Sir Azim began. "In Bluebell Cottage," he said, "near the Pine Woods, there lives a woman who is verv kind and gentle and does all she can to help people in need.
She has very little money, but Bluebell Cottage is her own property and she always has with her a few homeless orphans and delicate children whose mothers cannot afford to send them to the country to get well. The pure country air and the good milk and eggs she gives them soon makes them well again. The orphans she keeps with her until they are old enough to work, when some of them help her in the garden and othcrs learn whatever work thev are fitted for.
"All went well until one day a witch who was very evil came to live near Bluebell Cottage. She became very jealous of this woman who was so happy that her face was beautiful to look at, and whom people called 'the good fairy.' But alas! when the witch became jealous she used all the power she possessed to send bad thoughts toward her.
After a time the woman became depressed and things did not go well with her. It was very difficult to find food for all the children and this made her very sad, so that she worried all through the long nights, and now she is beginning to lose her health. I, and many other fairies, have tried to banish the dark clouds around her and to give her hope, but we have all failed. May you succeed, Sir Alga! Go Disperse the dark clouds that surround the cottage and give to the good fairy the gift of hope. The other two deeds you may choose for yourself."
So Sir Alga said good-bye to Sir Azim and Dewdrop and flew off to Bluebell Cottage.
The knight found the 'good fairy' sitting by the fire, looking very unhappy. Seated round her were the children she loved and cared for, all looking ready to cry because their 'good fairy' was so troubled.
Sir Alga stepped up to the woman and said, "I have come from Fairyland to br ing you the priceless gift of hope. From now on the dark clouds that have surrounded you will disperse, and you will by happy again."
With that the knight disappeared, but he had truly left hope with the woman, for she smiled and told the children a beautiful story. Then Sir Alga worked very hard to clear the darkness that surrounded the cottage, and when he left he knew all would go well with the 'good fairy' and that she would soon be happy and prosperous again.
Having succeeded in his mission, Sir Alga flew on in quest of more work. Very soon he came to another cottage, and as he went round the garden he came across what was evidently a child's plot of ground, but all the daffodils and primroses were drooping and every one was smothered in weeds.
"What can be the matter here, that this little plot is so neglected?" wondered Sir Alga. He went in search of someone who could tell him to whom the plot belonged, and before very long he met a fairy who told him that the garden was owned by a little girl named Ruby. Ruby, it seemed, had watered and taken great care of the little plot, and it had always looked very bright and pretty. But this year, just as the flowers were beginning to bloom, along came Jack Frost and nipped off such a lot of them that Ruby was so terribly discouraged that she took no further interest in it.
Sir Alga thanked the fairy and then went in search of the flower fairies.
Very soon he had collected quite a crowd of fairies whom he led to Ruby's plot. He gave each fairy a brush of thistledown, and some paint, and they set to work and had soon painted all the little flower faces so that they looked bright and beautiful.
Sir Alga thanked the fairies and asked if some of them would make their homes in Ruby's garden and they promised to do so.
When Ruby woke the next morning and looked out of the window she was surprised to see how bright and pretty her neglected flowers looked. She ran downstairs and into the garden where a still greater surprise awaited her. Peeping over the flowers were dainty fairies who told her that they were going to live in her little garden if she was willing, and they were going to help to keep it beautiful.
Ruby was so delighted that she began at once to weed the garden, and ever after she took great care of it and made it a very beautiful little plot.
Sir Alga traveled on to find his third good deed, and after a time he came across a middle-aged lady who was greatly troubled about her son. He had gone exploring in a far country and she had not heard anything of him for the last three years, and feared he was dead.
Now Sir Alga, in his travels, had seen the lady's son in the wilds of Africa. The young man had met with an accident from which he had recovered, except that his memory was quite gone.
So Sir Alga went to Africa and one night, when the young man had gone to sleep, he gave him a dream of his mother and home. When the young man woke he remembered everything quite clearly, and so he wrote to his mother at once and very soon he went home and he and his mother were then very happy together.
Having done his three good deeds Sir Alga returned to Fairyland to claim Dewdrop's hand. Sir Azim was much pleased with Sir Alga's report and said that the wedding should take place at once. It was a very beautiful wedding. The Bluebell fairies rang a peal of bells and Pan played for the fairies to dance.
Sir Alga and Dewdrop lived very happy in their fairy kingdom.