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Fabulous Fairy Tales for children and adults. From our vast collection of old traditional fairy tales and fables.

A Leaf From Heaven

HIGH up in the clear, pure air flew an angel, with a
flower plucked from the garden of heaven. As he was kissing
the flower a very little leaf fell from it and sunk down into
the soft earth in the middle of a wood. It immediately took
root, sprouted, and sent out shoots among the other plants.

'What a ridiculous little shoot!' said one. 'No one will
recognize it; not even the thistle nor the stinging-nettle.'

'It must be a kind of garden plant,' said another; and so
they sneered and despised the plant as a thing from a garden.

'Where are you coming?' said the tall thistles whose
leaves were all armed with thorns. 'It is stupid nonsense to
allow yourself to shoot out in this way; we are not here to
support you.'

Winter came, and the plant was covered with snow, but the
snow glittered over it as if it had sunshine beneath as well
as above.

When spring came, the plant appeared in full bloom: a more
beautiful object than any other plant in the forest. And now
the professor of botany presented himself, one who could
explain his knowledge in black and white. He examined and
tested the plant, but it did not belong to his system of
botany, nor could he possibly find out to what class it did
belong. 'It must be some degenerate species,' said he; 'I do
not know it, and it is not mentioned in any system.'

'Not known in any system!' repeated the thistles and the
nettles.

The large trees which grew round it saw the plant and
heard the remarks, but they said not a word either good or
bad, which is the wisest plan for those who are ignorant.

There passed through the forest a poor innocent girl; her
heart was pure, and her understanding increased by her faith.
Her chief inheritance had been an old Bible, which she read
and valued. From its pages she heard the voice of God speaking
to her, and telling her to remember what was said of Joseph's
brethren when persons wished to injure her. 'They imagined
evil in their hearts, but God turned it to good.' If we suffer
wrongfully, if we are misunderstood or despised, we must think
of Him who was pure and holy, and who prayed for those who
nailed Him to the cross, 'Father forgive them, for they know
not what they do.'

The girl stood still before the wonderful plant, for the
green leaves exhaled a sweet and refreshing fragrance, and the
flowers glittered and sparkled in the sunshine like colored
flames, and the harmony of sweet sounds lingered round them as
if each concealed within itself a deep fount of melody, which
thousands of years could not exhaust. With pious gratitude the
girl looked upon this glorious work of God, and bent down over
one of the branches, that she might examine the flower and
inhale the sweet perfume. Then a light broke in on her mind,
and her heart expanded. Gladly would she have plucked a
flower, but she could not overcome her reluctance to break one
off. She knew it would so soon fade; so she took only a single
green leaf, carried it home, and laid it in her Bible, where
it remained ever green, fresh, and unfading. Between the pages
of the Bible it still lay when, a few weeks afterwards, that
Bible was laid under the young girl's head in her coffin. A
holy calm rested on her face, as if the earthly remains bore
the impress of the truth that she now stood in the presence of
God.

In the forest the wonderful plant still continued to bloom
till it grew and became almost a tree, and all the birds of
passage bowed themselves before it.

'That plant is a foreigner, no doubt,' said the thistles
and the burdocks. 'We can never conduct ourselves like that in
this country.' And the black forest snails actually spat at
the flower.

Then came the swineherd; he was collecting thistles and
shrubs to burn them for the ashes. He pulled up the wonderful
plant, roots and all, and placed it in his bundle. 'This will
be as useful as any,' he said; so the plant was carried away.

Not long after, the king of the country suffered from the
deepest melancholy. He was diligent and industrious, but
employment did him no good. They read deep and learned books
to him, and then the lightest and most trifling that could be
found, but all to no purpose. Then they applied for advice to
one of the wise men of the world, and he sent them a message
to say that there was one remedy which would relieve and cure
him, and that it was a plant of heavenly origin which grew in
the forest in the king's own dominions. The messenger
described the flower so that is appearance could not be
mistaken.

Then said the swineherd, 'I am afraid I carried this plant
away from the forest in my bundle, and it has been burnt to
ashes long ago. But I did not know any better.'

'You did not know, any better! Ignorance upon ignorance
indeed!'

The poor swineherd took these words to heart, for they
were addressed to him; he knew not that there were others who
were equally ignorant. Not even a leaf of the plant could be
found. There was one, but it lay in the coffin of the dead; no
one knew anything about it.

Then the king, in his melancholy, wandered out to the spot
in the wood. 'Here is where the plant stood,' he said; 'it is
a sacred place.' Then he ordered that the place should be
surrounded with a golden railing, and a sentry stationed near
it.

The botanical professor wrote a long treatise about the
heavenly plant, and for this he was loaded with gold, which
improved the position of himself and his family.

And this part is really the most pleasant part of the
story. For the plant had disappeared, and the king remained as
melancholy and sad as ever, but the sentry said he had always
been so.


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