LITTLE IDA'S FLOWERS 27
empty flower-pots. On the floor all the flowers were dancing very gracefully round each other, making a perfect chain, and holding each other by the long green leaves as they swung round. But at the piano sat a great yellow lily, which little Ida had certainly seen in summer, for she remembered how the student had said, ' How like that one is to Miss Lina.' Then he had been laughed at by all; but now it seemed really to little Ida as if the long yellow flower looked like the young lady; and it had just her manners in playing—sometimes bending its long yellow face to one side, sometimes to the other, and nodding in tune to the charming music ! No one noticed little Ida. Then she saw a great blue crocus hop into the middle of the table, where the toys stood, and go to the doll's bed and pull the curtains aside ; there lay the sick flowers, but they got up directly, and nodded to the others, to say that they wanted to dance too. The old chimney-sweep doll, whose under lip was broken off, stood up and bowed to the pretty flowers : these did not look at all ill now; they jumped down among the others, and were very merry.
Then it seemed as if something fell down from the table. Ida looked that way. It was the Shrovetide birch rod which was jumping down ! it seemed almost as if it belonged to the flowers. At any rate it was very neat; and a little wax doll, with just such a broad hat on its head as the councillor wore, sat upon it. The birch rod hopped about among the flowers on its three red legs, and stamped quite loud, for it was dancing the mazurka ; and the other flowers could not manage that dance, because they were too light, and unable to stamp like that.
The wax doll on the birch rod all at once became quite great and long, turned itself over the paper flowers, and said, ' How can one put such things in a child's head ? Those are stupid fancies ! ' and then the wax doll was exactly like the councillor with the broad hat, and looked just as yellow and cross as he. But the paper flowers hit him on his thin legs, and then he shrank up again, and became quite a little wax doll. That was very amusing to see ; and little Ida could not restrain her laughter. The birch rod went on dancing, and the councillor was obliged to dance too ; it was no use whether he might make