30 LITTLE IDA'S FLOWERS
them. The two boys went first, with their crossbows on their shoulders, and little Ida followed with the dead flowers in the pretty box. Out in the garden a little grave was dug. Ida first kissed the flowers, and then laid them in the earth in the box, and Adolphe and Jonas shot with their crossbows over the grave, for they had neither guns nor cannons.
There was once a woman who wished for a very little child ; but she did not know where she should procure one. So she went to an old witch, and said,
' I do so very much wish for a little child ! can you not tell me where I can get one ? '
' Oh ! that could easily be managed,' said the witch. * There you have a barleycorn : that is not of the kind which grows in the countryman's field, and which the chickens get to eat. Put it into a flower-pot, and you shall see what you shall see.'
' Thank you,' said the woman ; and she gave the witch a groat.
Then she went home and planted the barleycorn, and immediately there grew up a great handsome flower, which looked like a tulip ; but the leaves were tightly closed, as though it were still a bud.
' It is a beautiful flower,' said the woman ; and she kissed its beautiful yellow and red leaves. But just as she kissed it the flower opened with a loud crack. It was a real tulip, as one could now see ; but in the middle of the flower there sat upon the green stamens a little maiden, delicate and graceful to behold. She was scarcely half a thumb's length in height, and therefore she was called Thumbelina.
A neat polished walnut-shell served Thumbelina for a cradle, blue violet-leaves were her mattresses, with a rose-leaf for a coverlet. There she slept at night; but in the daytime she played upon the table, where the woman had put a plate with a wreath of flowers around it, whose stalks stood in water ; on the water swam a great