THE DAISY 125
before, and they looked quite peaky in the face and quite red, for they had been vexed. The pepnies were quite wrong-headed : it was well they could not speak, or the daisy would have received a good scolding. The poor little flower could see very well that they were not in a good humour, and that hurt it sensibly. At this moment there came into the garden a girl with a great sharp shining knife ; she went straight up to the tulips, and cut off one after another of them.
' Oh ! ' sighed the little daisy, ' this is dreadful ; now it is all over with them.'
Then the girl went away with the tulips. The daisy was glad to stand out in the grass, and to be only a poor little flower ; it felt very grateful ; and when the sun went down it folded its leaves and went to sleep, and dreamed all night long about the sun and the pretty little bird.
Next morning, when the flower again happily stretched out all its white leaves, like little arms, towards the air and the light, it recognized the voice of the bird, but the song he was singing sounded mournfully. Yes, the poor lark had good reason to be sad : he was caught, and now sat in a cage close by the open window. He sang of free and happy roaming, sang of the young green corn in the fields, and of the glorious journey he might make on his wings high through the air. The poor lark was not in good spirits, for there he sat a prisoner in a cage.
The little daisy wished very much to help him. But what was it to do ? Yes, that was difficult to make out. It quite forgot how everything was beautiful around, how warm the sun shone, and how splendidly white its own leaves were. Ah ! it could think only of the imprisoned bird, and how it was powerless to do anything for him.
Just then two little boys came out of the garden. One of them carried in his hand a knife big and sharp like that which the girl had used to cut off the tulips. They went straight up to the little daisy, which could not at all make out what they wanted.
' Here we may cut a capital piece of turf for the lark,' said one of the boys ; and he began to cut off a square patch round about the daisy, so that the flower remained standing in its piece of grass.