THE ROSE-ELF 215
could endure it no longer to see all* this pain, and therefore flew out to his rose in the garden.^ But the rose was faded ; only a few pale leaves clung to the wild bush.
" Alas ! how soon everything good and beautiful passes away !' sighed the elf.
At last he found another rose, and this became his house ; behind its delicate fragrant leaves he could hide himself and dwell.
Every morning he flew to the window of the poor girl, and she was always standing weeping by the flower-pot. The bitter tears fell upon the jasmine spray, and every day, as the girl became paler and paler, the twig stood there fresher and greener, and one shoot after another sprouted forth, little white buds burst forth, and these she kissed. But the bad brother scolded his sister, and asked if she had gone mad. He could not bear it, and could not imagine why she was always weeping over the flower-pot. He did not know what closed eyes were there, what red lips had there faded into earth. And she bowed her head upon the flower-pot, and the little elf of the rose bush found her slumbering there. Then he seated himself in her ear, told her of the evening in the arbour, of the fragrance of the rose, and the love of the elves. And she dreamed a marvellously sweet dream, and while she dreamed her life passed away. She had died a quiet death, and she was in heaven with him whom she loved.
And the jasmine opened its great white bells. They smelt quite peculiarly sweet; it could not weep in any other way over the dead one.
But the wicked brother looked at the beautiful blooming plant, and took it for himself as an inheritance, and put it in his sleeping-room, close by his bed, for it was glorious to look upon and its fragrance was sweet and refreshing. The little Rose-elf followed, and went from flower to flower—for in each dwelt a little soul—and told of the murdered young man, whose head was now earth beneath the earth, and told of the evil brother and of the poor sister.
* We know it! ' said each soul in the flowers, " we know it: have we not sprung from the eyes and lips of the murdered man ? We know it! we know it!'