THE ELDER TREE MOTHER 299
' Now we're in the country ! Do you see the farmhouse, with the great baking-oven standing otrt of the wall like an enormous egg by the wayside ? The elder tree spreads its branches over it, and the cock walks about, scratching for his hens ; look how he struts ! Now we are near the church ; it lies high up on the hill, among the great oak trees, one of which is half dead. Now we are at the forge, where the fire burns and the half-clad men beat with their hammers, so that the sparks fly far around. Away, away to the nobleman's splendid seat ! '
And everything that the little maiden mentioned, as she sat on the stick behind him, flew past them, and the little boy saw it all, though they were only riding round and round the grass-plot. Then they played in the side walk, and scratched up the earth to make a little garden ; and she took elder flowers out of her hair and planted them, and they grew just like those that the old people had planted when they were little, as has been already told. They went hand in hand just as the old people had done in their childhood ; but not to the round tower, or to the Fredericksberg Garden. No, the little girl took hold of the boy round the body, and then they flew here and there over the whole of Denmark.
And it was spring, and summer came, and autumn, and winter, and thousands of pictures were mirrored in the boy's eyes and heart, and the little maiden was always singing to him.
He will never forget that ; and throughout their whole journey the elder tree smelt so sweet, so fragrant : he noticed the roses and the fresh beech trees ; but the elder tree smelt stronger than all, for its flowers hung round the little girl's heart, and he often leaned against them as they flew onward.
1 How beautiful it is here in spring!' said the little girl.
And they stood in the new-leaved beech wood, where the green woodruff lay spread in fragrance at their feet, and the pale pink anemones looked glorious among the vivid green.
' Oh, that it were always spring in the fragrant Danish beech woods ! '
' How beautiful it is here in summer ! ' said she.
And they passed by old castles of knightly days, castles