364 THE NEIGHBOURING FAMILIES
own kind. ' Piep ! ' and three scrapes with the left legó that salutation it had often made throughout the summer, and nobody had replied, for friends who are once parted don't meet every day ; and now this form of greeting had become quite a habit with it. But to-day two old Sparrows and a young one replied ' Piep ! ' and scraped three times each with the left leg.
* Ah ! good day ! good day ! ' They were three old ones from the nest, and a little one belonging to the family. 1 Do we meet here again ? It's a grand place, but there 's not much to eat. This is the beautiful! Piep !5
And many people came out of the side chambers where the glorious marble statues stood, and approached the grave where slept the great master who had formed these marble images. All stood with radiant faces by Thor-waldsen's grave, and some gathered up the fallen rose leaves and kept them. They had come from afar : some from mighty England, others from Germany and France. The most beautiful among the ladies plucked one of the roses and hid it in her bosom. Then the Sparrows thought that the roses ruled here, and that the whole house had been built for their sake ; that appeared to them to be too much ; but as all the people showed their love for the roses, they would not be behindhand. ' Piep ! ' they said, and swept the ground with their tails, and glanced with one eye at the roses ; and they had not looked long at the flowers before they recognized them as old neighbours. And so the roses really were. The painter who had sketched the rose bush by the ruined house had afterwards received permission to dig it up, and had given it to the architect, for nowhere could more beautiful roses be found. And the architect had planted it upon Thorwaldsen's grave, where it bloomed, an image of the beautiful, and gave its red fragrant petals to be carried into distant lands as mementoes.
' Have you found a situation here in the town ? ' asked the Sparrows.
And the Roses nodded ; they recognized their grey neighbours, and were glad to see them again. ' How glorious it is to live and bloom, to see old faces again, and cheerful faces every day. Here it is as if every day was a great holiday.