THE FLAX 405
its pain. " One must be content with the good one has enjoyed ! Contented ! contented ! Oh ! ' And it continued to say so even when it was put into the loom, and till it became a large beautiful piece of linen. All the flax, to the last stalk, was used in making one piece.
' But this is quite remarkable ! I should never have believed it ! How favourable fortune is to me ! The Hedge-stake was well informed, truly, with its
Snip-snap-snurre, Basse-lurre !
The song is not done by any means. Now it's beginning in earnest. That's quite remarkable ! If I've suffered something, I've been made into something ! I'm the happiest of all ! How strong and fine I am, how white and long ! That's something different from being a mere plant, even if one has a flower. One is not attended to, and only gets watered when it rains. Now I'm attended to and cherished ; the maid turns me over every morning, and I get a shower bath from the watering-pot every evening. Yes, the clergyman's wife has even made a speech about me, and says I'm the best piece in the whole parish. I cannot be happier ! '
Now the Linen was taken into the house, and put under the scissors : how they cut and tore it, and then pricked it with needles ! That was not pleasant; but twelve pieces of body linen of a kind not often mentioned by name, but indispensable to all people, were made of it—a whole dozen !
' Just look ! Now something has really been made of me ! So, that was my destiny. That's a real blessing. Now I shall be of some use in the world, and that's right, that's a true pleasure ! We've been made into twelve things, but yet we're all one and the same ; we're just a dozen : how remarkably charming that is ! '
Years rolled on, and now they would hold together no longer.
' It must be over one day,' said each piece. ' I would gladly have held together a little longer, but one must not expect impossibilities.'
They were now torn into pieces and fragments. They thought it was all over now, for they were hacked to shreds,