418 ' THERE IS A DIFFERENCE »
its little legs, rolled about and plucked the yellow flowers, and kissed them in its pretty innocence. The elder children broke off the flowers with their hollow stalks, and bent the stalks round into one another, link by link, so that a whole chain was made ; first a necklace, and then a scarf to hang over their shoulders and tie round their waists, and then a chaplet to wear on the head : it was quite a gala of green links and chains. The eldest children carefully gathered the stalks on which hung the white feathery ball, formed by the flower that had run to seed; and this loose, airy wool-flower, which is a beautiful object, looking like the finest snowy down, they held to their mouths, and tried to blow away the whole head at one breath; for their grandmother had said that whoever could do this would be sure to get new clothes before the year was out. So on this occasion the despised flower was a perfect prophet.
* Do you see ? ' said the Sunbeam. ' Do you see the beauty of those flowers ? do you see their power ? '
* Yes—over children,' replied the Apple Branch.
And now an old woman came into the field, and began to dig with a blunt shaftless knife round the root of the dandelion plant, and pulled it up out of the ground. With some of the roots she intended to make coffee for herself; others she was going to sell for money to the druggist.
* But beauty is a higher thing !' said the Apple Tree Branch. ' Only the chosen few can be admitted into the realm of beauty. There is a difference among plants, just as there is a difference among men.'
And then the Sunbeam spoke of the boundless love of the Creator, as manifested in the creation, and of the just distribution of things in time and in eternity.
1 Yes, yes, that is your opinion,' the Apple Branch persisted.
But now some people came into the room, and the beautiful young countess appeared, the lady who had placed the Apple Branch in the transparent vase in the sunlight. She carried in her hand a flower, or something of the kind. The object, whatever it might be, was hidden by three or four great leaves, wrapped around it like a shield, that no draught or gust of wind should in-iure it; and it was carried more carefully than the Apple