430 THE STORY OF THE YEAR
Sparrows. ' Now we shall get our rights, and have amends for the stern winter/
Wherever the two children turned, green buds burst forth on bushes and trees, the grass shot upwards, and the corn-fields turned green and became more and more lovely. And the little maiden strewed flowers all around. Her apron, which she held up before her, was always full of them; they seemed to spring up there, for her lap continued full, however zealously she strewed the blossoms around ; and in her eagerness she scattered a snow of blossoms over apple trees and peach trees, so that they stood in full beauty before their green leaves had fairly come forth.
And she clapped her hands, and the boy clapped his, and then flocks of birds came flying up, nobody knew whence, and they all twittered and sang, ' Spring has come.'
That was beautiful to behold. Many an old granny crept forth over the threshold into the sunshine, and tripped gleefully about, casting a glance at the yellow flowers which shone everywhere in the fields, just as they used to do when she was young. The world grew young again to her, and she said, * It is a blessed day out here to-day !'
The forest still wore its brown-green dress, made of buds ; but the woodruff was already there, fresh and fragrant; there were violets in plenty, anemones and primroses came forth, and there was sap and strength in every blade of grass. That was certainly a beautiful carpet to sit upon, and there accordingly the young spring pair sat hand in hand, and sang and smiled, and grew on.
A mild rain fell down upon them from the sky, but they did not notice it, for the rain-drops were mingled with their own tears of joy. They kissed each other as bride and bridegroom, and in the same moment the verdure of the woods was unfolded, and when the sun rose, the forest stood there arrayed in green.
And hand in hand the betrothed pair wandered under the pendent roof of fresh leaves, where the rays of the sun gleamed through the green in lovely, ever-changing hues. What virgin purity, what refreshing balm in the delicate leaves ! The brooks and streams rippled clearly and merrily