938 THE SNOWDROP, OR SUMMER-GECK
and here the sunbeams came with greater strength than before.
1 Welcome ! welcome ! ' sang every sunbeam, and the flower raised itself above the snow, out into the world of light. The sunbeams patted and kissed it, so that it opened itself completely, white as snow, and adorned with green stripes. It bowed its head in gladness and humility.
1 Beautiful flower,' sang the sunbeams, ' how fresh and pure thou art! Thou art the first; thou art the only one ! Thou art our darling ! Thou ringest in summer, lovely summer, over town and field ! All the snow shall melt! the cold winds shall be chased away! we shall rule ! Everything will become green! And then thou wilt have company, lilacs, and laburnum, and last of all the roses ; but thou art the first, so fine and pure ! '
It was a great delight. It seemed as if the air was music, as if the beams of light penetrated into its leaves and stalk. There it stood, so fine and fragile, and yet so strong, in its young beauty ; it stood there in its white kirtle with green ribbons, and praised the summer. But it was far from summer-time, clouds hid the sun, and sharp winds blew upon the flowers.
1 Thou art come a little too early,' said Wind and Weather ; ' we still have power, and that thou shalt feel and submit to. Thou shouldst have kept indoors, not run out to make a show. It is not time yet! '
It was biting cold ! The days which came, brought not a single sunbeam ; it was weather to freeze to pieces in, for such a little delicate flower. But there was more strength in it than it knew of; it was strong in joy and faith in the summer, which must come, which was foretold to it by its own deep longing, and confirmed by the warm sunshine ; and so it stood with confident hope, in its white dress, in the white snow, bowing its head, when the snow-flakes fell heavy and thick, whilst the icy winds swept over it.
* Thou wilt be broken ! ' said they, ' wither and freeze : what didst thou seek out here ! Why wert thou lured abroad ! the sunbeam has fooled thee ! Now canst thou enjoy thyself, thou summer-geck ? '
1 Summer-geck !' echoed in the cold morning hours.