THE SNOWDROP OR SUMMER-GECK 939
' Summer-geck ! ' shouted some children who came down into the garden, ' there stands one so pretty, so beautiful, the first, the only one ! '
And these words did the flower so much good ; they were words like warm sunbeams. The flower did not even notice in its gladness that it was being plucked : it lay in a child's hand, was kissed by a child's lips, was brought into a warm room, gazed at by kind eyes, and put in water, so strengthening, so enlivening. The flower believed that it was come right into summer, all at once.
The daughter of the house, a pretty little girl, was just confirmed ; she had a dear friend, and he was also just confirmed. ' He shall be my summer-geck,' said she ; so she took the fragile little flower, laid it in a piece of scented paper, on which were written verses, verses about the flower. Yes, it was all in the verses, and it was made up as a letter; the flower was laid inside, and it was all dark about it, as dark as when it lay in the bulb. The flower went on a journey, lay in the post-bag, was pressed and squeezed, and that was not pleasant, but it came to an end at last.
The journey was over, the letter was opened and read by the dear friend ; he was so delighted he kissed the flower, and laid it, with the verses around it, in a drawer, in which were many delightful letters, but all without a flower ; this was the first, the only one, as the sunbeams had called it, and that was very pleasant to think about. It got a long time to think about it, it thought whilst the summer passed, and the long winter passed, and it was summer once more ; then it was brought out again. But this time the young man was not at all delighted ; he gripped the paper hard and threw away the verses, so that the flower fell on the floor ; it had become flat and withered, but it should not have been thrown on the floor for all that; still it was better lying there than on the fire, where the letter and verses were blazing. What had happened ? What so often happens. The flower had fooled him ; it was a jest, the maiden had fooled him, and that was no jest; she had chosen another sweetheart in mid-summer. In the morning, the sun shone in on the little flattened summer-geck, which looked as if it were