“Had I but accepted the conditions of growth, I too might have been a lovely plant, giving and receiving pleasure,” she said, after the people had passed on. “But now, alas!” and her breath grew quick and short, “if I had only some one to profit by my last words, telling of my life of folly, I might not have lived wholly in vain.” But there was nothing about her which she could discern save a tuft of moss upon the cold, hard rock which must now be her death-bed.
But behind the rock, on the south side, there was growing a family of wild daisies, who were going to migrate to a warmer part of the country to plant their seeds before the winter came on. This was one of the conditions which Providence ever has around the most seemingly deserted and desolate, that her words might not only profit them, but that they could convey the benefit of them to all wayward seeds who were unwilling to accept the natural conditions of growth. And thus the seed, though dying with its mission unfulfilled, did not live wholly in vain; for its wasted life saved others from a similar fate.
A parent sent his children forth one day into a fertile land to gather fruits, flowers, and whatever was beautiful to adorn their homes. They wandered till nightfall, gathering their treasures, while their joyous laughter filled the air, and made music to the listening laborers in the fields.
Just as the shadows of evening came on they approached an open field: it was barren of verdure, but the ground was covered with golden stones, which glittered strangely in the setting sun. They gathered as many as they could with their other treasures, and then all but one of the group began to prepare for home, while he lingered, eager to gather the shining pebbles.
“We must return,” they all said in chorus to him. They disliked to leave without him; but darkness was fast coming on, and they must obey their parents’ command and return before the shades of evening had covered the earth. One voice after another died away on the air as they pleaded vainly for him to go with them, but he heeded them not: the golden stones were far more precious in his eyes than kindred, home, or friends; and they departed sorrowfully without him, while he remained and added stone to stone, till he was obliged at last, from exhaustion, to lie down on the damp ground.
It was not like his warm bed in his pleasant home; and he missed the cheerful voices of his brothers, and more than all his parents’ fond goodnight, after the evening prayer. He slept; but his dreams were wild and feverish, and there was no atmosphere of love about him to soothe the weary brain.