"I'll keep fresh as long as ever I can," said the pansy, "It's the
least I can do for him, poor fellow!"

"At all events the flowers are all out of my own garden," said Bethea,
sitting down by the white bed, and then she talked away so gently that
the boy's weary face smoothed out, and he went to sleep.

In a few days' time Bethea begged her grandmother to let her go again
to the hospital, and she persuaded the gardener to give her a
beautiful bunch of pansies to take to the sick boy.

As she entered the room, she saw that the little purple pansy was
standing in a tumbler of water, on a chair by the boy's bed.

Its head hung over on one side, but it looked quite fresh and healthy.

"Hasn't it lasted well?" said the boy, happily. He looked much better
and spoke in a loud, cheerful voice. "It's been talking to me about
all sorts of things! the country, and gardens, and springtime, and
being out and about in the fresh air and sunshine!"

"Well, I certainly have tried to make myself as pleasant as possible,"
said the pansy, but it spoke so low that nobody heard it except the
boy whose ears were sharpened by illness.

"I've brought you some more," said Bethea, holding out her bouquet,
"shall I put them in the tumbler with the little one?"

"Oh, no!" cried the boy anxiously, "I think if you don't mind I'd
rather you gave those to some of the other children. I can't like any
fine new flowers as well as that little fellow. I feel as if he had
made me well again!"

The pansy expanded with pride, and a tear of gratitude rolled out of
its eye, and fell with a splash on the cane chair-seat.

"I'm going to have it dried in my old pocket book, when it's really
withered," continued the boy, "and then I shall be able to look at it

When little Bethea next visited the hospital, the boy with the crooked
leg was just leaving; but his leg was not crooked any longer; his face
was bright and healthy, and safely buttoned up in his coat he carried
a shabby old pocket book, in which lay a withered flower, with one
word written underneath in large pencilled letters--"_Heartsease_."


"Oh, do take me!" cried the pansy, touching her little brown shoe with
one of its leaves to attract her attention, "I do want to help!" and
Bethea stooped down, she scarcely knew why, gathered it, and put it
with the rest of her flowers.

The drive to the Hospital was along a dusty country road, and the
flowers under their paper covering, gasped for breath.

As soon as they arrived, Bethea, following her grandmother, carried
them up to the room where children were lying in the little white
beds, and gave them to the woman who was in charge of it.

"Please would you mind putting them in water for the children," she
said in her soft voice, and the woman smiled and nodded.

Bethea took a few of the flowers out, and went round to the different
beds offering one or two, shyly, until she came to a thin pale boy--a
new patient, whom she had never seen before.

"He's only been here a fortnight," said the woman in a whisper, "and
we can't get him to take any interest in anything--I don't know what
we're going to do with him!"

"Is he very ill?" asked Bethea, wistfully.

"No, not so bad as some. A crooked leg, that will get well in time if
only we can wake him up a little."

"I'm so sorry I have nothing but this flower left," said Bethea, as
she stooped over the boy's curly head, and gave him the small purple

"Oh, I wish I was more beautiful!" sighed the little dark flower.
"_Now_ would be an opportunity to do some good in the world!"

The boy turned wearily, but his face lighted up as he saw the pansy.
His eyes brightened and he seized it eagerly.

"Heartsease! Oh, it's like home. We've lots of that growing in our
garden. I always had some on Sundays!" he cried. "Do let me keep it.
It seems just a bit of home--a bit of home--a bit of home."

He murmured it over and over again, as if there was rest and happiness
in the very sound of it.


The three-cornered scrap of garden by the elm tree, with a border of
stones, and a neat trodden path down the middle, belonged to little

It grew things in a most wonderful way. Stocks and marigolds,
primroses and lupines, Canterbury bells and lavender; all came out at
their different seasons, and all flourished--for Bethea watered and
tended them so faithfully that they loved her.


On a soft spring day Bethea stood by her garden with scissors and
basket, snipping away at the brightest and best of her children;
carefully, so that she might not hurt them, and with judgment, so that
they might bloom again when they wished to.

"Do you know where you're going?" she said--"To the Hospital.
Grandmamma's going to take me, and you're being gathered to cheer up
the sick people there--aren't you pleased?" And the flowers nodded.

"I don't suppose I shall be picked. I don't think I'm good enough!"
whispered a very small purple pansy, who had only recently been
planted, to a beetle who happened to be crawling by. "I should like
to go with the others, though I don't suppose it would cheer anyone to
see me, I'm not light enough!"

"Don't be too sure," said the beetle solidly. "You've a nice velvety
softness about you, and then you have the best name of them all. What
sick person wouldn't like to have Heartsease?"

"I think I've got enough now," said Bethea, as she laid the last
primula in her basket.

The Imp In The Chintz Curtain - Part 8

"Do come and look at my things!" cried Marianne to the Chintz Imp, but
he remained rigidly against his shiny spotted background and refused
to move, though Marianne thought she saw a twinkle in his eye, which
showed he was not quite so impassive as he appeared to be.

"I'll try and get him put into the Servants' Hall as soon as
possible," she thought. "It makes me quite nervous to think he may
pounce upon me any minute. Besides, one must keep one's promises! How
extraordinary it is he can make himself so perfectly flat."

As soon as she was dressed she ran down to the dining room.

"Dear Aunt Olga, I've got such quantities of things to show you!" she
cried, "and as you said I might choose, may I please have new chintz
to my bed, and no pattern on it, so that it can't come out and be
Imps--I mean, have funny shapes on it. And may my old curtains be put
in the Servants' Hall? He says it will be more cheerful for him, and
though, of course, he's been very kind to me, I think I would rather
he went somewhere else. Besides, it _is_ dull for him up there, all by
himself--I mean, it would be dull for _any_ kind of chintz."

"I do think Santa Klaus has got into your head, Marianne!" said Aunt
Olga, laughing; but she promised to buy the new curtains.

In course of time they arrived--the palest blue, with little harmless
frillings to them; and the old chintz was carried off to the Servants'
Hall to make a box cover.

There it still hangs, and if you stoop down and examine it closely,
you will see the Chintz Imp looking more lively than ever, with his
green hat on one side, and a twinkling red eye on the watch for any
sort of amusement.

Marianne often goes to see him, but, rather to her disappointment, he
looks the other way, and appears not to recognize her.

"Perhaps it's just as well," she says to herself, "for he seems very
happy, and if the servants knew he was here I believe they would turn
him out immediately."

The Imp In The Chintz Curtain - Part 7

"Of course, I'm very grateful," said Marianne. "I wish he had brought
you something, though I'm sure I don't know what would be useful to

"Well, I should like a good many things," replied the Chintz Imp,
perching himself on a brass knob at the end of the bedstead, "and one
or two I think you can get me easily. I'm tired of this room and the
little society I see, and I long for the great world. Can't you get me
put on a settee in the Servants' Hall, or somewhere lively?"

"I'll ask Aunt Olga," said Marianne. "She promised me a Christmas
present, and I was to choose. Suppose I choose new bed curtains?"

"Certainly," said the Chintz Imp, "but be sure you bargain to hang me
in some cheerful place. Sixty years in one room is too much of a good
thing--I want a change!" and he stretched himself wearily.

"I really will do my best for you," said Marianne. "I'm afraid you're
too faded for the drawing-room, but I won't have new curtains until I
can see you put somewhere nice. I suppose you wouldn't like the

"Decidedly not," replied the Chintz Imp. "Dull places. No fun, and
nothing going on. The Servants' Hall, or stay where I am!" He folded
his green arms with determination.

"I'm sure I can manage it," said Marianne, and fell asleep again while
she was arranging the words in which she should make the suggestion to
Aunt Olga.

The next day Marianne awoke betimes, and immediately inspected the
contents of her stocking.

There, stuffed clumsily inside it, was everything she had been wishing
for during the year, and more too!

The Imp In The Chintz Curtain - Part 6

She was awakened by a loud _thump!_ that seemed to shake the very bed
in which she was lying; and as she sprang up in a state of great
excitement, she saw Santa Klaus picking himself up from the hearthrug
on which he had apparently fallen with great violence.

"Oh dear!" cried Marianne, "I hope you are not hurt? How careless of
the Chintz Imp to throw you down like that!"

"It was no one's fault but my own," said Santa Klaus as he dusted the
remains of soot and plaster off his brown cloak. "I should have
remembered my experience with your great-aunt, but I knew how much you
wanted that paint-box," and he slipped into Marianne's stocking a
japanned box with a whole sheaf of paint brushes.

"Oh, thank you, Santa Klaus! You can't think how I've wished for it;
my own is such a horrid little thing. And those beautiful pictures for
my scrap-book, and the things for the doll's house--and I _really_
believe that's the book of fairy tales I've been longing for for

Marianne's face shone with delighted expectation as she opened the top
of her stocking and peeped in.

"Not till the morning," cried Santa Klaus; "you know my rule," and
patting Marianne on the head, he disappeared, with his sack much
lightened, up the chimney.

"Oh, do come here!" cried Marianne to the Chintz Imp. "I must talk to

"I think you certainly _ought_ to talk to me," said the Chintz Imp,
coming carefully down the brickwork, hand over hand, and laying the
knife down in the fender. "Without me you wouldn't have had a single

The Imp In The Chintz Curtain - Part 5

The warning was just in time, for, as Marianne's head disappeared, a
handful of cement fell rattling into the fireplace, just escaping her
bare feet as she jumped on to the hearthrug.

"The knife does beautifully," cried the voice of the Chintz Imp. "I
think when I've loosened this paint box, he'll fall down immediately."

"Oh, do be careful!" said Marianne. "A paint box is what I've been
longing for! Don't chip it if you can possibly help it!"

"Of course I shan't," replied the Chintz Imp. "If he wouldn't kick so
much, I should get him out in half the time."

"I'm not kicking," cried Santa Klaus's voice indignantly. "I've been
as still as a rock, even with that horrid penknife close to my ear the
whole time."

"Have a little patience," said the Chintz Imp soothingly. "I promise
not to hurt you."

Marianne began to feel very cold. The excitement, so far, had buoyed
her up; but now the monotonous _chip, chipping_ of the Chintz Imp
continued so long that she jumped into her chintz-curtained bed,
determined to stay there until something new and interesting called
her up again.

"I can't do any good, so I may as well be comfortable," she thought,
and pulled the eider-down quilt up to her chin luxuriously.

"I _hope_ he'll get out! It _would_ be a disappointment to have that
paint-box taken away again. Perhaps it would be given to someone who
wouldn't care for it. I wonder if it's tin, with moist colours? I must
ask Uncle Max to have that chimney made wider----" At this point
Marianne's eyes closed and she fell asleep.

The Imp In The Chintz Curtain - Part 4

"Of course," said the Chintz Imp. "Do you think I am as old as your
great-aunt, without knowing much more than _you_ do! Bring me the
knife. I'm going to swarm up the chimney and scratch away the mortar.
Leave it entirely to me, and Santa Klaus will be down here in an hour
or two!"

Marianne ran off to her little play box, and returned with the knife.
It was almost as large as the Chintz Imp, but he possessed so much
wiry strength in his thin arms and backbone that he was able to
clamber up the chimney without difficulty.

"Are you all right?" cried Marianne, standing with her bare feet on
the edge of the stone fender, and holding up the night-light as high
as she could without singeing Santa Klaus.

"Getting up," replied the Chintz Imp, "but he's in very tight!"

"Is it his sack that's stuck?" enquired Marianne, anxiously.

"Yes, yes! It's only my sack!" cried the deep voice; "you get that
loose, and I shall drop into the room like a fairy."

Marianne strained her eyes up the chimney, but could see nothing.

"Take care! Here's a lot of plaster falling!"

The Imp In The Chintz Curtain - Part 3

"Oh, what _am_ I to do?" exclaimed Marianne anxiously, "I'm not tall
enough to reach you! Shall I fetch my Aunt Olga, or would you prefer
my old nurse?"

"Certainly not," said the voice, with decision. "I have never been
seen by a grown-up person, and I don't intend to begin now. Either you
must get me down by yourself, or I shall manage to work out at the top
again--and then I'm sorry to say you'll have to go without your

Marianne sat down on the hearthrug in a state of anxious
consideration. There waved the great brown feet, and two or three
steps would land them safely on the hearthrug, but how could it
possibly be managed?

The Chintz Imp curled up his green legs and sat down beside her, his
bright red eyes blinking thoughtfully.

"We must hang on to him," he said at last; "or what do you say to my
trying to collect a dozen or so children, to pull?"

"Why they'd all be in bed hours ago," said Marianne. "Besides, their
parents would never let them come, and Uncle Max would want to know
whatever we were doing."

"Yes. I see _that_ idea is no good. Have you such a thing as a
pocket-knife?" enquired the Chintz Imp.

"A beauty," said Marianne; "four blades, a button-hook, and a

"Ah, the corkscrew might be of some use if we could draw him out with
it; but he might object. However, I'll try what I can do with the

"You won't cut him! You'll have to be very careful!"

The Imp In The Chintz Curtain - Part 2

"_I_ should never think you were an earwig--you're too pink and
green--but don't talk, I can hear something buzzing."

"Santa Klaus doesn't buzz," said the Chintz Imp. "He comes down
_flop!_ Once in your aunt's time, I knew him nearly stick in the
chimney. He had too many things in his sack. You should have heard how
he struggled, it was like thunder! Everyone said how high the wind

"I hope he won't do it to-night," said Marianne, "I could never pull
him down by myself!"

As she spoke the room seemed to be violently shaken, and there was a
sound of falling plaster, followed by some loud kicks.

"Whew--w!" cried the Chintz Imp, "he's done it again!"

Marianne started up in great excitement. She sprang from her bed, and
ran towards the old-fashioned fireplace.

Nothing was at first to be seen; but as the fire had died down to a
few hot embers, Marianne could, by craning her head forwards, look
right up into the misty darkness of the great chimney.

There, to her astonishment, she saw a pair of large brown-covered feet
hanging down helplessly; while a deep voice from above cried--

"Get me out of this, or I shall break down the chimney!"

The Imp In The Chintz Curtain - Part 1

He was a wicked-looking Imp, and he lived in a bed curtain.

No one knew he was in the house, not even the master and mistress. The
little girl who slept in the chintz-curtained bed was the only person
who knew of his existence, and she never mentioned him, even to her
old nurse.

She had made his acquaintance one Christmas Eve, as she lay awake,
trying to keep her tired eyes open long enough to see Santa Klaus come
down the chimney. The Imp sprang into view with a _cr-r-r-ick,
cr-r-r-ack_ of falling wood in the great fireplace, and there he stood
bowing to Marianne from the left-hand corner of the chintz curtain.

A green leaf formed his hat, some straggling branches his feet; his
thin body was a single rose-stem, and his red face a crumpled

A flaw in the printing of the chintz curtain had given him life--a
life distinct from that of the other rose leaves.

"You're lying awake very late to-night--what's that for?" he enquired,
shaking the leaf he wore upon his head, and looking at Marianne

"Why, don't you see I'm waiting for Santa Klaus?" replied Marianne.
"I've always missed him before, but this time _nothing_ shall make me
go to sleep!" She sat up in bed and opened her eyes as widely as

"He has generally been here before this," said the Imp. "I can
remember your great-aunt sleeping in this very bed and being in just
the same fuss. I got down and danced about all night, and she thought
I was earwigs."

The Troll In The Church Fountain - Chapter 3, Part 3

"That's a good morning's work, wife; if you never do another:" said
the Bride's father, who had come into the kitchen just as Terli upset
the bowl of butter-milk, and fell through the pine branches headlong
into the tub beneath. "We shall live in peace and quietness now, for
Terli was the most mischievous of the whole of the Troll-folk."

The words of the Bride's father proved to be quite true, for after the
capture of the Water-Troll the village enjoyed many years of quietness
and contentment.

As to Terli, he lived in great unhappiness in the Church Fountain;
enduring a terrible series of tooth-aches, but unable to escape from
the magic power of the water.

At the end of that time, however, a falling tree split the sides of
the carved stone basin into fragments, and the Troll, escaping with
the water which flowed out, darted from the Churchyard and safely
reached his old home in the bed of the mountain torrent.

"The Church Fountain is broken, and Terli has escaped," said the good
folks the next morning--and the old people shook their heads gravely,
in alarm--but I suppose Terli had had a good lesson, for he never
troubled the village any more.