ALL the wood had been blue with violets, but now they were nearly gone. The birds sang louder and louder to keep them and to call them back, but soon there was not a violet left in all the wood from end to end. The snowdrops died, and the primrose faded, the cowslips and blue-bells vanished, the thorn grew white with blossom, the wild honeysuckle filled the wood with its fragrance, and soon the fruit began to ripen.
The blackbirds and the swallows and the chaffinches, and all the birds they knew, gathered round the garden trees and bushes, and forgot the woods, until suddenly one day they espied a little child. She was sitting on a chair under a tree; she had a little table before her and a pink ribbon round her hat; she was eating fruit with a large silver spoon. The birds were afraid, and held aloof until a sparrow chirped and the child looked up, and when they saw how blue her eyes were, they sang out bravely and fluttered round her, thinking that she had brought them news from the violets. But she never looked up again, though the birds crowded on to the branch above her, and perched upon’ the table, and rubbed their little beaks against her plate. She just held on her hat with one hand, and with the other went on taking up fruit with a silver spoon.
“Ah, dear child,” a swallow twittered, “perhaps you do not know what is written in your eyes; so many of us carry secrets that we ourselves know last of all”