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The Wonderful Castle of Cause and Effect.

OF course your mother has told you (so, it's hardly worth mentioning except so you'll know what my story's about), that our little baby brothers and sisters are not babies at all, but fairies pretending they are babies, sent by fairy queen Alicia, whose other name (and the chil­dren like it best), is the Happiness Fairy.

The Happiness Fairy lives in the beautiful silver and gold castle of Cause and Effect.

This wonderful castle is filled with everything one can imagine to delight little girls and boys, and Alicia is a beautiful queen with hair like threads of spun gold, and eyes like violets. She wears dresses of flower petals, sewed by her loving subjects: some­times of pansies, sometimes of lilies of the valley, and so on, – all so fresh and lovely that you can hardly tell which to choose.

Now my story is about a little girl who took away her fairy brother's toys – and did a number of things that neither fairies nor babies like not knowing, that when he cried, he was telling the Happiness Queen about it.

Of course it is the Happiness Queen's business to see that all children are happy; and of course the little girl couldn't be happy when she was unkind to her baby – I should say "fairy" – brother. That is why I am going to tell you about this little girl, whose name I had rather not tell, since you may know her. And when you see what happened, I am sure you will decide never to treat a fairy baby as she did.

One day the nurse gave a cracker to the fairy brother, who had only a few teeth, but enough to chew a cracker. When she went out of the room the little girl took the cracker away from the fairy brother.

He cried of course. Then all of a sudden, right before her eyes, he turned into a bottle green fairy with beautiful gauzy wings and twinkling eyes, which she couldn't believe had been filled with tears a mo­ment ago.

"Come, quickly!" he said, seizing the little girl's hand.

She had no choice but to go. So away they went, spinning through the air, over houses and tree-tops, with the wind blowing her hair out straight behind.


At last they came to a mountain where stood a shining castle of silver and gold.

"How I wish we could go in there." thought the little girl.

While she was wishing it the fairy brother plumped right down in front of the castle, and without giving her time to catch her breath, led her up the marble steps and into the front door!

Of course children can go wherever fairies can: and if you think this castle was small, because it was a fairy castle, you should have followed them, as they went through room after room, laid with carpets of silver and gold, and glittering with precious stones.

Finally they stepped into a big room filled with happy children, where fairies dressed in pink rose petals were passing pink ice-cream. Would you believe, they didn’t pass the little girl any ice-cream?

She didn’t ask for any, because she had learned to be polite, even though her mother had not been able to teach her to be kind. But her lip began to tremble, and she went to Queen Alicia, who was dressed like a buttercup that day.

"Queen Alicia," she said (remembering that it was not polite to ask for ice-cream), "little girls love ice cream, do they not?"

"Indeed they do! " replied the queen, "and it is a pity you cannot eat it!"

"Oh, but I can!" cried the little girl, almost for­getting her manners.

"I do not mean that you are not able to," said the queen, "but it will melt!"

The little girl was puzzled, as she saw that the others were eating it, so Queen Alicia called a rose fairy and told her to offer the little girl a plate of ice­-cream. Can you believe, that when she reached out to take it, it melted away, dish and all?

"O dear!" cried the little girl.

The queen looked very sorry.

"You see I cannot help it," she said in a kind sweet voice, "even if I am a fairy queen. The ice-cream melts away because you took your fairy brother's cracker to-day."

That was bad enough, but what do you suppose happened next?

The little girl heard music, and following the sound, entered a large room full of merry, dancing children. All around were beautiful trees and flowers; singing birds of every color flew about, and in the centre of the room a fountain tossed up gold and silver balls.

A little boy asked the little girl to dance, and bow­ing politely, she held out her hand. To her surprise, he seemed to move away from her, and though she followed, he was always just beyond her reach, hold­ing out his hands to her. Then she saw that the whole room was moving away from her; and try as she would, she could not get into the circle of merry little boys and girls.

One of the queen's fairies in waiting said in a sor­rowful voice:

"It is too bad! but you took your little fairy brother's blocks this morning, when he was playing contentedly. Of course a little girl who did that cannot get into any happy circle."

Don't you think the little girl felt sorry when she remembered she had done that very thing?

She walked quickly out of the room – then stood by the door watching the children, and couldn't help shedding a few tears.

Wandering to the next room, her eyes feasted on another happy sight. A flood of sunshine poured in upon hundreds of children playing with toys of every kind. Fairies about the room gave the children whatever they wished to play with; so the little girl went to the fairy in charge of the dolls, and picked out a baby doll in long clothes (I can't imagine why, as she didn't seem to care for babies).

Her heart went pitapat when the fairy offered her the doll. But dear me! the minute it touched the little girl's arms it crumbled away, and there was left only a little pile of white dust at her feet!

"Oh!" cried the fairy. "You would not amuse your fairy brother this morning, while nurse fixed his bath. I am so sorry, because you cannot play with the children, and all the toys you touch will crumble away."

The little girl saw that it was all her own doing, and hurried out of the castle, ashamed to find how many naughty things she had done in one day.

"Have you had a nice time?" asked Queen Alicia, standing at the door.

The little girl hung her head and did not answer.

"Never mind, little one," said the Happiness Queen. "This is the first time you have been to my castle; but you may come again, and we shall see what happens then."

With a wave of her wand she called the fairy brother, who took the little girl spinning home the way they had come.

By rights this is the end of the story; but if you will put up your ear, and promise to keep a secret, I'll tell you what happened.

She did come back to the castle, and had all the ice-cream she could eat, and nothing crumbled away.

Moreover, she had a glorious ride behind the Happi­ness Queen's six white ponies, and that means that she hadn’t teased her fairy brother one tiny mite in a whole month.

 

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