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A Story for children age 4 to 6.

The enchanted castle.

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"Primroses, the Spring may love them, Summer knows but little of them." --_Wordsworth._ ONE day a little German girl was gathering flowers in the meadows, when she was met by a wonderful maiden. Wondrous fair the maiden was to look upon. Her dress was of pale green velvet, with streaks of bright crimson. In her hand she carried a basket of spring flowers, and on her head she wore a wreath of pale yellow blossoms. Her voice was like the sound of silver bells. "Lisbeth, you are a good child," she said. "You have done your best to help your sick mother, and now tell me, what are you going to do with the flowers you are gathering?" And the little girl replied, "I am gathering them for mother. She loves the spring flowers, but she is too ill to gather them for herself, and she cannot afford to buy them."

"I know that you are telling the truth," said the fairy. "Your mother is sick and poor, and you want to help her. Now look at this, Lisbeth," she continued, giving the child a blossom from her basket like those upon her head, "this is a primrose. Take it, and as you walk along follow the primrose blossoms until you come to the walls of an old castle. "In the wall you will find a great doorway, covered all over with flowers. Touch the lock gently with your 'key-flower'" pointing to the primrose she had given her, "and the door will open so that you may enter the enchanted castle. I will meet you there again." Then the fairy vanished as suddenly as she had appeared, but the astonished Lisbeth did as she had been told, and followed the primroses on the banks until she reached the castle walls. She soon found the door covered with flowers, and moving aside some of the beautiful blossoms, she placed her "key-flower" upon the lock. Slowly the great door opened, but Lisbeth was so surprised at what she saw within that she was afraid to enter, and could only stand and look.

Great baskets hung from the roof of the house full of the pale yellow blossoms; banks of them were heaped around the walls; while upon the floor and tables stood vases of all shapes and sizes containing nothing but primroses. But in a few minutes she heard a sweet voice calling her, and on entering she saw once more her fairy friend. "Lisbeth," the fairy said, "come in and take what you like. Under those sweet blossoms are chests containing gold, silver and jewels. You may remove the flowers and open which you please. Take as much as you can carry, and come again as often as you like. The 'key-flower' will always admit you. "But there is one thing you must remember. You must not take away a single blossom, but every flower must be replaced where you find it. So long as you observe this rule you will always find an entrance into this home of wealth and treasure, but if you disobey punishment will quickly follow."

As she spoke these words the fairy again vanished, and Lisbeth, seeking among the flowers, found the treasure of which she had been told. Filling her apron with gold and silver, she replaced the blossoms she had removed, and hastened home to her mother. And great was the delight of the poor sick woman, for now she and her little daughter need be no longer poor. Many and many a time they visited the enchanted castle; and ever since Lisbeth told the story to her friends, the boys and girls of Germany have called the primrose the "key-flower." They believe that as long as they are good and obedient it will unlock for them the door of the enchanted castle, where treasures of wealth and happiness are to be found.


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