Once upon a time there was a good
old woman who lived in a little house.
She had in her garden a bed of beautiful striped tulips.
One night she was wakened by the sounds of sweet singing and of babies
laughing. She looked out at the window. The sounds seemed to come from the
tulip bed, but she could see nothing.
The next morning she walked among her flowers, but there were no signs of
any one having been there the night before.
On the following night she was again wakened by sweet singing and babies
laughing. She rose and stole softly through her garden. The moon was
shining brightly on the tulip bed, and the flowers were swaying to and
fro. The old woman looked closely and she saw, standing by each tulip, a
little Fairy mother who was crooning and rocking the flower like a cradle,
while in each tulip-cup lay a little Fairy baby laughing and playing.
The good old woman stole quietly back to her house, and from that time on
she never picked a tulip, nor did she allow her neighbors to touch the
The tulips grew daily brighter in color and larger in size, and they gave
out a delicious perfume like that of roses. They began, too, to bloom all
the year round. And every night the little Fairy mothers caressed their
babies and rocked them to sleep in the flower-cups.
The day came when the good old woman died, and the tulip-bed was torn up
by folks who did not know about the Fairies, and parsley was planted there
instead of the flowers. But the parsley withered, and so did all the other
plants in the garden, and from that time nothing would grow there.
But the good old woman's grave grew beautiful, for the Fairies sang above
it, and kept it green; while on the grave and all around it there sprang
up tulips, daffodils, and violets, and other lovely flowers of spring.
Folktale courtesy of Clan of the Faerie
artwork by Brian L. Froud
Copyright Jeffrey K. Bedrick