文章来源: 文章作者: 发布时间:2008-06-11 02:57 字体: [ ]  进入论坛
    IT was the month of May. The wind still blew cold; but
from bush and tree, field and flower, came the welcome sound,
"Spring is come." Wild-flowers in profusion1 covered the
hedges. Under the little apple-tree, Spring seemed busy, and
told his tale from one of the branches which hung fresh and
blooming, and covered with delicate pink blossoms that were
just ready to open. The branch well knew how beautiful it was;
this knowledge exists as much in the leaf as in the blood; I
was therefore not surprised when a nobleman's carriage, in
which sat the young countess, stopped in the road just by. She
said that an apple-branch was a most lovely object, and an
emblem of spring in its most charming aspect. Then the branch
was broken off for her, and she held it in her delicate hand,
and sheltered it with her silk parasol. Then they drove to the
castle, in which were lofty halls and splendid drawing-rooms.
Pure white curtains fluttered before the open windows, and
beautiful flowers stood in shining, transparent2 vases; and in
one of them, which looked as if it had been cut out of newly
fallen snow, the apple-branch was placed, among some fresh,
light twigs3 of beech4. It was a charming sight. Then the branch
became proud, which was very much like human nature.

    People of every description entered the room, and,
according to their position in society, so dared they to
express their admiration5. Some few said nothing, others
expressed too much, and the apple-branch very soon got to
understand that there was as much difference in the characters
of human beings as in those of plants and flowers. Some are
all for pomp and parade, others have a great deal to do to
maintain their own importance, while the rest might be spared
without much loss to society. So thought the apple-branch, as
he stood before the open window, from which he could see out
over gardens and fields, where there were flowers and plants
enough for him to think and reflect upon; some rich and
beautiful, some poor and humble6 indeed.

    "Poor, despised herbs," said the apple-branch; "there is
really a difference between them and such as I am. How unhappy
they must be, if they can feel as those in my position do!
There is a difference indeed, and so there ought to be, or we
should all be equals."

    And the apple-branch looked with a sort of pity upon them,
especially on a certain little flower that is found in fields
and in ditches. No one bound these flowers together in a
nosegay; they were too common; they were even known to grow
between the paving-stones, shooting up everywhere, like bad
weeds; and they bore the very ugly name of "dog-flowers" or

    "Poor, despised plants," said the apple-bough, "it is not
your fault that you are so ugly, and that you have such an
ugly name; but it is with plants as with men,- there must be a

    "A difference!" cried the sunbeam, as he kissed the
blooming apple-branch, and then kissed the yellow dandelion
out in the fields. All were brothers, and the sunbeam kissed
them- the poor flowers as well as the rich.

    The apple-bough had never thought of the boundless7 love of
God, which extends over all the works of creation, over
everything which lives, and moves, and has its being in Him;
he had never thought of the good and beautiful which are so
often hidden, but can never remain forgotten by Him,- not only
among the lower creation, but also among men. The sunbeam, the
ray of light, knew better.

    "You do not see very far, nor very clearly," he said to
the apple-branch. "Which is the despised plant you so
specially pity?"

    "The dandelion," he replied. "No one ever places it in a
nosegay; it is often trodden under foot, there are so many of
them; and when they run to seed, they have flowers like wool,
which fly away in little pieces over the roads, and cling to
the dresses of the people. They are only weeds; but of course
there must be weeds. O, I am really very thankful that I was
not made like one of these flowers."

    There came presently across the fields a whole group of
children, the youngest of whom was so small that it had to be
carried by the others; and when he was seated on the grass,
among the yellow flowers, he laughed aloud with joy, kicked
out his little legs, rolled about, plucked the yellow flowers,
and kissed them in childlike innocence8. The elder children
broke off the flowers with long stems, bent9 the stalks one
round the other, to form links, and made first a chain for the
neck, then one to go across the shoulders, and hang down to
the waist, and at last a wreath to wear round the head, so
that they looked quite splendid in their garlands of green
stems and golden flowers. But the eldest10 among them gathered
carefully the faded flowers, on the stem of which was grouped
together the seed, in the form of a white feathery coronal.
These loose, airy wool-flowers are very beautiful, and look
like fine snowy feathers or down. The children held them to
their mouths, and tried to blow away the whole coronal with
one puff11 of the breath. They had been told by their
grandmothers that who ever did so would be sure to have new
clothes before the end of the year. The despised flower was by
this raised to the position of a prophet or foreteller12 of

    "Do you see," said the sunbeam, "do you see the beauty of
these flowers? do you see their powers of giving pleasure?"

    "Yes, to children," said the apple-bough.

    By-and-by an old woman came into the field, and, with a
blunt knife without a handle, began to dig round the roots of
some of the dandelion-plants, and pull them up. With some of
these she intended to make tea for herself; but the rest she
was going to sell to the chemist, and obtain some money.

    "But beauty is of higher value than all this," said the
apple-tree branch; "only the chosen ones can be admitted into
the realms of the beautiful. There is a difference between
plants, just as there is a difference between men."

    Then the sunbeam spoke13 of the boundless love of God, as
seen in creation, and over all that lives, and of the equal
distribution of His gifts, both in time and in eternity14.

    "That is your opinion," said the apple-bough.

    Then some people came into the room, and, among them, the
young countess,- the lady who had placed the apple-bough in
the transparent vase, so pleasantly beneath the rays of the
sunlight. She carried in her hand something that seemed like a
flower. The object was hidden by two or three great leaves,
which covered it like a shield, so that no draught15 or gust16 of
wind could injure it, and it was carried more carefully than
the apple-branch had ever been. Very cautiously the large
leaves were removed, and there appeared the feathery
seed-crown of the despised dandelion. This was what the lady
had so carefully plucked, and carried home so safely covered,
so that not one of the delicate feathery arrows of which its
mist-like shape was so lightly formed, should flutter away.
She now drew it forth17 quite uninjured, and wondered at its
beautiful form, and airy lightness, and singular construction,
so soon to be blown away by the wind.

    "See," she exclaimed, "how wonderfully God has made this
little flower. I will paint it with the apple-branch together.
Every one admires the beauty of the apple-bough; but this
humble flower has been endowed by Heaven with another kind of
loveliness; and although they differ in appearance, both are
the children of the realms of beauty."

    Then the sunbeam kissed the lowly flower, and he kissed
the blooming apple-branch, upon whose leaves appeared a rosy

                            THE END


1 profusion e1JzW     
  • He is liberal to profusion.他挥霍无度。
  • The leaves are falling in profusion.落叶纷纷。
2 transparent Smhwx     
  • The water is so transparent that we can see the fishes swimming.水清澈透明,可以看到鱼儿游来游去。
  • The window glass is transparent.窗玻璃是透明的。
3 twigs 17ff1ed5da672aa443a4f6befce8e2cb     
细枝,嫩枝( twig的名词复数 )
  • Some birds build nests of twigs. 一些鸟用树枝筑巢。
  • Willow twigs are pliable. 柳条很软。
4 beech uynzJF     
  • Autumn is the time to see the beech woods in all their glory.秋天是观赏山毛榉林的最佳时期。
  • Exasperated,he leaped the stream,and strode towards beech clump.他满腔恼怒,跳过小河,大踏步向毛榉林子走去。
5 admiration afpyA     
  • He was lost in admiration of the beauty of the scene.他对风景之美赞不绝口。
  • We have a great admiration for the gold medalists.我们对金牌获得者极为敬佩。
6 humble ddjzU     
  • In my humble opinion,he will win the election.依我拙见,他将在选举中获胜。
  • Defeat and failure make people humble.挫折与失败会使人谦卑。
7 boundless kt8zZ     
  • The boundless woods were sleeping in the deep repose of nature.无边无际的森林在大自然静寂的怀抱中酣睡着。
  • His gratitude and devotion to the Party was boundless.他对党无限感激、无限忠诚。
8 innocence ZbizC     
  • There was a touching air of innocence about the boy.这个男孩有一种令人感动的天真神情。
  • The accused man proved his innocence of the crime.被告人经证实无罪。
9 bent QQ8yD     
  • He was fully bent upon the project.他一心扑在这项计划上。
  • We bent over backward to help them.我们尽了最大努力帮助他们。
10 eldest bqkx6     
  • The King's eldest son is the heir to the throne.国王的长子是王位的继承人。
  • The castle and the land are entailed on the eldest son.城堡和土地限定由长子继承。
11 puff y0cz8     
  • He took a puff at his cigarette.他吸了一口香烟。
  • They tried their best to puff the book they published.他们尽力吹捧他们出版的书。
12 foreteller 1bf3151c072a864a34e291be9cf0143e     
13 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
14 eternity Aiwz7     
  • The dull play seemed to last an eternity.这场乏味的剧似乎演个没完没了。
  • Finally,Ying Tai and Shan Bo could be together for all of eternity.英台和山伯终能双宿双飞,永世相随。
15 draught 7uyzIH     
  • He emptied his glass at one draught.他将杯中物一饮而尽。
  • It's a pity the room has no north window and you don't get a draught.可惜这房间没北窗,没有过堂风。
16 gust q5Zyu     
  • A gust of wind blew the front door shut.一阵大风吹来,把前门关上了。
  • A gust of happiness swept through her.一股幸福的暖流流遍她的全身。
17 forth Hzdz2     
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。