THE ORACLE OF THE MEADOWS.
awoke with the dawn, and took the path to the meadow.
The bird had but just begun its sweet warble:
the flowers still hung their heads, laden with dew.
Anna looked round in every direction, and at
length stopped before a daisy.
It was the finest daisy in the field. Freshly
opened on its graceful little stem, it was looking sweetly up to heaven.
“There,” said Anna, “is what I have come to
“Beautiful daisy,” said she, as she bent over
the fair prophetess, “you are about to reveal to me my secret. Does he love
Instantly she heard the daisy utter a fain,
plaintive cry, and say: –
“Like thee, little Anna, I have been young and
pretty. Like thee, I have lived and have loved.
“Ludwig never went to a flower, to know
whether I loved him.
“He asked me the question himself, – wresting
from me each day a syllable of the word love, and forcing me by degrees to
confess it all. As you pluck away, one by one, my leaves, so, gradually, did he
deprive me of those precious sentiments, which are the safeguard of innocence.
“As my corolla will be, when thou shalt have
plucked all the leaves, so naked and unshielded remained my poor heart. I was
distressed: I regretted the loss of my white leaves – my precious sentiments.
“Harm not the daisy, little Anna, for the
daisy is thy sister. Let it enjoy the life which God has given it. As a reward,
I will tell thee my secret.
“Men treat women as the latter treat the
daisy. They wish for an answer to the double question – ‘Does she love me? –
does she not love me?’ Young girl, never reply to it. Man will cast thee off,
after having plucked away thy leaves.”
It is not known whether little Anna availed
herself of the daisy’s secret.
This divination by the daisy, is conducted as follows: The young maiden, holding
the flower in her hand, first asks the question, “M’aime-t-il?” She then repeats
successively the phrases, “Il m’aime, un peu, – beaucoup, – passionnement, – pas
du tout;” and, with each phrase, plucks a white leaf from the daisy. The phrase
corresponding with the last leaf plucked, gives the response. – [Tr.