``Whenever a good child dies, an angel of God comes down from heaven,
takes the dead child in his arms, spreads out his great white wings,
and flies with him over all the places which the child had loved
during his life. Then he gathers a large handful of flowers, which he
carries up to the Almighty, that they may bloom more brightly in
heaven than they do on earth. And the Almighty presses the flowers to
His heart, but He kisses the flower that pleases Him best, and it
receives a voice, and is able to join the song of the chorus of

These words were spoken by an angel of God, as he carried a dead child
up to heaven, and the child listened as if in a dream. Then they
passed over wellknown spots, where the little one had often played,
and through beautiful gardens full of lovely flowers.

``Which of these shall we take with us to heaven to be transplanted
there?'' asked the angel.

Close by grew a slender, beautiful, rose-bush, but some wicked hand
had broken the stem, and the half-opened rosebuds hung faded and
withered on the trailing branches.

``Poor rose-bush!'' said the child, ``let us take it with us to
heaven, that it may bloom above in God's garden.''

The angel took up the rose-bush; then he kissed the child, and the
little one half opened his eyes. The angel gathered also some
beautiful flowers, as well as a few humble buttercups and

``Now we have flowers enough,'' said the child; but the angel only
nodded, he did not fly upward to heaven.

It was night, and quite still in the great town. Here they remained,
and the angel hovered over a small, narrow street, in which lay a
large heap of straw, ashes, and sweepings from the houses of people
who had removed. There lay fragments of plates, pieces of plaster,
rags, old hats, and other rubbish not pleasant to see. Amidst all this
confusion, the angel pointed to the pieces of a broken flower-pot, and
to a lump of earth which had fallen out of it. The earth had been kept
from falling to pieces by the roots of a withered field-flower, which
had been thrown amongst the rubbish.

``We will take this with us,'' said the angel, ``I will tell you why
as we fly along.''

And as they flew the angel related the history.

``Down in that narrow lane, in a low cellar, lived a poor sick boy; he
had been afflicted from his childhood, and even in his best days he
could just manage to walk up and down the room on crutches once or
twice, but no more. During some days in summer, the sunbeams would lie
on the floor of the cellar for about half an hour. In this spot the
poor sick boy would sit warming himself in the sunshine, and watching
the red blood through his delicate fingers as he held them before his
face. Then he would say he had been out, yet he knew nothing of the
green forest in its spring verdure, till a neighbor's son brought him
a green bough from a beech-tree. This he would place over his head,
and fancy that he was in the beech-wood while the sun shone, and the
birds carolled gayly. One spring day the neighbor's boy brought him
some field-flowers, and among them was one to which the root still
adhered. This he carefully planted in a flower-pot, and placed in a
window-seat near his bed. And the flower had been planted by a
fortunatehand, for it grew, put forth fresh shoots, and blossomed
every year. It became a splendid flower-garden to the sick boy, and
his little treasure upon earth. He watered it, and cherished it, and
took care it should have the benefit of every sunbeam that found its
way into the cellar, from the earliest morning ray to the evening
sunset. The flower entwined itself even in his dreams ---for him it
bloomed, for him spread its perfume. And it gladdened his eyes, and to
the flower he turned, even in death, when the Lord called him. He has
been one year with God. During that time the flower has stood in the
window, withered and forgotten, till at length cast out among the
sweepings into the street, on the day of the lodgers' removal. And
this poor flower, withered and faded as it is, we have added to our
nosegay, because it gave more real joy than the most beautiful flower
in the garden of a queen.''

``But how do you know all this?'' asked the child whom the angel was
carrying to heaven.

``I know it,'' said the angel, ``because I myself was the poor sick
boy who walked upon crutches, and I know my own flower well.''

Then the child opened his eyes and looked into the glorious happy face
of the angel, and at the same moment they found themselves in that
heavenly home where all is happiness and joy. And God pressed the dead
child to His heart, and wings were given him so that he could fly with
the angel, hand in hand. Then the Almighty pressed all the flowers to
His heart; but He kissed the withered fieldflower, and it received a
voice. Then it joined in the song of the angels, who surrounded the
throne, some near, and others in a distant circle, but all equally
happy. They all joined in the chorus of praise, both great and small,
---the good, happy child, and the poor field-flower, that once lay withered
and cast away on a heap of rubbish in a narrow, dark street.