Little Boy Blue

Once upon a time, there was a little boy called “Little Boy Blue” because that wasn’t his name. He lived on a farm with his mother and daddy and three cows, and ten woolly sheep, and a little white lamb, and a flower garden.

Little Boy Blue loved the three cows, the ten woolly sheep, and the little white lamb, but most especially he loved the flower garden and all the flowers in it. One day, his daddy brought him a blue horn with golden stars painted on it. And when the Little Boy blew the horn, it sounded mighty sweet to him, like bread and honey, and it sounded mighty sweet to the cows in the meadow, like wavy yellow corn, and it sounded mighty sweet to the woolly sheep, like grass and singing brooks, and it sounded mighty sweet to the white lamb, like his mother calling him. But to the fairies who lived in the garden, it sounded sweetest of all, like dancing in the moonlight.

Little Boy Blue played all day in the garden until, when the shadows had put the sun to bed and the birds were singing lullabies, the night wind came to the garden bearing a message from his mother: “Come home, Little Boy Blue. Supper time, and bed time, too. Little Boy Blue, I’m calling you.”

The Little Boy tucked his blue horn with the golden stars under his arm and waved “Good Night” to the flowers in the garden. The roses bowed goodnight, and the forget-me-nots courtesied goodnight, and the merry columbine nodded goodnight, but one little purple pansy was nowhere to be seen. I will tell you why. The pansy had crept into the horn, and when Little Boy Blue went home, the pansy went too. And when he was tucked into bed with his blue horn with golden stars beside him, the little purple pansy lay quiet until the moon looked in the window.

Then an exciting thing happened! You know, when the moon shines, the fairies leave their flower homes and dance in the meadow until daylight. So when the first ray of moonlight climbed down the sky, up jumped the purple pansy fairy and sang:

“Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn, The fairies will dance on the meadow till morn.”

Little Boy Blue sat up and rubbed one eye, but before he could rub the other eye, the pansy fairy had whisked him out of the room and down the stairs and into the meadow below the garden gate. He didn’t forget the blue horn with the golden stars—the pansy fairy saw to that. The moonlight followed them into the meadow, and as the Little Boy blew his horn, all the fairy music came pouring out, like stars playing tag with each other, and the fairy sang:

“Under the greenwood tree Who loves to dance with me, Come hither, come hither, come hither.”

The fairies that lived in the flowers in the garden jumped up when they heard the sound. Out of the tulip came a young lady fairy in a bright red skirt. Out of the daisy came a fat little boy in white. Out of the forget-me-not came a wee baby in blue. Out of the violet came a darling little girl in the palest purple. Out of the roses came lovely fairies, all in pink. And out of the water-lily nearest the fountain, the queen of the fairies, in a white satin dress and golden crown. She could open the gate by herself, and she led the fairies out on the green grass, and they danced while Little Boy Blue played sweet music.

All night long, they danced and danced until, first thing you know, they heard a sound. It was the cock telling them that morning was on the way. “Cock-a-doodle-doo, the sun is after you. The fairies all must go to sleep, and so must Little Boy Blue. Cock-a-doodle-doo.”

The little purple pansy fairy was the last to go, and just before she left, she threw some fairy dust into the Little Boy’s eyes. And he rubbed his eyes and he rubbed his eyes, but the sleepy feeling wouldn’t go away. He dropped down by the haystack in the meadow, and before the morning sun could creep through the grasses, he was fast asleep. The fairies hurried to the garden and cuddled in the flowers, for if they don’t get in their beds in time, the sun will change them into butterflies, and they must fly all day from flower to flower with nowhere to rest. And they get so sleepy.

And the sun woke the three cows and the ten woolly sheep and the little white lamb, but it couldn’t wake Little Boy Blue because of the fairy dust in his eyes. His daddy looked for him and said, “Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn. The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn. Where is the little boy that tends the sheep? Under the haystack, fast asleep!”

Bye and bye, he awoke and ran home to tell his mother all about his remarkable adventure.