In February 1922, a Mrs. Cooper sent Barbara a copy of “The Treasure of the Isle of Mist” by William Woodthorpe Tarn. On February 23rd Barbara wrote to thank her, and on March 23rd wrote again:
I have now finished The Treasure of the Isle of Mist, and it is one of the most beautiful books I ever read. Fiona in the Fairy-World is the chapter that adorns the book with beauty…. [The book] has got me so interested in treasure that I also wrote a book about treasure, called The Adventures of Curis. It was also about a little girl that went hunting treasure, as you may find out when I make a good copy of the story and send it to you, and I hope you will like it. As soon as I had finished that story, I began another one called The Magic Violin. This I wrote because I got extremely interested in the violin that I got for my birthday. If you like Curis, I will send you The Magic Violin; and if you like that I will send you the next story, The Allegro of the Earth, which is about a little kitten that was so happy and gay and bouncy all the time that people called her the Allegro of the Earth.
The Adventures of Curis
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Curis. She lived with her father and mother in a little brown house in a small patch of wood. It was only a tiny wood, big enough to hold four or five big houses. The wood was not very dense, for it was brightened outside with a lovely field of buttercups. The house was small and wonderfully well built; the window-panes were marked off with pieces of wood painted white, into diamond shapes. The wood, at the time, was carpeted with wood anemones, and amongst them, like rose-buds popping out of snow, were the sweet Trailing Arbutus.
Curis’s father had often talked to Curis’s mother about a certain field of gold—you see, Curis’s mother’s room lay next to her own, and she could hear everything her mother said. They talked about it every night when Curis had gone to bed, and they talked about it in Curis’s mother’s room. Curis says to herself: “When they talk about a field of gold, they must mean that there is a regular field of it, that you could see as you go along the road, or, do they mean that one must dig down for it? Now, wherever it is I am bound to find it because mother is poor, and won’t she be pleased when I find it?” Her mother never heard her say it, but she imagined Curis heard her say it, and felt rather uneasy in her mind, for she thought that she would go off in the night for it, and then, nobody knows what would happen to her. That night Curis lay in bed and listened, and she heard her mother say: “I am worried, for her, anyhow, you see, the field is only a little way from the beginning of the Gray Route, which is a long way from here; if only the field of buttercups were gold, I shouldn’t feel worried, because it isn’t a long way off, but the Gray Route is.”
Now all the time Curis had been planning to find a treasure, herself, which was a very wonderful one. But she thought that she would get the gold first, and then do what she liked afterward. So one night she went off into the woods. She went out to the edge and looked out on the buttercups. She heard the sound of wings. She looked, it was only a little wood-bat. She went on through the buttercups, only the buttercups were all shut up for the night. After she had gone through the field, she thought she heard the tinkle of a merry little brook, she walked on, and presently she saw the little brook, rushing over the stones. She had taken with her a shovel, a pickaxe, and a big basket. She sat down on the moss by the brook, which was apple-green, but the brook was crystal and clear, oh so clear. For a long time Curis sat gazing at the brook, with its clear, crystal ripples; then she remembered that she must go on and seek the gold. So on she went again, and presently she came to the gray markings on the telephone poles, which she knew were the signs of the Gray Route. Curis said to herself: “Mother said that the Gray Route is a long way off from the house, and the gold a short distance from that. I don’t think the Gray Route is a very long way off from the house, but I suppose it is. I guess it’s only because I feel so gay this evening.” Pretty soon she came to a piece of land that looked as if it were an old piece of farming land that needed plowing very much. Curis thought she heard someone singing, indeed, she was sure of it when she reached that piece of land. It was a bird’s song, and when she went on to the piece of land she saw a big hole. She looked into it, and saw that there were boards put in the hole. Curis said to herself: “I know now that this is the place where the field of gold is, because someone has put these boards in the hole for steps to go down.” On one of the steps she saw a bird’s nest. It was built beautifully: it was made out of the stems of flowers, bound together with threads of silk. The bird, when he built his nest, left the heads of the flowers on, so the nest was quite lovely. The bird was a Golden Woodchuck: it was orange-colored, with a gray crown, and a line of gray, where each wing joined on to the body, and two green tail-feathers on both sides of the tail. Curis proceeded to go down the steps, being wonderfully careful about the little nest. Presently she came to solid gold, and she was standing on it. There was a big team at that piece of land, that went around carrying the gold, and meanwhile Curis was working away with her pickaxe, until it was her turn for the team to carry the gold home. She got all that she thought she needed, and then went home in the team, and wasn’t she glad to get into bed again. But before she went to bed, she left the gold at her mother’s door.
The next morning Curis was up very early, and dressed. But her mother stayed in bed late. When she did get up, Curis told her to look outside the door. She looked, and wasn’t she pleased when she saw the gold? She hurried to Curis, who told all her adventures. “I was worried about you,” said Curis’s mother.
“Were you really, mother,” said Curis, “it was all right, nothing bad happened.”
“I thought you would search, sooner or later,” said Curis’s mother.
“How did you ever know that I always heard you from my room,” said Curis.
“I didn’t know that you always heard me,” said Curis’s mother, “besides you don’t know what I say when you’re asleep.”
“No, but I mean when I’m not asleep,” said Curis.
“I didn’t know you always heard me,” said Curis’s mother, again. “I only thought that you sometimes heard me. I’ve been in your room, when your father was talking to company, and I know how one can hear.”
“Well, you are not worried now,” said Curis, “for it’s come out all right.”
“No, I am not worried now,” said her mother, “but I don’t want you to do it again.”
“Why not?” said Curis.
“Something bad might happen to you my child,” said her mother, “besides, we have got enough gold now. By the way how did you get it home?”
“There is a great big team there, that goes around taking people’s gold home. I rode home in the team,” said Curis.
“That is very convenient,” said her mother, “but by the way isn’t it time for breakfast?”
“I guess it is,” said Curis.
So they went down to breakfast. As soon as it was over, Curis went over to the field of buttercups. There she began to think, where could she find a field of different kinds of flowers? She knew. Behind the field of gold there was a wonderful field of flowers. Of course the field of buttercups was a field of flowers, but there there were only buttercups, and she wanted a mixture. So she started. She went through the field of buttercups, heard the tinkle of the brook, but she did not sit down on the apple-green moss. She was thinking too much about the treasure to take any notice of the moss. She looked at the brook but she never thought of the apple-green moss that she sat on yesterday. On she went to the Gray Route, and the field of gold, and the field behind the gold. But she saw that it was only a field of daisies and that would never do. Pretty soon she saw a man coming towards her. She stopped him and said: “Please sir, do you know where I could find a field of flowers?
“What is the matter with the field over there?” said the man.
“I mean a field with a mixture of different kinds of flowers in it,” said Curis.
“To do that, you would have to go to Fairyland,” said the man.
“I don’t know how to go,” said Curis, “could you please tell me sir?”
“The road is marked off in miles,” said the man, “you go to the end of this field, and turn to the right, and go two miles, then you’ll be in Fairyland. By the way, did you know about the monster that lives under the pipes?”
“No, I didn’t,” said Curis.
“Well,” began the man, “there is a great big monster that lives in the water-pipes. Whenever anyone walks over the pipes, the monster springs out of the pipes, and grabs him.”
“Gracious,” said Curis, “how am I to know whether I am walking over the pipes or not?”
“Take this daisy,” said the man, “and watch it. If it turns yellow, it means that there is a pipe a rod away. Then turn the flower around and follow where the stem guides you. But it will never take you off the track for Fairyland. If it speaks softly the word “jump” you “jump” and anyone who jumps with the flower in his hand will jump two feet forward.”
“Thank you ever so much for telling me about it,” said Curis. “You saved me from the monster.”
“You are very welcome,” said the man. “Take good care of yourself.”
So Curis went on to the end of the field; then she turned to make her two miles. She walked through the chilliest air she had ever been in before. After she had walked a mile and a half, she noticed a change. It was sweet air, perfumed with flowers. Then she knew that she was coming to the garden before Fairyland. She knew that there was always a garden before Fairyland. Suddenly the flower in her hand turned yellow. Quickly she turned it around and followed. Then the flower spoke the word “jump” and Curis jumped. She had escaped the monster. Then she came to the garden; it had an arch at each end of it, and a fence joined on to the arches and continued around the garden. The arches and the fence were covered with pink roses; there was a gravel path down the middle of the garden, separating the garden in halves. There were four beds of flowers on each side of the garden, and in one side there: Iris, Poppies, Roses, and Pansies. Each flower-bed was shaped like a rectangle; there was a little grass around the flower-bed, but not a blade with the flowers. On the two short ends of each flower-bed was a gravel path, leading to the middle one. On the other side of the garden were: Nasturtiums, Lilies, Primroses, and Bachelor’s Buttons. They were separated with gravel paths, too. Indeed, it was quite lovely. The garden was full of humming-birds. They weren’t timid in the least, for they swarmed the garden, and nestled in the blossoms of the flowers. Curis went on for another quarter mile. Then she came to another garden. This garden was circular in shape, and had trees in it, instead of flowers. There were: Fairy-Flowers, Azaleas, Fire-Bushes, and Rhododendrons. Outside of those were the fruit-trees, forming a circle around the others. There were: Cherry-trees, Apple-trees, Peach-trees, Orange-trees, and Lemon-trees. The trees were all in bloom, so the garden was swarmed with: Bees, Butterflies, and Humming-birds. The wonderful garden smelled like roses, and the spaces between the trees cast a wonderful view of the sky, and there was just enough sun to be pleasant. And then it was so pleasant to sit there in the smell of blossoms, and the coolness and the shade. But Curis did not stop at the garden; she went right on, for she knew that she must reach Fairyland sooner or later. Pretty soon the daisy grew yellow again and Curis turned it around and followed the stem. Then it spoke the word “jump” and again Curis jumped. She had been saved once more from the monster in the water-pipes.
At last she reached Fairyland, and the first thing she saw was the fairy ring. There were some peach trees outside the ring, and the boughs hung over part of it, shading it with pink and white. Outside of the ring was the fairy meeting house. It was pink and white outside, and precious stones were built into the wall of the house, inside. The stones were: emeralds, rubies, sapphires, amethysts , turquoises, and diamonds. There were also lovely colors, floating around in the air, they were red, purple, pink, yellow, blue, orange, and green. Pretty soon the fairies came into the meeting house: there were fairies wearing full and bouncy skirts, with yellow buttercups for a belt, and crowns of crocuses, fairies in yellow silk, with the same precious stones in colors as there were in the meeting house for a belt and crown, and fairies in green silk, with a crown of buttercups, and a belt of silver bells that tinkled. Now all the fairies had wings; the first described were yellow with green spots in them; the second were green and the third were pale pink. They all came dancing in, to Curis, they said: “What do you want here, Curis?”
“Can any of you tell me where there is a field of flowers, that has got different kinds of flowers, mixed?” said Curis.
“There is one over in the back of the meeting-house,” said the fairies.
“Thank you ever so much,” said Curis.
“Take care of yourself,” said the fairies.
“Yes, I will,” said Curis, “good-bye.”
“Good-bye, Curis,” said the fairies.
So Curis went off. Pretty soon she saw the most magnificent field of flowers she ever saw. She saw, blue-bells, buttercups, daisies, dandelions, and golden-rod. She went and stood and looked at the flowers, so long that she always loved flowers better than anything else. And she also learned to love the chipmunks, squirrels, birds, bees, and butterflies. And she was especially fond of the humming-birds with their bee-like sound, and Curis loved to see them settle in the flowers. The birds soon learned to know her for she went out every day and played with them, and soon they came when she whistled to them or called, and that was the treasure she had been seeking. Curis went back finally to the meeting-house and there the fairies greeted her.
Said the fairies: “Was your look at the field successful?”
“Indeed it was,” said Curis, “but I must go back to my own land, now, good-bye, and thank you very much.”
“You are quite welcome,” said the fairies, “and good-bye.”
So Curis went home the same way she had come, and passed the two lovely gardens, and was watching her flower every minute.
When Curis reached home, her mother was standing at the door, waiting for her. Curis’s mother said: “Where have you been all this time, Curis dear? I have been looking for you and looking for you and I was awfully worried about you.”
“Mother, I have been to Fairyland. I wanted a mixture of different kinds of wild flowers; I went over to the field of gold, knowing that there was a field over there, but it was only a field of daisies, and I wanted a mixture. I met a man over there and I asked him where I could find one, and he told me that I should have to go to Fairyland, and that is where I have been.”
“Why, Curis,” said her mother, “have you met any bad misfortunes?”
“One,” replied Curis, “but I had plenty of things to save me from it.” And Curis told her about the monster in the water-pipes, and showed her the daisy.
“Curis,” said her mother, “don’t you go to Fairyland once more in your life without telling me first.”
“But Mother,” said Curis, “I didn’t know that I was going, until this man asked me to.”
“The man didn’t ask you to,” said Curis’s mother, “he just said that to find a field of different kinds of flowers mixed you would have to go to Fairyland. Besides, I don’t know what use you would make out of a field of flowers.”
“I made a great deal of use out of it,” said Curis.
“And what was it?” said Curis’s mother.
“I always loved flowers better than anything else, and also the chipmunks, squirrels, birds, bees, and butterflies. Now they come to me whenever I call them.”
“Oh, what of your little creatures,” said her mother, “you’d better spend your time getting gold for your family, instead of spending it going to Fairyland.”
“Mother, it is a beauty of a place,” said Curis. “I want to go and take you to-morrow.”
Curis’s mother had just begun to get interested. She said: “Perhaps I will, Curis, but it is high time you had your supper and got to bed.”
So Curis had supper and went to bed.
The next morning Curis’s mother, Curis’s father, and Curis were up very early. Curis and her mother and father all went down for breakfast; afterward Curis’s father went to work, but Curis and her mother prepared to go to Fairyland.
At last Curis took her flower and started. They went through the field of buttercups and saw the brook. Curis said to her mother: “Mother, this is the place where I sat down to rest when I went to get the gold.”
“It is a very pretty little brook,” said her mother, “and what a lovely patch of apple-green moss.”
“When I sat down on the moss, it was so soft and comfortable.”
“Well,” said her mother, “we mustn’t linger here at the brook, or we shall never get to Fairyland.”
So on they went, when suddenly the daisy in Curis’s hand turned yellow. Curis turned it around and followed the stem, then it spoke the word “jump” and Curis jumped, and her mother, too.
“We have been saved from the monster,” said Curis.
“That surely is a wonderful flower, Curis,” said her mother.
Pretty soon they came to the Gray Route, and the field of gold.
“This is the field of gold,” said Curis. “I want you to come and see the Golden Woodchuck.” They went to the woodchuck’s nest and saw everything that Curis had seen when she went to get the gold.
“That is a lovely nest,” said Curis’s mother.
“Isn’t it though, mother,” said Curis.
They went on, and pretty soon they came to the end of the field, and they turned to the right. Then they walked on through the cold air, for a mile and a half, and it was there that the air changed. “We are coming to the garden before Fairyland, that is why the air is so sweet,” said Curis. Then they came to the garden, and Curis said: “See the humming-birds, Mother, aren’t they pretty?”
“What are humming-birds?” asked her mother.
Those pretty little birds, nestling in the flowers, and sucking the honey; isn’t the color of their plumage lovely?”
“Are those dainty little long-beaked things humming-birds?” asked her mother.
“Yes,” said Curis. “Aren’t they sweet?”
“Indeed they are,” said her mother, “but Curis, why is it that I have looked at gardens a lot more than you have, and I have never seen the humming-birds?”
“It is because you don’t look carefully enough,” said Curis. “You just glance at the garden and never look for the humming-birds, and perhaps make so much noise that you scare the sweet little things out of their wits.”
They went on and when they had walked the next quarter mile, they came to the other garden, which was full of humming-birds, bees, and butterflies.
“Is that a different kind of humming-bird,” said Curis’s mother, pointing at a bee.
“No,” said Curis, laughing, “that is a bee.” Just then Curis noticed a humming-bird settle in a rhododendron blossom. Curis took it in her hands and tried to point out to her mother how beautiful it really was, and put it in her mother’s hands. The humming-bird was frightened and hid in Curis’s hair until her mother got silent, then it flew away.
“Why are they so afraid of me?” asked Curis’s mother.
“Because they don’t know you and they do know me,” said Curis. They walked on, and at last they came to the fairy ring, where they sat down under the branch of a peach tree. They stayed there until they were rested, and then they went to the fairy meeting-house. There were more fairies there than there were when Curis went alone, and they all came dancing in. There were fairies in dresses of anemones, and belts of trailing arbutus, and crowns of emerald, fairies of dresses of white cotton cloth with silver belts, and every little way a pink rose. The belts of silver were an inch and a quarter wide, with two outer lines of silver and two lines inside of that, of silver, and every little way between the two silver inner lines a silver leaf.
“Aren’t those fairies beautiful,” said Curis.
“Indeed they are,” said her mother.
“Now,” said Curis, “we are going to look at the fairies’ odds and ends, of rings and things.”
So when the fairies went out of the house into the ring, Curis and her mother went upstairs. The room was filled with lovely colors floating everywhere, and Curis saw in the room that there were shelves of gold and on them were the fairies’ rings and buckles and things. There were rings of gold, a quarter inch wide, with tiny pearls and diamonds in it, first a pearl and then a diamond and so on all around the ring, on each side a string of rubies about as big as a large needle hole, all around the ring on each side of the pearls and diamonds, and hanging from the ring was a two-inch red ribbon. Said Curis: “Isn’t that one lovely?”
“Indeed it is, my child,” said her mother, “and what sweet little rubies.”
Then they saw a white enamel one with a string of sapphires all around the ring. There was a buckle of white enamel with little rubies all over it; there was a buckle of pink enamel with pearls all over it; and there was a buckle of emerald.
“Which buckle do you like best?” said Curis.
“I like the emerald one best,” said her mother. “Which one do you like best?”
“I like the white enamel with the rubies on it,” said Curis.
While Curis and her mother were away, two robbers came to the house. They found the door was not locked, so in they went. They found the little money that the family had before they had the gold, and they packed it up, but it wasn’t enough for them. They would stay until they found everything in the house that was worth having. The first robber: “There must be some more valuable things in this house than just a few dollars.”
“I think so too,” said the second robber, “but I know there is; I once heard the lady of the family say that she was so pleased with her little daughter for getting some gold.”
“That is good,” said the first robber. “When we get all the gold the family has, we shall go where they got it and take it all, we shall come every night and get some, until it is all gone.”
“Yes indeed,” said the second robber, “but other people have taken some of the gold before this family did.”
“Well, we’ll steal it from them,” said the first robber. “Then we shall have it all.”
At last they found the gold, hidden in a chamber. They took every bit of it. When they got everything in the house that was worth having, they loaded their team up and took their leave.
The first robber said: “Now the question is, where is the field of gold?”
“That surely is the question,” said the second robber, “but let us go to some house and ask, and they will think we just want our share of it.”
So they went to a house and asked. The lady in the house said: “Do you know where the Gray Route is?
“Yes,” said the second robber.
“Well, you follow it from the beginning, until you come to a very lumpy piece of land and there you are.”
“Thank you very much,” said the second robber.
“You are very welcome,” said the lady.
So off they went. They came to the Gray Route and the field of gold. They loaded their team with it, and then the team that went around had to be loaded up too. The two teams went to the robbers’ house, they unloaded the gold, the robbers were very much pleased, but they wanted some more. Every night they went to the field of gold and pretty soon they got all there was there. When Curis and her mother came home they went right off to the place where gold was kept, and they found it wasn’t there.
Curis said: “What could have happened to it?”
“Robbers have been to our house and stolen it,” said her mother. “You go and get some more, now.”
So Curis said “good-bye” to her mother and took her leave.
She went right to the field of gold, and searched for it, but there wasn’t any there to search for. She went home and said: “Mother, I think the robbers must have been there too; I couldn’t find a bit.”
“That is queer,” said her mother. “The robbers must have worked pretty hard over it, to get it before we came home.”
“I guess they did,” said Curis. “It is time for supper now.”
So they all had supper and went to bed.
Curis was up early as usual and dressed. As soon as she was dressed she went over where she had met the man, when she went to Fairyland. He was there looking around to see if everything went just as he wanted it to.
“How do you do,” said Curis. “Have you heard anything about the robbers that came to my house?”
“Indeed I have,” said the man, “but the monster in the water-pipes has devoured them.”
“That is good,” said Curis, “but will it be a problem to get the gold back in the gold field again?”
“You will find that the fairies will do that,” said the man. “You mustn’t bother yourself about that, for the fairies will do everything, as if the gold was never moved from the field.”
“That is very nice,” said Curis.
“Are you going to use your flower any more, right now?” said the man.
“No,” said Curis, “but I shall need it pretty soon; this afternoon.”
“Well,” said the man, “you run and get it now.”
So Curis went home and got the flower, and went back all the way again to give the man the flower.
“Thank you very much,” said the man. “If you want it, let me know, and remember that there is no danger whatever of you getting grabbed by the monster on the way to the field of gold, because there are no pipes on the road.”
So Curis went home again and went to the field of buttercups to call the humming-birds. They came at once, flocks and flocks, and they brightened the field with iridescent colors. “You beautiful little birds,” said Curis.
“Buz-z-z-ip,” said the humming-birds.
“You sweet little things,” said Curis. “You are so sweet that I don’t want to leave you.”
“Buz-z-z-ip,” said the humming-birds, as they flew about the meadow.
Pretty soon Curis’s mother saw the humming-birds flitting around Curis. She said: “Curis, I want you for a minute; anyway, how did you get the humming-birds around you?”
Curis replied: “Simply by calling to them, and what do you want me for?”
“You haven’t got your flower, Curis,” said her mother. “I am afraid of the monster in the water-pipes.”
“Oh, never mind that, Mother,” said Curis. “It is all right, never mind the monster.”
Curis went home to her mother, and told her all about how she had met the man, and he had told her that there were no pipes on the way to the field of gold, and to let him know if she wanted to go to Fairyland, and to let him know if she did.
“Then it is all right,” said Curis’s mother, “but don’t forget the monster if you do go to Fairyland, and remember to tell the man.”
“I will remember that,” said Curis, and she scampered away to the place where she had met the man. He was there, and he said: “I heard you say to your mother that you would remember to tell me if you were going to Fairyland. Never worry about that, for the fairies will make you remember.”
“That is all right,” said Curis, “but I came to tell you that I wanted to go to a place called the Land of Butterflies and I want the flower.”
“You may have it,” said the man. “The Land of Butterflies is a place in Fairyland; you go to Fairyland and ask the fairies where to find it.”
“I have heard,” said Curis, “that anyone who goes to the Land of Butterflies gets crowned with butterflies.”
“That is true,” said the man, “but as soon as anyone takes a step out of the Land of Butterflies the crown just flies away. Well, anyway, here is your flower,” and he handed over the flower.
Curis thanked him and started. She went by the two lovely gardens, but first she walked through the chilly air, watching her flower. When she came to Fairyland, she walked straight to the meeting-house, where she was greeted by the fairies. She said: “Can any of you tell me where the Land of Butterflies is?”
“Yes indeed,” said the fairies, “you walk right around the field of flowers in back of the meeting-house and you will be in the Land of Butterflies.”
“Thank you very much,” said Curis.
“You’re welcome,” said the fairies. “Take good care of yourself.”
Curis started. She went around the field of flowers in back of the meeting-house and was in the Land of Butterflies. Right off she was crowned with yellow butterflies. She called to the butterflies, and it seemed to her as if she was buried in a yellow mist; all the butterflies in that section of the land were there. Curis sang:
Butterflies, butterflies, back away,
You bury me in yellow ray.
All at once the butterflies understood. They backed away making room for Curis to kneel down. Then Curis sang:
Butterflies, butterflies, come to me,
Yellow butterflies full of glee.
The butterflies all came into Curis’s lap, where they fluttered about. Curis said: “You sweet little butterflies, I am so glad I came to the Land of Butterflies.” All at once the fairies came into that land. They danced around Curis and the butterflies, sweetly. Curis felt that her mother must be searching for her, and she felt resolved to go home, but she didn’t want to in the least. She sang:
Oh fairies, oh fairies, I must go home,
Mother will be afraid of my roam.
So the fairies and the butterflies bid her good-bye, and Curis started for home. She did the same things she always did when she went home from Fairyland and there is no use in my describing it.
When she got home her mother was waiting for her.
“You funny little thing,” said Curis’s mother. “You scampered right off without letting me know.”
“That is all right,” said Curis. “I only went to the Land of Butterflies, which is all right.”
“Where in the world is the Land of Butterflies?” asked her mother.
“Oh, it is a place in Fairyland,” said Curis. “Why are you so inquisitive about the Land of Butterflies?”
“You are dreadfully rude,” said her mother. “I don’t like the way you act at all.”
“Well, you are so inquisitive,” said Curis. “I don’t like the way you act either.”
“The Land of Butterflies is such a strange name for a place,” said her mother.
“It is the loveliest name I ever heard of,” said Curis. “Anyway, if the name isn’t beautiful the place that owns the name is, and if the name isn’t pretty I don’t know any name that is.” And Curis scampered right off to the man. She gave him back the flower, and he said: “You are quite right. If the name ‘The Land of Butterflies’ isn’t pretty, you don’t know any name that is; anyway, we don’t.”
“I think so, too,” said Curis, “but I came to give you back your flower. And she gave it to him, thanked him, and went home.
When Curis got home, her mother was nearly sobbing, for she had been away once more in her life without telling her mother first, and even then, she had given back the flower and her mother was awfully worried. She said: “You naughty little thing, you don’t know that you are in danger of losing your life, just because you left your flower somewhere.”
“I am not in the least danger of losing my life,” said Curis, “because I am not going anywhere that will need the flower. But when I do need it I will go and get it.”
“Oh, is that the way it works?” said her mother. “Do you know where it is, if you did I might go and get it for you.”
“It would be awfully nice if you would,” said Curis. “It would save me a great deal of trouble, because anyway, I’ve been so many times on that road that I am getting tired of it; and when you are tired of it I shall be rested from it, and then I can go to get it, and that way we shall take turns.”
“I understand and agree,” said her mother, “but tell me—” and Curis interrupted her, “Tell you what?”
“Tell me where you go to get this flower,” said her mother.
“Do you know where the field of gold is?” said Curis.
“Yes,” said her mother.
“Well,” said Curis, “there is a field of flowers beyond the field of gold and you will see a man, and that man has charge of the flower. You ask him if you can take it.”
“Do you want it now?” asked her mother.
“No, I don’t,” said Curis. “I shall want it tomorrow afternoon.”
Curis went into her room and did a few affairs that she always kept to herself, and then she settled down and thought a while. Then her mother called her down to dinner. After dinner she went back into her room, and thought some more until it was time for supper; after that she went to bed. She said to herself: “I don’t think I will let Mother get the flower for me; I should rather do it myself, and she might do something wrong with it, and then nobody knows what would happen.” So that afternoon, Curis went over to the field of gold before her mother got around to it, and then she got the flower. When her mother got round to going over, the man said: “Miss Curis has taken the flower so you can’t have it until Miss Curis gives it back to me.”
“Miss Curis is my daughter,” said Curis’s mother. “She told me that I could go and get it for her. She is a little wretch, is Curis.”
“Not a bit of a wretch,” said the man. “She is a good, kind girl, and I think that I will never let you have the flower. I don’t like the way you act.”
Of course Curis’s mother felt hurt about it, and she grabbed a daisy growing in the field, and said: “I am magic, so any daisy will work for me.” But Curis had started once more on her way to Fairyland. She soon got there; was once more greeted by the fairies. They said: “May I help you with anything today?”
“No,” said Curis, “I just wanted to look around a little.” So Curis went off to look around. There were two kinds of fairies there that day: there were fairies in very, very light pongee with wings also of pongee bordered with a band of black and outside of that was a border of blue forget-me-nots, and outside of the forget-me-nots was some white lace, and the collars were the same in borders as were the wings, and also the cuffs, and the bottom of the dress, and fairies in green with trimmings on the bottom of buttercups, and buttercups bordering the collar and cuffs, and a belt of buttercups.
After a while Curis went home, but she always lived a happy life, and always loved the little creatures of the woods, and of the sunlight, and that was how Curis lived.