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Stories, Dreams and Allegories. Schreiner, Olive, 1855–1920.
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page: 135

THE BROWN FLOWER

THE angel who guards the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven left them open one evening by chance, and a man wandered in.

As he looked at the silvery light a holy one came up to him.

“What are you doing here, friend?” it asked. “You have no pass from the Angel of Death; you must go out again.”

And the man answered: “Oh, I am willing to go. I do not wish to stay here” (for the woman he loved was below and his heaven was there). “But let me only gather a few of these flowers of heaven to place on the heart of one I love.”

And the angel said, “Gather them.” For it knew he was in the rapture of first love, and the Angels of God look down with pitying eyes when they see soul fiercely knit to soul.

And the man gathered from their beds crimson, silver, and golden Flowers of Heaven; Rapturous‐joy, Hope‐in‐the‐future, Sweet‐touch‐of‐hands, Union‐in‐daily‐life; these he took and turned to go.

page: 136

But the angel called him back.

“You have left the best of all,” she said. “See that small brown flower growing close to the root of the tree; take that. For the flowers you have got, they are only immortal in heaven; on the earth they fade.”

So he gathered the brown flower, and went.

And it came to pass after thirty years that Death went to visit a lonely woman who was at the end of her journey. And Death, Death the all‐seeing, before whom all things are laid bare, looked into the lonely woman’s bosom. Once there had been brilliant flowers laid there, by the hand of a man: Rapturous‐Joy—but that had been nipped by a cruel frost; Sweet‐union‐in‐daily‐life—that she had given up to another; the Sweet‐touch‐of‐hands—it had dropped from her while she was still young; Hope‐in‐the‐future—it had faded and faded slowly away from her. But when Death looked into her bosom, lying against the old shrivelled breast was still one small brown flower, fresh and tender as on the day the man laid it there, and the name of the flower was Trust.

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