One sunny summer afternoon Margaret sat reading beneath the shade of an old apple tree. Before her stretched a charming view but on her face was a troubled, dissatisfied look.
"Oh, dear," she sighed. "Even this book is stupid. It is the dullest, most stupid day that I ever saw."
"Stupid day?" said a tiny voice. There on the rock before her sat the daintiest little golden-haired fairy that she had ever seen. The fairy's feet were resting on a woodbine vine that was creeping up the wall, and her wings were as delicate as those of a butterfly.
"What makes such a bright day as this stupid?"
"Oh, I suppose it is myself," said the discontented girl.
"I believe it is," said the fairy. "Now I will take you with me to the Palace of Time and you shall choose a day that suits you better. Come."
Over green meadows, through pleasant pastures, beside babbling brooks that sparkled and played in the sunshine, the fairy led. At last they came to the Palace of Time. The fairy led the way up the long hall to the throne on which Time sat, and told her errand.
"Take the little friend to the Hall of Days," he said, "and give her the day that pleases her best."
How delighted the maiden was! Wouldn't you be if a fairy should take you out of a stupid day and promise you the day that pleased you most? She just skipped along, her feet scarcely touching the ground in her joy. In a great room filled with all kinds of bright lights, they stopped.
"This is the Hall of Days," said the fairy. "Take whichever day pleases you most."
Like great balls of glass the days were of many colors and of many kinds. Some were dark and some were light; some were dim and others clear.
One was like a crystal and the odor of roses seemed to come from it. Its colors were soft and Margaret gazed deep into it. Vague dreams seemed to come from it and memories happy and delightful. But she couldn't live on dreams and memories. That wouldn't do. She might like that sort of a day once in a while but her young life demanded something to do on the best day. This was a day that had gone.
One other day pleased her much. It shone like the sun on the new fallen snow. It was so white and so pure that she lifted it carefully lest she should soil and spot it.
"It is too bright. It hurts my eyes," said she, putting it back.
"Yes, little girl," said the fairy. "That is to-morrow. It must be shaded by many things before one can bear it."
Then, just between the two, Margaret spied the most beautiful ball of all. It wavered and shimmered; now it was red, now green, now yellow and now pink. Oh, there were so many colors that she could not name them all. Wave upon wave of color swept through it and all seemed shot with the golden lights.
"That is the one that I want," she cried happily. "That is the most beautiful day of all."
"Take it, then," said the fairy. "It is yours."
All the way home, the maiden clasped it tightly.
"With this day," she said, "I can be joyful. With this day I can make so many people happy, and it is so bright that I can see the best way in which to go. It is as light as a feather. I can hardly wait to show my friends the beautiful day that I have chosen, for I love it dearly."
"Yes, indeed," said the fairy, as she flew off in a different direction. "It is a wonderful day. Infinite wisdom and love helped you to choose aright. That is today."
"What a beautiful day!" said the maiden as she sat in the shade of the old apple tree. "I believe I have been dreaming. But this is too beautiful a day to idle it away. I will go and do something for some one to make others see its beauty also."