The morning came, and she returned not. The end of the second day drew nigh, and yet she came not back.
"Pooh, pooh!" exclaimed one of a group of wood-cutters near by the cottage. "Such a fool-hardy errand will only be met by death. The old man ought to be content to die without sight of his flower when it costs so much labor to get it."
"So think me," said his comrade, between the puffs of his pipe; "so think me. Our flowers are pretty, and good 'nough, too. Sure, he orter be content with what grows 'round him, and not be sending folk a-climbing." This said, he resumed his smoking vigorously, and looked very wise.
* * * * *
The aged man of the mountain was passing rapidly away. The kind neighbors laid him for the last time on his cot, and sat tearfully around the room. Some stood in groups outside, looking wistfully towards the mountain; for their kind hearts could not bear to see him depart without the flower to gladden his eyes.
"The girl's gone a long time," r