Anne, on her way to Orchard
Slope, met Diana, bound for Green
Gables, just where the mossy
old log bridge spanned the brook
below the Haunted Wood, and they
sat down by the margin of the
Dryad's Bubble, where tiny ferns
were unrolling like curly-headed
green pixy folk wakening up from
"I was just on my way over
to invite you to help me celebrate
my birthday on Saturday," said
But your birthday was in March!"
"That wasn't my fault," laughed
Anne. "If my parents had consulted
me it would never have happened
then. I should have chosen to
be born in spring, of course.
It must be delightful to come
into the world with the mayflowers
and violets. You would always
feel that you were their foster
sister. But since I didn't, the
next best thing is to celebrate
my birthday in the spring. Priscilla
is coming over Saturday and Jane
will be home. We'll all four
start off to the woods and spend
a golden day making the acquaintance
of the spring. We none of us
really know her yet, but we'll
meet her back there as we never
can anywhere else. I want to
explore all those fields and
lonely places anyhow. I have
a conviction that there are scores
of beautiful nooks there that
have never really been SEEN although
they may have been LOOKED at.
We'll make friends with wind
and sky and sun, and bring home
the spring in our hearts."
"It SOUNDS awfully nice," said
Diana, with some inward distrust
of Anne's magic of words. "But
won't it be very damp in some
"Oh, we'll wear rubbers," was
Anne's concession to practicalities. "And
I want you to come over early
Saturday morning and help me
prepare lunch. I'm going to have
the daintiest things possible.
. . things that will match the
spring, you understand. . .little
jelly tarts and lady fingers,
and drop cookies frosted with
pink and yellow icing, and buttercup
cake. And we must have sandwiches
too, though they're NOT very
Saturday proved an ideal day
for a picnic. . .a day of breeze
and blue, warm, sunny, with a
little rollicking wind blowing
across meadow and orchard. Over
every sunlit upland and field
was a delicate, flower-starred
Mr. Harrison, harrowing at
the back of his farm and feeling
some of the spring witch-work
even in his sober, middle-aged
blood, saw four girls, basket
laden, tripping across the end
of his field where it joined
a fringing woodland of birch
and fir. Their blithe voices
and laughter echoed down to him.
"It's so easy to be happy on
a day like this, isn't it?" Anne
was saying, with true Anneish
philosophy. "Let's try to make
this a really golden day, girls,
a day to which we can always
look back with delight. We're
to seek for beauty and refuse
to see anything else. `Begone,
dull care!' Jane, you are thinking
of something that went wrong
in school yesterday."
"How do you know?" gasped
"Oh, I know
the expression. . .I've felt
it often enough
on my own face. But put it out
of your mind, there's a dear.
It will keep till Monday. . .or
if it doesn't so much the better.
Oh, girls, girls, see that patch
of violets! There's something
for memory's picture gallery.
When I'm eighty years old. .
.if I ever am. . . I shall shut
my eyes and see those violets
just as I see them now. That's
the first good gift our day has
"If a kiss could be seen I
think it would look like a violet," said
"I'm so glad
you SPOKE that thought, Priscilla,
just thinking it and keeping
it to yourself. This world would
be a much more interesting place.
. .although it IS very interesting
anyhow. . . if people spoke out
their real thoughts."
"It would be too hot to hold
some folks," quoted Jane sagely.
it might be, but that would
be their own faults
for thinking nasty things. Anyhow,
we can tell all our thoughts
today because we are going to
have nothing but beautiful thoughts.
Everybody can say just what comes
into her head. THAT is conversation.
Here's a little path I never
saw before. Let's explore it."
The path was a winding one,
so narrow that the girls walked
in single file and even then
the fir boughs brushed their
faces. Under the firs were velvety
cushions of moss, and further
on, where the trees were smaller
and fewer, the ground was rich
in a variety of green growing
"What a lot of elephant's ears," exclaimed
Diana. "I'm going to pick a big
bunch, they're so pretty."
"How did such graceful feathery
things ever come to have such
a dreadful name?" asked Priscilla.
"Because the person who first
named them either had no imagination
at all or else far too much," said
Anne, "Oh, girls, look at that!"
a shallow woodland pool in
the center of a little
open glade where the path ended.
Later on in the season it would
be dried up and its place filled
with a rank growth of ferns;
but now it was a glimmering placid
sheet, round as a saucer and
clear as crystal. A ring of slender
young birches encircled it and
little ferns fringed its margin.
"HOW sweet!" said
"Let us dance around it like
wood-nymphs," cried Anne, dropping
her basket and extending her
But the dance was not a success
for the ground was boggy and
Jane's rubbers came off.
"You can't be a wood-nymph
if you have to wear rubbers," was
"Well, we must name this place
before we leave it," said Anne,
yielding to the indisputable
logic of facts. "Everybody suggest
a name and we'll draw lots. Diana?"
"Birch Pool," suggested
"Crystal Lake," said
behind them, implored Priscilla
with her eyes
not to perpetrate another such
name and Priscilla rose to the
occasion with "Glimmer-glass." Anne's
selection was "The Fairies' Mirror."
The names were
written on strips of birch
bark with a pencil Schoolma'am
Jane produced from her pocket,
and placed in Anne's hat. Then
Priscilla shut her eyes and drew
one. "Crystal Lake," read Jane
triumphantly. Crystal Lake it
was, and if Anne thought that
chance had played the pool a
shabby trick she did not say
Pushing through the undergrowth
beyond, the girls came out to
the young green seclusion of
Mr. Silas Sloane's back pasture.
Across it they found the entrance
to a lane striking up through
the woods and voted to explore
it also. It rewarded their quest
with a succession of pretty surprises.
First, skirting Mr. Sloane's
pasture, came an archway of wild
cherry trees all in bloom. The
girls swung their hats on their
arms and wreathed their hair
with the creamy, fluffy blossoms.
Then the lane turned at right
angles and plunged into a spruce
wood so thick and dark that they
walked in a gloom as of twilight,
with not a glimpse of sky or
sunlight to be seen.
"This is where the bad wood
elves dwell," whispered Anne. "They
are impish and malicious but
they can't harm us, because they
are not allowed to do evil in
the spring. There was one peeping
at us around that old twisted
fir; and didn't you see a group
of them on that big freckly toadstool
we just passed? The good fairies
always dwell in the sunshiny
"I wish there really were fairies," said
Jane. "Wouldn't it be nice to
have three wishes granted you.
. .or even only one? What would
you wish for, girls, if you could
have a wish granted? I'd wish
to be rich and beautiful and
"I'd wish to be tall and slender," said
"I would wish to be famous," said
Priscilla. Anne thought of her
hair and then dismissed the thought
"I'd wish it might be spring
all the time and in everybody's
heart and all our lives," she
"But that," said Priscilla, "would
be just wishing this world were
a part of heaven. In the other
parts there would
be summer and autumn. . .yes,
and a bit of winter, too. I think
I want glittering snowy fields
and white frosts in heaven sometimes.
Don't you, Jane?"
"I. . .I don't know," said
Jane uncomfortably. Jane was
a good girl, a member of the
church, who tried conscientiously
to live up to her profession
and believed everything she had
been taught. But she never thought
about heaven any more than she
could help, for all that.
"Minnie May asked me the other
day if we would wear our best
dresses every day in heaven," laughed
"And didn't you tell her we
would?" asked Anne.
I told her we wouldn't be thinking
of dresses at all
"Oh, I think we will. . .a
LITTLE," said Anne earnestly. "There'll
be plenty of time in all eternity
for it without neglecting more
important things. I believe we'll
all wear beautiful dresses. .
.or I suppose RAIMENT would be
a more suitable way of speaking.
I shall want to wear pink for
a few centuries at firSt. . .it
would take me that long to get
tired of it, I feel sure. I do
love pink so and I can never
wear it in THIS world."
Past the spruces the lane dipped
down into a sunny little open
where a log bridge spanned a
brook; and then came the glory
of a sunlit beechwood where the
air was like transparent golden
wine, and the leaves fresh and
green, and the wood floor a mosaic
of tremulous sunshine. Then more
wild cherries, and a little valley
of lissome firs, and then a hill
so steep that the girls lost
their breath climbing it; but
when they reached the top and
came out into the open the prettiest
surprise of all awaited them.
the "back fields" of
the farms that ran out to the
upper Carmody road. Just before
them, hemmed in by beeches and
firs but open to the south, was
a little corner and in it a garden
. . .or what had once been a
garden. A tumbledown stone dyke,
overgrown with mosses and grass,
surrounded it. Along the eastern
side ran a row of garden cherry
trees, white as a snowdrift.
There were traces of old paths
still and a double line of rosebushes
through the middle; but all the
rest of the space was a sheet
of yellow and white narcissi,
in their airiest, most lavish,
wind-swayed bloom above the lush
"Oh, how perfectly lovely!" three
of the girls cried. Anne only
gazed in eloquent silence.
"How in the world does it happen
that there ever was a garden
back here?" said Priscilla in
"It must be Hester Gray's garden," said
Diana. "I've heard mother speak
of it but I never saw it before,
and I wouldn't have supposed
that it could be in existence
still. You've heard the story,
"No, but the
name seems familiar to me."
seen it in the graveyard. She
is buried down
there in the poplar corner. You
know the little brown stone with
the opening gates carved on it
and `Sacred to the memory of
Hester Gray, aged twenty-two.'
Jordan Gray is buried right beside
her but there's no stone to him.
It's a wonder Marilla never told
you about it, Anne. To be sure,
it happened thirty years ago
and everybody has forgotten."
"Well, if there's a story we
must have it," said Anne. "Let's
sit right down here among the
narcissi and Diana will tell
it. Why, girls, there are hundreds
of them. . .they've spread over
everything. It looks as if the
garden were carpeted with moonshine
and sunshine combined. This is
a discovery worth making. To
think that I've lived within
a mile of this place for six
years and have never seen it
before! Now, Diana."
"Long ago," began Diana, "this
farm belonged to old Mr. David
Gray. He didn't live on it. .
.he lived where Silas Sloane
lives now. He had one son, Jordan,
and he went up to Boston one
winter to work and while he was
there he fell in love with a
girl named Hester Murray. She
was working in a store and she
hated it. She'd been brought
up in the country and she always
wanted to get back. When Jordan
asked her to marry him she said
she would if he'd take her away
to some quiet spot where she'd
see nothing but fields and trees.
So he brought her to Avonlea.
Mrs. Lynde said he was taking
a fearful risk in marrying a
Yankee, and it's certain that
Hester was very delicate and
a very poor housekeeper; but
mother says she was very pretty
and sweet and Jordan just worshipped
the ground she walked on. Well,
Mr. Gray gave Jordan this farm
and he built a little house back
here and Jordan and Hester lived
in it for four years. She never
went out much and hardly anybody
went to see her except mother
and Mrs. Lynde. Jordan made her
this garden and she was crazy
about it and spent most of her
time in it. She wasn't much of
a housekeeper but she had a knack
with flowers. And then she got
sick. Mother says she thinks
she was in consumption before
she ever came here. She never
really laid up but just grew
weaker and weaker all the time.
Jordan wouldn't have anybody
to wait on her. He did it all
himself and mother says he was
as tender and gentle as a woman.
Every day he'd wrap her in a
shawl and carry her out to the
garden and she'd lie there on
a bench quite happy. They say
she used to make Jordan kneel
down by her every night and morning
and pray with her that she might
die out in the garden when the
time came. And her prayer was
answered. One day Jordan carried
her out to the bench and then
he picked all the roses that
were out and heaped them over
her; and she just smiled up at
him. . .and closed her eyes.
. .and that," concluded Diana
softly, "was the end."
"Oh, what a dear story," sighed
Anne, wiping away her tears.
"What became of Jordan?" asked
"He sold the
farm after Hester died and
went back to Boston.
Mr. Jabez Sloane bought the farm
and hauled the little house out
to the road. Jordan died about
ten years after and he was brought
home and buried beside Hester."
"I can't understand how she
could have wanted to live back
here, away from everything," said
"Oh, I can easily understand
THAT," said Anne thoughtfully. "I
wouldn't want it myself for a
steady thing, because, although
I love the fields and woods,
I love people too. But I can
understand it in Hester. She
was tired to death of the noise
of the big city and the crowds
of people always coming and going
and caring nothing for her. She
just wanted to escape from it
all to some still, green, friendly
place where she could reSt. And
she got just what she wanted,
which is something very few people
do, I believe. She had four beautiful
years before she died. . .four
years of perfect happiness, so
I think she was to be envied
more than pitied. And then to
shut your eyes and fall asleep
among roses, with the one you
loved best on earth smiling down
at you. . .oh, I think it was
"She set out those cherry trees
over there," said Diana. "She
told mother she'd never live
to eat their fruit, but she wanted
to think that something she had
planted would go on living and
helping to make the world beautiful
after she was dead."
"I'm so glad we came this way," said
Anne, the shining-eyed. "This
is my adopted birthday, you know,
and this garden and its story
is the birthday gift it has given
me. Did your mother ever tell
you what Hester Gray looked like,
"No. . .only
just that she was pretty."
glad of that, because I can
imagine what she looked
like, without being hampered
by facts. I think she was very
slight and small, with softly
curling dark hair and big, sweet,
timid brown eyes, and a little
wistful, pale face."
The girls left their baskets
in Hester's garden and spent
the rest of the afternoon rambling
in the woods and fields surrounding
it, discovering many pretty nooks
and lanes. When they got hungry
they had lunch in the prettiest
spot of all. . .on the steep
bank of a gurgling brook where
white birches shot up out of
long feathery grasses. The girls
sat down by the roots and did
full justice to Anne's dainties,
even the unpoetical sandwiches
being greatly appreciated by
hearty, unspoiled appetites sharpened
by all the fresh air and exercise
they had enjoyed. Anne had brought
glasses and lemonade for her
guests, but for her own part
drank cold brook water from a
cup fashioned out of birch bark.
The cup leaked, and the water
tasted of earth, as brook water
is apt to do in spring; but Anne
thought it more appropriate to
the occasion than lemonade.
"Look do you see that poem?" she
said suddenly, pointing.
and Diana stared, as if expecting
to see Runic
rhymes on the birch trees.
"There. . .down
in the brook. . .that old green,
with the water flowing over it
in those smooth ripples that
look as if they'd been combed,
and that single shaft of sunshine
falling right athwart it, far
down into the pool. Oh, it's
the most beautiful poem I ever
"I should rather call it a
picture," said Jane. "A poem
is lines and verses."
"Oh dear me, no." Anne shook
her head with its fluffy wild
cherry coronal positively. "The
lines and verses are only the
outward garments of the poem
and are no more really it than
your ruffles and flounces are
YOU, Jane. The real poem is the
soul within them . . .and that
beautiful bit is the soul of
an unwritten poem. It is not
every day one sees a soul. .
.even of a poem."
"I wonder what a soul. . .a
person's soul. . .would look
like," said Priscilla dreamily.
"Like that, I should think," answered
Anne, pointing to a radiance
of sifted sunlight streaming
through a birch tree. "Only with
shape and features of course.
I like to fancy souls as being
made of light. And some are all
shot through with rosy stains
and quivers. . .and some have
a soft glitter like moonlight
on the sea. . .and some are pale
and transparent like mist at
"I read somewhere once that
souls were like flowers," said
"Then your soul is a golden
narcissus," said Anne, "and Diana's
is like a red, red rose. Jane's
is an apple blossom, pink and
wholesome and sweet."
"And your own is a white violet,
with purple streaks in its heart," finished
Jane whispered to Diana that
she really could not understand
what they were talking about.
The girls went home by the
light of a calm golden sunset,
their baskets filled with narcissus
blossoms from Hester's garden,
some of which Anne carried to
the cemetery next day and laid
upon Hester's grave. Minstrel
robins were whistling in the
firs and the frogs were singing
in the marshes. All the basins
among the hills were brimmed
with topaz and emerald light.
"Well, we have had a lovely
time after all," said Diana,
as if she had hardly expected
to have it when she set out.
"It has been a truly golden
day," said Priscilla.
"I'm really awfully fond of
the woods myself," said Jane.
Anne said nothing. She was
looking afar into the western
sky and thinking of little Hester