Title : The Flower Girl Author : Anne Frank Date : February 20, 1944 English Translation by: Michel Mok ------------------------------------- The Flower Girl Every morning at seven-thirty the door of a little house at the edge of the village opens, and out steps a rather small girl, carrying a basket heaped with flowers on each arm. After shutting the door, she switches her burdens and starts the day's work. The people of the village, who answer her smiling nod as she passes, feel sorry for her. "That road is much too long and the job too hard," they think, "for a child of twelve." But the little girl, herself, naturally doesn't know the thoughts of her fellow villagers. Merrily, and as quickly as her short legs will take her, she walks on and on and on. The road to the town is really very long; it takes her at least two and a half hours of steady walking to reach it and, with two heavy baskets, that's not easy. When she finally trudges through the streets of the town she is exhausted, and it's only the prospect of soon being able to sit down and rest that sustains her. But the little one is brave and doesn't slow down her gait until she gets to her spot in the market. Then she sits down and waits and waits . . . Sometimes she sits and waits all day because there are not enough people who want to buy something from the poor flower girl. Quite often Krista has to carry her baskets, still half full, back to the village in the evening. But today things are different. It is Wednesday, and the market is unusually crowded and busy. Beside her, market women cry their wares, and all about her the little girl hears scolding and angry voices. Passers-by can scarcely hear Krista, for her high little voice is almost drowned out in the market hubbub. But all day long, Krista doesn't stop calling, "Pretty flowers, a dime a bunch! Buy my pretty flowers!" Some people who, finished with their errands, take time to look into the baskets gladly pay a dime for one of the lovely small bouquets. At twelve o'clock, Krista walks to the opposite side of the market square, where the owner of the coffee stand is in the habit of giving her, free of charge, a cupful withplenty of sugar. For this kind man Krista keeps her prettiest flowers. Then she takes her seat again and once more starts crying her wares. At last, about three-thirty, she picks up her baskets and returns to the village. Now she walks much more slowly than she did in the morning. Krista is tired, terribly tired. The trip back takes her a full three hours, and it is six- thirty when she reaches the door of the little old house. Inside everything is still the way she left it -- cold, lonesome, and untidy. Her sister, with whom she shares the place, works in the village from early morning to late at night. Krista can't afford to rest; she is no sooner home than she begins to peel potatoes and clean vegetables. Her sister gets back from work at seven-thirty, and they finally sit down and have something to eat. At eight in the evening the door of the cottage opens again, and once more the little girl comes out with the two big baskets on her arms. Now she walks into the fields that surround the little house. She doesn't have to go far; soon she bends down in the grass and picks flowers, all kinds of them, big ones and little ones, and all of them go into the baskets. The sun has almost set, and the child still sits in the grass, collecting her next day's supply. The task is finished at last; the baskets are full. The sun has set, and Krista lies down in the grass, her hands folded under her head, and looks up into the sky. This is her favorite quarter hour, and nobody need think that the hardworking little flower girl is dissatisfied. She never is and never will be so long as, every day, she may have this wonderful short rest. In the field, amid the flowers, beneath the darkening sky, Krista is content. Gone is fatigue, gone is the market, gone are the people. The little girl dreams and thinks only of the bliss of having, each day, this short while alone with God and nature. _________________________________________________________________ Go back
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