Previous Chapter:
Forward to The Fairyland Around Us


AURELIUS EVANGEL IN
SEARCH OF THE JOYOUS BLUE


One day the All-wise Father perceiving that the Children of Men were having "blue" days did send a little Wind Fairy, Aurelius Evangel, in search of the Joyous Blue. So he started forth upon his journey in search of all fairies who wear the blue -- and seeking he found them as he went through fields and meadows, along streams, and into shady woods. Herein is recorded a part of his journey. 'Tis recorded that you and the Children of Men each day may seek for the Joyous Blue in the Fairyland around you -- and that seeking you may find -- and finding you may come to understand the greatness, the tenderness, and the wisdom of His great love. So as ye read herein seek ye for the Joyous Blue. Seek and find and make it a part of your daily life. This, then is the message of Aurelius Evangel, and these are they whom he sought and found.
'Twas in the month of April, middle month o' spring, that he found Wild Hyacinth in blossom, and her flowers -- they were pale violet blue. Unto her blossoms came Bees, Butterflies, Ants, Wasps and Beetles. Her scientific name was Quamasia hyacinthina. Cousin of many Lily Fairies was she.
Where a mountain stream came tumbling along Aurelius Evangel paused and listened to its music -- and to the Earth-things talking near it. And as he lay among the mosses saw he not far away bells of blue swaying in the wind. "They are the Bluebells of Scotland," he exclaimed with joy. So he found the Scottish Bluebells, cousins of Cardinal flower and Lobelia; and he watched the Bees and Butterflies come unto them.
About Willow fairies he saw Mourning Cloak Butterflies, they who had blue spots upon their dark brown wings near their golden margins.

Mourning Cloak Butterfly
(Cor Zonneveld)


Aurelius upon seeing Blue bird, the fairy of happiness, thought:

This earliest May Day herald
This prophet of the spring
Has brought celestial color
Upon his breezy wing.

Heaven loves to scatter earthward
Flakes of its own soft hue;
The first bird, the last blossom
Wear the same shade of blue.

By the roadside he met Blue Larkspur, whose other name, Delphinium, was given to her by the great Linnaeus, because of the fancied resemblance to a dolphin. After observing the Bees and Butterflies coming to her, he asked a question whose answer he wanted very much to know. And when he asked who her cousins were, Blue Larkspur answered: "They, my cousins are, who belong to the Crowfoot family, and among them are Marsh-marigold, Columbines, Buttercups, Anemones, Hepatica, Gold Thread, and Virgin's Bower."
"And who among your cousins wear the blue?"
"Seek and ye shall find," answered Larkspur.
So Aurelius Evangel went forth and sought and found:
Cousin Columbine, wearing a dress of blue; Cousin Columbine, whose grandmother did dwell in a little girl's own grandmother's garden. And when Wind Fairy remarked about her being an immigrant, Blue Columbine hastened to assure him that she was now Americanized, and that it was her great, great, great, great great grandmother who immigrated from Europe. And she also told him that some of her grandmothers a long time ago dwelt in gardens, but that many of their descendents had traveled beyond the gardens and dwell in the fields and woods.
And Cousin Hepatica, whose blossoming time began with the beginning of the springtime, wore the blue upon her sepals.
A little way distant he saw in the stream, wading in the dream, Great Blue Heron, the fisherman, dressed in colors of sky and water. And coming to him he began to tell him of his mission, and when he had finished Great Blue Heron told him that he already learned of his mission from Raindrop, by whom he had been interviewed three days and six hours and fourteen minutes previously. Aurelius Evangel learned of Great Blue Heron where he builded his home in Heron Town in the tops of fir trees, some hour miles away -- and that his cousins were other Herons: Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron -- also Bitterns and Egrets. Then Wind Fairy, balancing himself upon the end of a water reed, did raise his right hand and solemnly promise Great Blue Heron that he would guide Liloriole, who was in search of the homes of Fairyland, to Heron Town in Treetops.
In a canyon among the foothills he encountered Western Blue Grosbeak, he who is a member of the Fringillidae family, and thereby a cousin of Gold-finches, Song Sparrows, Juncos, Cardinals, Towhees, Snowflakes and Crossbills. Wind Fairy learned of him where he would find others among his family who wore the Joyous Blue -- where he would find Indigo Bunting and Lazuli Bunting.
When again Aurelius Evangel saw in moist meadows the Bluets he thought perhaps god used the same bowl of blue paint to paint the Bluets as he did when painting the sky. "We have other names, too," piped a little Bluet. "They are Quaker Bonnets, Venus' Pride and Innocence. Our scientific name is Houstonia. Button-bush, Partridge-vine and Bedstraw are our cousins." Then Wind Fairy remembered this verse which he had learned from a little boy:

So frail, these smiling babies,
Near mossy pasture bars,
Where the blood-root now so coyly
Puts forth her snowy stars,
And the maple tall and slender,
With blossoms red and sweet,
Looks down upon the bluets
Close nestled at her feet;
"Innocents" the children call them,
These floral babies small.
-- Ray Lawrence

With the Butterfly Pea fairies, they whose petals are lavender blue, they who are cousins of Clover and Sweet Pea, they who scientific name is Clitoria mariana, Aurelius Evangel tarried three hours and thirty-three minutes. Then he proceeded.
Blue Sailors beside the road, Blue Sailors dwelling in waste places, 'twas often Aurelius Evangel met them and glad was he to see them. Other names had they -- Chicory and Succory. Cousins of Dandelion, Wild Lettuce and Rattlesnake weed are the Chicory fairies. By Italian children they are called Cicorea. By Spanish children they are called Achicoria. By Russian children they are called Tsikorei.
In a pond grew the Pickerel Weed and its blossoms -- they were purplish blue, even the filaments and anthers were so. He sat upon a leaf and watched the Flies and Bees come unto the blossoms of Pickerel Weed. Her scientific name is Pontederia cordata.
In a field he found blossom Indian Tobacco, and her flowers were pale blue. He learned that her scientific name was Lobelia inflata, that she belonged to the Bellflower family and was a cousin of Harebell, Cardinal Flower and Lobelia.
Among the hills after much searching about he found in a rocky ravine a cousin of the Buttercup -- Virgin's Bower, and her flowers were purplish blue.
In a field dwelt Blue-weeds, and Aurelius Evangel in his search for the Joyous Blue came unto this field. And he learned that these Blue-weed fairies were cousins of Virginia Cowslip, Vervain, Verbena, and Forget-me-not.


Lazuli Bunting
Passerina amoena
(Artist)

Fleur-De-Lis
(original book portrait)


Is this a time to be cloudy and sad,
When are Mother Nature laughs around?
When even the blue deep heavens look glad,
And gladness blooms from the blossoming ground?
-- Bryant

And, coming to the fairy Flax, he told them of the poet, Longfellow, and of his saying: "Blue were her eyes as the Fairy Flax." And he told them of their other name, Linum -- told these dainty fairies with delicate petals of blue bending and bowing to the whispering breezes, of how their other name, Linum, comes from the Celtic word lin, which means "thread."
There Aurelius Evangel saw the Fleur-de-lis, saw the blue iris, that which Ruskin called the flower of chivalry, with a sword for its leaf and a lily for its heart -- saw the Fleur-de-lis, and coming nearer thought that surely Mother Nature had placed thereon some of the colors of the rainbow of the sky, lest the children of men passing by should forget.
"Where shall I find your little sister, Blue-eyed Grass?" and the answer came:

Blue-eyed grass in the meadow
And yarrow blooms on the hill,
Cat-tails that rustle and whisper,
And winds that are never still;

Blue-eyed grass in the meadow
A linnet's nest near by,
Blackbirds caroling clearly
Somewhere between earth and sky.

Blue-eyed grass in the meadow
And the laden bees' low hum,
Milkweeds all by the roadside,
To tell us summer is come.

And there you will find
my little sister Blue-eyed grass,
Gently gazing toward the sky,
Answering the azure blue on high.

Beside the brook he found Blue Monkey Flower, who was thus named because of a fancied resemblance to a little monkey's face -- Blue Monkey Flower, cousin of Mullein, Figwort, Butter and Eggs, Beard Tongue, Indian Paint Brush, Owl's Clover, Wood Betony, Synthyris and Veronica. And he watched her guests, the insects, coming and going and carrying pollen with them. He learned that scientists called her by another name -- Mimulus.
In the month of August when the days of great heat had come and seemingly silenced many of earth's singers, here and yonder in plain view, the Wind Fairy would see and hear the Indigo Bird singing and to the Children of Men bringing a bit of cheer.
Then he did alight and sit upon the edge of a rose leaf and thought unto himself all the verses he had been learning of blue flowers, and some of them were these:

Blue-bells, on blue-hills,
where the sky is blue,
Here's a little blue-gowned maid
come to look at you.
Here's a little child
would fain at the vesper-time
Catch the music of your hearts,
hear the harebells chime.

Among the pines he saw the Arctic Bluebird, saw Sialia arctica -- cousin of other Bluebirds and Robins.
In a shady place that was damp on a day that was one of the thirty days in June he came unto Day-flower, she who wore the Joyous Blue upon her petals. Commelina virginica was her scientific name. To the Spiderwort family she belonged. Wandering Jew and Job's Tears were her cousins.
On his journey too he saw the light blue and bright blue blossoms of California Lilac. This fairy Blue Blossom belongs to the Buckthorn family, and is an evergreen shrub. Quail fairies like its dark seeds.
When again he saw Blue Larkspur, he learned that they had another name -- "Espuela del Caballero," which means "the cavalier's spur."
On a gravelly bank near a stream he found the blue flowers of Wild Heliontrope. Too, along the railroad he saw these fairy blossoms -- sometimes they were violet. Of course he learned that this fairy is not a true Heliotrope, but belongs to the Baby-eyes family.
Some times upon his journey, as Aurelius Evangel came near unto rivers, he saw a Duck with blue upon its wings -- saw the Blue-wing Teal. Other Ducks saw he too with blue upon their wings -- Cinnamon Teal and Spoonbill.
Also he saw Blue-Bill -- a Duck with bluish bill. Widgeon Duck and Baldpate had bills with black tips. Now -- the scientific name of Bluebill is Aythya marila -- of Widgeo, Mareca Penelope -- and of Baldpate, Mareca Americana.
When again he met Chicory by the wayside he remembered the poet writing of these fairies growing:

Where tired feet toil to and fro;
Where flaunting sin may see thy heavenly hue,
Or weary sorrow look from thee
toward a tenderer blue.

Indigo Bunting's Song
Indigo Bunting
Passerina Cyanea
(Artist)

In the moist meadow he found Blue Vervain -- whose other name are Wild Hysso and Simpler's Joy. Near by found he, too, her close cousin, European Vervain. And he lingered afar off wondering how he should address her -- Herb-of-the-Cross, Berbine, Simpler's Joy, Holy Herb, Enchanter's Plant, Pigeon-Grass, Juno's Tears, or Lightning Plant -- all these names being her own. And while yet he waited afar off, Vervain, having heard of his mission from the South Wind, called him. It was a wonderful morning Wind Fairy had with the Vervains -- they who grow by waysides and in waste places, and who are sometimes by the children of men called weeds. But Wind Fairy told me and asked me to tell you, the children of men, that much of interest centers around a weed. He told me much of Vervain and wanted you to know these things, too, so I am writing them here for you. Children of the men of long ago knew these Vervains that we meet growing in the waste places. Many things were said of them and thought of them -- and when again you see the Vervain think of these things: To the Druids it was a sacred plant -- and in the olden days it was said that witches used it -- also that it would keep the witches away; in the days of Shakespeare children hung Vervain, and another plant, with a horseshoe over the door -- and the early Christians held this Vervain in high regard as a general cure for all, because it was found growing on Mount Calvary -- and in the days of Pliny, the Roman brides gathered a cousin of this Vervain with which to make their bridal wreaths.
On he journeyed to Gentian -- Fringed Gentian, of whom Bryant wrote:


Thou waitest late, and com'st aline,
When woods are bare and birds have flown,
Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
Look through its fringes to the sky,
Blue -- Blue -- as if that sky let fall
A flower from its cerulean wall.

Wind Fairy had learned a legend of Fringed Gentians -- and he told it unto them:

Once to the angel of birds,
far up in the rippling air
From low on the sun-loved earth
The angel of flowers breathed a prayer.
Four plumes from the bluebird's wings
And I'll make me something rare;
Four plumes from the bluebird's wing
As fast to the south he flew
The angel of flowers caught them up
As they fell in the autumn dew,
And shaped with a twirl of her fingers
This spire of feathery blue.

Here and yonder, near little mud puddles in the woods and by the wayside, he would find the Blue Butterflies, tiny, dainty fairies with blue upon their wings.


Blue Jay
(Mark Cassino)


O Blue Jay up in the little tree
A-tossing your saucy head at me
With never a word at my questioning.
Pray cease for a moment your tink-a-link
You bonny bit of spring.
Did you dip your wings into azure dye
When April began to paint the sky
That was pale with the winter's stay?
Or were you hatched from a bluebell bright
'Neath the warm gold breast of a sunbeam bright
By the river one blue spring day?

This he said to Blue Jay -- this which he heard a little girl saying the day before this day, which was yesterday.
The day he met Job's Tears was a summer day and a warm one. In the woods was where he met these cousins of Day-flower and Wandering Jew. And even has he watched it he observed that it was only the flower of a part of a day for in the afternoon he saw its petals "dissolve in tears." So he told the Boys and Girls of this fairy and of why it was so named. Watch for it and, if it grows not near you, plant it so that you may have it near-by.
When he saw the Scottish Bluebells again he thought of that dear old song:

Let the proud Indian boast of his jessamine bowers
His pastures of perfume, and rose-coloured sells,
While humbly I sing of those wild little flowers,
The bluebells of Scotland, the Scottish bluebells.

In fields and by wayside Blue Vetch fairies welcomed Aurelius and he learned that these cousins of Lupine and Clover and Sweet Pea did also dwell in Europe and Asia. He saw Bumble-bees come unto these flowers, and did take nectar in the way that Mother Nature meant they should; but some did nip a part of the flower to get nectar more quickly. All this Aurelius saw as he tarried near these Tinegrass fairies, these Blue Vetch fairies.
Too, upon his journey, he found Baby Blue-eyes, darling little flowers by the way. Each time he saw a Baby Blue-eyes in blossom he told it of another Baby with eyes of blue.
When he came to the blue eggs in the Robin's nest he thought of the verse:


The winds blow east, the winds blow west,
The blue eggs in the robin's nest
Will soon have wings and beak and breast
And flutter and fly away.
-- Longfellow



Such a starved bank of moss,
'Till that May morn
Blue ran the flash across,
Violets were born
-- Browning



And just then through the twilight dim,
somewhere a voice was calling to him,
"O, WIND FAIRY," then softly, "My Brother
I know, and I'll tell you another."



I know, blue, modest violets,
Gleaming with dew at morn,
I know the place you came from
And the way that you are born.
When God cut holes in heaven,
The holes the stars look through,
He let the scraps fall down to earth --
The little scraps are you.

Over the pond he saw flitting a blue-winged Dragon fly.
Nearby he saw the Swallow, "the Swallow of the mud nest, he with blue and chestnut breastplate, he with snow upon his forehead."
Along the road here and there he found Oregon Grape with its beautiful clusters of blue berries. And he learned that 'twas the state flower of Oregon, and was also called Oregon Holly.
With the blue Lupine fairies in the field he lingered three days. When evening came and the leaves went to "sleep" Aurelius Evangel would creep into a flower and nestle there until the first Sunbeam fairies woke him up in the morning. While he tarried with Lupine fairies he learned that they were cousins of Sweet Pea, Clover, and Scotch Broom.
Along the way from day to day Aurelius Evangel saw, and thought beautiful indeed, the Cuckoo flies wearing bright sky blue. And he learned that they belonged to the family Chrysididae. Two of these dainty blue fairies were named Chrysis parvula and Chrysis smaragdula.
And in this wanderings he found he too Blue-Throated Hummingbird. Aurelius perched on a leaf near unto him and watched him take his breakfast of plant lice.
Among the smaller fairy Butterflies who wore the blue upon their wings, Aurelius Evangel learned to know well Thecla halesus, Thecla m-album and Thecla clytie.
In July along a woodland stream he came upon Blue Tangle. It belongs among the Joyous Blue, not because of its flowers, which are greenish pink, but because of its dark-blue berries. Aurelius tiptoed upon a leaf and took a wee bite of one, for his breakfast, then he took a wee bite for dinner -- and yet there was left three-fourths of a berry.
But the tenderest blue of all that he found upon his journey was the blue of a Mother's eyes. And soft was the light in her eyes as she cuddled her children close about her in the twilight hour. Aurelius hovered near the children, but they knew him not. They only thought the wind was near. How he loved the children all along the way I cannot tell, for his love for them was too deep and too great to tell; but the greatness of his love was shown in his daily striving to help them to find the Joyous Blue.

Blue Butterfly
(Artist)


On his journey he found the Helmet-flower growing in a meadow -- and he watched the Bees come unto their blue flowers.
Along the way he met a Butterfly mother, Argunnis diana; and her beautiful velvet black wings had blue spots on them.
Only one moth he saw with blue upon its wings and that was Composia fidelissima.
When Aurelius came unto the Closed Gentians, cousins of the Fringed Gentians, he perceived that someone was there before him. Someone had started a blossom, but the back end of him and his legs were sticked out. Even as Wind Fairy watched Sir Bumble-bee backed out -- and was off again to another plant. Aurelius said unto himself "Really these bees do help Mother Nature in sending Baby Seeds into the world for as they journey from flower to flower they carry pollen from flower to flower." Then he crept into the blossom from which Sir Bumblebee had just backed out and cuddled down for a nice afternoon nap. And the soft summer songs of his brother Wind Fairies among the trees lulled him to sleep.
Throughout the summer and in early autumn days he often met the Blue Aster Fairies -- and he learned that their name Aster came from a Greek word meaning star, and that they were cousins of Sunflower, Dandelion, Daisy, and Thistle.

Thistle
Cirsium occidentale
(Brother Alfred Brousseau)


When he came to the darling Forget-me-nots he told them of his legend:

When to the flowers so beautiful
The Father gave a name
There came a little blue-eyed one.
And timidly it came
And standing at the Father's feet
And gazing in His face
It said in a low and trembling tones
Yet with a gentle grace
"Dear Lord, the name Thou gavest me
Alas I have forgot."
Kindly the Father looked Him down
And said, "Forget-me-not."


Steller's Jay
Cyanocitta stelleri
(Lynn Chamberlain)


Next Chapter:
Twilight, and then -- Night