DOWN in the depths of the river, near the shore where the mud and slime were not swept away by the current, grew a humble plant. The flags pressed about it, and thrust their leaves like green swords through the water up into the brightness and pure air, and the eel-grass made a tangled net-work above it. No one expected the little plant to amount to much.

But lying there in the ooze, it thought, "The water is luminous over my head.  There is more brightness above than I have had. The flags and the rushes swaying and fluttering up there whisper together of the warm south wind, the gray clouds, and the glory of the sun. If I only could rise! 

If I only could!  "By-and-by the plant sent forth a leaf, an odd round thing like a fan, and slowly lifted the leaf on the summit of its flexible stem toward the surface of the water.

"Pray don't be too pushing," said the duckweed. "You are as well off as the rest of us. A plant of your condition ought to be modest. Don't be too pushing; no good will come of it." 

The humble plant gave no heed to its neighbor's comments, but patiently lifted the round leaf a little higher each day. One morning it felt a strange electric thrill. The leaf had reached the surface of the river, and the sun shone upon it, and the tall flags parted a little to make room, while they whispered kindly, "Good morning, neighbor."

Soon the plant found a round, green ball in its bosom." Ah, this is a bud," it said to itself. "It shall go up to my happy leaf, and there expand the loveliness I know is hidden within it."

Patiently as it had lifted the leaf, the plant lifted the bud toward the sunshine.  The dreamy summer days went by, and at last the round bud opened its sepals, and like a radiant, golden-hearted star of snow, a blossom lay upon the river, and looked into the sky. The red-winged blackbirds flitting to and fro among the flags, sang of it; the south wind breathed its spicy fragrance; the tall flags whispered, "How beautiful!" and the hope of the plant was fulfilled.

Bertram Krause was the son of a poor laborer. His father wanted him to become a smith.

"Ah! Now, if Bertram could shoe an ox, or mend a cart wheel, that's all I 'd ask," he would say.

But Bertram had different aspirations for himself. He wished to become an artist and paint great pictures like those in the cathedra], into which he often stole to dream and hope.

With a bit of charcoal he could sketch anything, and the lads thought it fine sport to be his models; but his father declared such idling wicked, and said, "Who are you, Bertram Krause, to despise honest work such as your father has done all his life? You will never be worth your salt."

One day, Bertram went to the riverbank to cut flags. He worked industriously all the morning, and at noon, when he sat down upon the shore to eat his bread and cheese, he was very warm, and after he had eaten, he stretched himself upon the grass and fell asleep. When he awoke, the first thing he saw was a water lily shining white among the flags.

"Oh!" he cried. "Oh! A water lily!" and quickly springing up, he waded into the water and picked it. With the blossom came the long, trailing stem, the mud and slime still clinging to it. "This beauty is lowly born," he thought, as he smelled its spicy fragrance, and with that thought a plan and a hope came into his mind.

His mother was a quiet woman, who had learned to watch and wait, and she sympathized with him, and encouraged his dream. 

To her he went with the plan, and she procured for him a sheet of coarse paper and some crayons.

With all the skill he possessed, he drew a sketch of the river, the flags, and the water lily amidst them, and when it was done he carried it tremblingly to a great artist in the city.

Years rolled away, and at the yearly art exhibition at Munich a picture appeared, representing a summer sky, a tangle of reeds and flags, a stretch of sullen river, and upon the grassy shore a ragged, bare-foot boy, who was holding a water lily, at which he gazed with a look of love and joy.

"That," said an artist, "is by the celebrated Bertram Krause, and is called 'The Dawn of Hope! "'


AMONG the beautiful varieties of the Nymphaea, to which the white water lily belongs, are, the water-lotus of Egypt, said to resemble the white water lily in foliage and flower; the showy red or rose-colored lily of the East Indies; a water-plant from the Cape of Good Hope, with exquisitely beautiful blue, highly scented blossoms; the Euryale Ferox, a noble aquatic lily of the East Indies, bearing bluish purple or violet flowers; and, far surpassing all these, the magnificent Victoria Regia, of South America, whose flower resembles the white water lily in form and color, but measures more than a foot across; the petals, fifty or sixty in number, are of the most delicate tissue and lace-like appearance; the leaves of the plant are of a pleasant green on the upper surface, while the lower is of a rich, dark crimson; they are from five to seven feet in diameter, and are capable of sustaining a weight of one hundred pounds.  Praise God for His glorious creations for man to behold!