How The Buttercup Grew Yellow
Military Handbooks: Infantry Drill Regulations United States Army 1911
Long, long ago it is told that the flowers were all white and that each
received its color by some magic power.
The little Daisy, with its yellow eye, received its golden center when
the angry elves pelted the little Fairies with sunbeams.
The Daisy grew to be very proud of her yellow eye and thought it showed
off to perfection her pure white rim. One day she was looking about
the field whe
e she grew and saw the little White Cups growing all
about her in abundance.
"There is too much white in this field," she told the other Daisies.
"Our beautiful white borders would show off much better if the White
Cups were golden."
"But perhaps the White Cups do not wish to become golden," said her
"Oh, but we do, dear Daisies," said the White Cups all in chorus; "we
have always wanted to be a beautiful yellow like your eyes, but we
thought you would not like to have us that color, as we have to live in
the same field."
"Oh yes, we would," said the Daisy, "and I am sure the fields will look
much more beautiful with you a golden color than white; besides that,
we shall be seen to better advantage; so both of us will gain by the
"But who will help us to change our color?" asked the White Cups.
The daisy thought a long time, and at length she said: "You might get
the Goblins to color you, but the thing is to get them to do it. They
are such queer little fellows that if they thought they were bothering
the Fairies they would do it quick enough; but if we ask them to make
you yellow that we all may look more beautiful they would only laugh
and run off."
"Why can't we make them think they would make the Fairies angry if they
made us golden?" asked the White Cups; "I am sure we can find a way."
"That would be the very thing," said the Daisy, "but what do you
propose to do?"
"We will ask the Fairies when they come into the fields to-night for
their frolic," said the White Cups.
That night when the Fairies came flying over the field the White Cups
called to them and told them what they wanted.
"Oh, that will be beautiful," said the Fairy Queen, "and we can fool
the Goblins easy enough, as you shall see."
The Fairy Queen called her Fairies around her and whispered so low that
the field flowers could not hear what she said, but they heard the
Fairies laugh as they flew away, and each alighted on a little White
Cup and began to sing.
"We love you, little White Cup, Our Lady of the Field;
We will watch o'er you and keep you and from all danger shield;
You are prettier than the Daisy with her yellow eye so bright,
You are like a waxen blossom in the pale moonlight."
Over and over they sang the verse as they leaned over and kissed the
little Cups, and by and by from out of the woods came the Goblins,
hopping and jumping like leaves before the wind.
"Here they are," they said, when they saw the Fairies. "Listen and
hear what they are singing."
When they heard the Fairies' pretty love song to the little White Cup
the Goblins kicked up their heels and laughed, each laying a tiny
finger beside his nose as he winked at his brother.
Off they scampered to the woods again, and the Fairies kept on singing
their song, while the Daisy watched with its yellow eye, wondering how
her cousin, the White Cup, would be made the color for which she had
By and by the Goblins came back, but this time they carried bags over
their shoulders and they crept carefully through the grass.
The Fairies saw them all the time, but of course they pretended not to,
and when the Goblins were quite near the Queen said:
"Come, my children; leave your best-loved flower for to-night.
To-morrow you shall come again."
As they were flying away they glanced back, and in the moonlight they
saw the Goblins hard at work over each little White Cup.
When the morning sun awoke he opened wide his eyes, for all over the
field among the Daisies he beheld little Golden Cups nodding gaily at
their cousins with the golden eyes.
The next night when the Fairies came flying through the fields they saw
the Yellow Cups. "You are more beautiful than ever," they said to the
Golden Cups, "and we will call you our Golden Cups, but you must be
known as the Buttercups or the Goblins will discover our trick and make
you white again."
The Buttercups thanked the Fairies and told them they would be glad to
be their cups whenever they gave a banquet and that never would they
let the Goblins know the Fairies had fooled them.
So they bloom among the Daisies in the fields and are called
Buttercups, but they know to the Fairies they are the little Golden
Cups, and the Goblins wonder why the Fairies always seem so happy when
they fly near the Buttercup and find it changed.
The Fairies are too wise to let the Goblins know how they fooled them
and gained for the Buttercups the very color that they wanted, but it
is rather hard sometimes not to tell them when the little Goblins
scamper about and try to upset their plans.
The Fairy Queen has taught them that "Silence is golden," and they know
their Queen is always right.