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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/f/frank.anne//diary/flower-girl

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
   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.
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