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Fisherman's Luck Henry van Dyke

A Wild Strawberry

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There is great luck in this affair of looking for flowers. I do not see how any one who is prejudiced against games of chance can consistently undertake it.

For my own part, I approve of garden flowers because they are so orderly and so certain; but wild flowers I love, just because there is so much chance about them. Nature is all in favour of certainty in great laws and of uncertainty in small events. You cannot appoint the day and the place for her flower-shows. If you happen to drop in at the right moment she will give you a free admission. But even then it seems as if the table of beauty had been spread for the joy of a higher visitor, and in obedience to secret orders which you have not heard.

Have you ever found the fringed gentian?

    "Just before the snows,
    There came a purple creature
    That lavished all the hill:
    And summer hid her forehead,
    And mockery was still.

    The frosts were her condition:
    The Tyrian would not come
    Until the North evoked her,--
    'Creator, shall I bloom?'"

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There are strange freaks of fortune in the finding of wild flowers, and curious coincidences which make us feel as if some one were playing friendly tricks on us. I remember reading, one evening in May, a passage in a good book called THE PROCESSION OF THE FLOWERS, in which Colonel Higginson describes the singular luck that a friend of his enjoyed, year after year, in finding the rare blossoms of the double rueanemone. It seems that this man needed only to take a walk in the suburbs of any town, and he would come upon a bed of these flowers, without effort or design. I envied him his good fortune, for I had never discovered even one of them. But the next morning, as I strolled out to fish the Swiftwater, down below Billy Lerns's spring-house I found a green bank in the shadow of the wood all bespangled with tiny, trembling, twofold stars,--double rueanemones, for luck! It was a favourable omen, and that day I came home with a creel full of trout.

The theory that Adam lived out in the woods for some time before he was put into the garden of Eden "to dress it and to keep it" has an air of probability. How else shall we account for the arboreal instincts that cling to his posterity?

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Fisherman's Luck
Henry van Dyke

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