Spring always seems to begin on the morning that the Imp, in a bright pink nightgown, comes rushing into my room without knocking, and throws himself on my bed, with a sprig of almond blossom in his hand. You see, the almond blossom grows just outside the Imp's window, and the Imp watches it very carefully. We are none of us allowed to see it until it is ready, and then, as soon as there is a sprig really out, he picks it and flies all round the house showing it to everybody. For the Imp loves the Spring, and we all know that those beautiful pink blossoms mean that Spring is very near.
And what are the things we know the Summer by? Summer clothes say little girls, and big straw hats say boys. Well, and what do they mean but the heat? The Imp wears a huge straw hat and a loose holland overall but he goes about panting, and lies flat on the ground with the straw hat over his nose to keep the sun from burning his face. And the Elf wears an overall, too, and a pale blue calico sunbonnet over her curls. All the same she is often too hot to enjoy anything except sitting in the swing in the orchard and listening to fairy tales. And I, well, I am often too hot to tell fairy tales. For fairyland is a cool, comfortable place, and big, hot Ogres melt it away like an ice palace.
I told you that we are sad when we know that Summer is passing away; but that is only because we love the Summer, with her gay flowers and fair green clothes, and not because we do not like the Autumn. The Imp and the Elf laugh at me when I tell them that all Ogres and Ogresses, all people who are grown up and can never be Imps and Elves again, love the Autumn and the Spring even better than the Summer herself. And then, to make them understand, I tell them a fairy story, how, once upon a time, Spring and Summer and Winter and Autumn were four beautiful little girls.