Do you love strawberries? Oh! They are my favourite! Every kid waits for the cute red berries season. There is a young girl just like you – waiting for the summers to fill her “little basket with the sweet and scented fruit”. But who is she and what is her story? Let’s find out by reading this strawberry story of a young girl, which is written in the form of a song.
The Strawberry Story of a Young Girl
It is summer! it is summer! how beautiful it looks!
There is sunshine on the old gray hills, and sunshine on the brooks
A singing-bird on every bough, soft perfumes on the air,
A happy smile on each young lip, and gladness everywhere.
Oh! is it not a pleasant thing to wander through the woods,
To look upon the painted flowers, and watch the opening buds;
Or seated in the deep cool shade at some tall ash-tree’s root,
To fill my little basket with the sweet and scented fruit?
They tell me that my father’s poor – that is no grief to me
When such a blue and brilliant sky my upturned eye can see;
They tell me, too, that richer girls can sport with toy and gem;
It may be so – and yet, I think, I do not envy them.
When forth I go upon my way, a thousand toys are mine,
The clusters of dark violets, the wreaths of the wild vine;
My jewels are the primrose pale, the bind-weed, and the rose;
And show me any courtly gem more beautiful than those.
And then the fruit! the glowing fruit, how sweet the scent it breathes!
I love to see its crimson cheek rest on the bright green leaves!
Summer’s gift of luxury, in which the poor may share,
The wild-wood fruit my eager eye is seeking everywhere.
Oh! Summer is a pleasant time, with all its sounds and sights;
Its dewy mornings, balmy eves, and tranquil calm delights;
I sigh when first I see the leaves fall yellow on the plain,
And all the winter long I sing – sweet summer, come again.
Mary Botham Howitt
Mary Botham Howitt wrote this poem “Summer Song of the Strawberry Girl.” One of the popular 19th century English authors, Mary was born on 12 March 1799 in the English town of Coleford, Gloucestershire. She is best known for her famous children’s poem “The Spider and the Fly,” and had over 180 books to her name.
She was born to a custodian of some mining property and lived in the Queen Anne style house, which is still there and is known as the ‘Howitt Place’ in her memory. Mary Botham was home tutored that largely influenced her love of books, encouraging her to start writing poetry from a tender age.
At 21, she married William Howitt with whom she wrote a collection of poems, called The Desolation of Eyam and other Poems, published in 1827. In the 1840s, Mary became attracted to Scandinavian literature, leading to her most famous piece, The Spider and the Fly. Howitt also wrote factual books such as The Literature and Romance of Northern Europe, 1852, and two volumes of a Popular History of the United States, 1859.
The recognised author converted to Catholicism later in life and was given the opportunity to meet the Pope on 10 January 1888. Unfortunately, within three weeks of this grand meeting, she died in Rome on 30 January 1888 at the age of 88, after contracting bronchitis.
1. What is the theme of this poem?
The poem revolves around the sense of gratitude that a little girl displays when her beloved summer season arrives. She is fascinated by the bright sunshine, blooming flowers of all kinds, and the air full of scent. She believes all the roses and violets are her gems and toys. But as the name suggests, more than all of this, the little girl in the poem loves strawberry — the sweet and scented fruit.
This strawberry story also hints that the girl is poor but it doesn’t matter to her as she considers the strawberry as a ‘gift of luxury’ and nature as her treasure and toys!
2. The little girl in this strawberry story says it doesn’t matter to her if her father is poor. Why doesn’t it matter?
In the third and fourth stanzas, the girl is saying that her father is poor but it doesn’t matter to her because she is full of gratitude for her eyes that can see the beautiful blue sky. She believes the roses, wild vines, and violets are gems and jewels for her.