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From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Start of Story
Age Rating 2 to 4.
A potato and a rusty nail lay side by side in an old shed. Through the
winter they found very little to say to one another, but when the
spring came the potato grew restless and talkative.
"This is a poor life for us," she said. "Do you not feel that it is a
waste of time lying here like this?"
"Not at all," said the rusty nail. "If you had been knocked about as
much as I have you would be glad to lie still." He was bent in the
back and had lost half his head, so he had a right to talk.
"But I want to grow!" cried the potato. "I want to go down into the
dark warm earth, where it is so easy to grow. Then I should send up
white stalks that turn green when they reach the sunlight, and bear
broad leaves and beautiful flowers. My children would grow on my
white, stalks under the ground. Ah! that would be life indeed!"
"You seem to me to be talking nonsense," said the nail. "I once lived
in a kitchen, where a great many potatoes were cooked every day, but
none of them had the beautiful leaves and flowers you talk about."
But the potato was not listening now, for something seemed to be moving
inside her. "I feel so strange!" she cried. "I am sure something is
going to happen."
The next moment something did happen. The skin was pushed open, and a
little white shoot poked its head out. "I am growing!" cried the
potato joyfully. "Oh, I wish somebody would put me in the ground."
But, alas! nobody understood potato-language, so she lay there for
several days longer. Then a little boy who was playing saw her and
picked her up.
"Here is a potato growing without any ground," he said. "I shall plant
it in my garden."
He carried her to his garden, made a hole, and planted her. She
nestled thankfully down into the warm earth as he covered her up. "At
last I am put into my right place and can really grow," she said. And
grow she did. Shoot after shoot ran up from her sides, spreading out
in the sunlight into broad green leaves and beautiful lavender coloured
flowers. And the little potatoes came, all along the white underground
stems. Bigger and bigger they grew, till they were as big and fine as
their mother had been. How proud she was of them!
But as they grew she dwindled and lost her strength, for she was giving
all the substance of her body to feed her children. "What is the
matter, little Love-Mother?" they asked tenderly. "Why do you grow so
weak and thin?" They did not understand where their food came from,
but she knew and was well content. "It is my life, but they need it,
and I am happy in giving it," she said softly to herself.
So day by day she grew less and less, till with a loving sigh she died.
"I am happy," was her last thought, "for I have done my part in the
world, and now, like the rusty nail, I am glad to rest."
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