The Daisy Seed
H AVE you ever heard the wind blowing and puffing and scattering the dead leaves on the ground and shaking them off the trees? When the wind is howling in this manner it is planting seeds. That may sound funny, but it is true, nevertheless. One windy fall day, the West wind was playing merrily in a field where many daisies had bloomed during the summer time (now they were all asleep), but on the ground all around were tiny seeds which the daisy plant had dropped. The West wind saw these little seeds and said to them, "You are so many here, that one will not be missed, and over in the next wood there is not one daisy to make things bright and pretty with its flowers, so I'll take one and carry it over into the woods." He then blew, and blew the little seed along before him, over the fence that enclosed the field, into the meadow, then down the lane into the woods. Here all the trees were bare and brown, for it was fall, and all plants were going to sleep for the winter. Here, deep into the woods, right on the banks of a brooklet, the West wind dropped the little daisy seed on the soft earth, then he stirred up the dead leaves that lay all around, and covered up the sleeping seed. How soundly it slept! So soundly that it did not even know that the wind was taking it away from its sisters and brothers—the other seeds.
After a short while, Jack Frost came with cold winds, snow and ice, which made everything shiver; but one little seed did not feel the cold, for it was sleeping warmly under its bed of leaves, which the West wind stirred up that fall day. How long winter lasted! The snow seemed never to melt; but at last the sun did shine warmer, and melted the snow away, then it made the brown earth warm and soft, and April came with its sunny showers, which made the branches of the trees and bushes swell, and the buds burst their brown coats which they wore in the winter time. One little daisy seed, away down in the dark earth, began to wake up also; it rubbed its eyes, and tried to see, but it was too dark down where it was to see anything, so it said to itself, "I must begin to grow upward where it feels so warm, and then I can see." It then burst its tight brown dress, and sent up two little green leaves, which peeped out of the earth and saw all the beautiful things around. There was the brooklet, which had been frozen all winter, thawed out now, and singing a sweet song to the flowers around. On the right side grew a bunch of lovely ferns, and on the left side were blue violets. When the little daisy leaves peeped out, the ferns and violets and the great oak tree were just saying "how do you do" to each other, for they had just waked from their long winter nap.
When they saw the baby daisy, they all cried, "Oh! see there! there is a stranger; it is a little daisy plant; welcome into our woods."
The daisy nodded and nodded, and felt glad. Then it began to grow and get more and more leaves, until it was tall and round. "How lovely it was here," it would say, when it woke up in the morning and heard the birds sing and drank the dew into its leaves; the ferns and violets, and even the big oak, were so kind to it.
One morning the ferns said to the violets, "Is not our daisy growing beautifully? But it does not seem to get buds; I do wish it would, so we could see the flowers. Do not you, also, dear violets?"
"Yes," said they; "we have never had daisies in blooms around here before. I do wish the flowers would come."
Our little daisy was getting worried about it, also, and looked among its leaves every morning to find a bud, and one morning the ferns shook their leaves with laughter and said, "I see a bud, I see a bud!" The violets said they saw a great many buds, and sure enough the daisy plant was full of round green buds, which grew and grew, and at length unfolded into beautiful daisies, with a golden center, and snow-white leaves, with a pink border. The brook sang of its beauty, and the birds told each other about it; every one loved the daisy, she was so sweet and modest.
One warm summer day, not long after the daisy had spread her buds into flowers, Mary and her papa took a walk in the woods to find flowers for their garden. Mary spied the daisy first, and clapped her hands merrily, and called, "Papa, papa, come and see the beautiful daisy plant; it is full of blossoms!"
Then papa came up and said that they would have to be very careful, in digging it up, for they might hurt the roots, and then it would die. So out of his pocket he took a knife, and dug up a great square patch of earth, with the plant in the middle of it. How sick the daisy felt! How it shivered when it was lifted up, and put into a basket that Mary was carrying! To think it would have to leave the woods, and the kind ferns and violets, and the dear brooklet, that murmured such sweet songs! It thought it would have to die right then, but Mary and her papa put cool green leaves all around and over it, to keep it damp, for the sun was shining so warm. It was then carried far out of the woods to Mary's home and put on a table. Then she called, "Willie! Willie! Come, quick, and see this pretty daisy I found in the woods!" Then the lid of the basket was raised, and two pair of blue eyes looked into it.
"Give it to me, Mary?" was the first question Willie asked.
But Mary said, "No, no; I want to plant it in my garden."
"Oh! then I will have no daisy in my garden; that is too bad," said Willie.
Suddenly Mary said, "Willie, now I know what we will do—plant it where our little gardens meet, then you will have half and I will have half, and we can then both take care of it. Run and get your spade, and I'll get a pail of water, for it is very thirsty; see how its leaves are hanging down, and its flowers also; it looks as if it would die; let us plant it quickly."
So out into the garden they ran and planted it, just between their little beds; then they gave it plenty of water, and Willie got a box from the wood-shed, which they put over it to keep the sun off for a few days. At first it felt sick and sad, but when night came and the dew, then it felt better and straightened up and put up its flowers again. How pretty the garden was—full of roses, tulips, lilies and snow-balls—all flowers that our little daisy had never seen in the woods. They were so kind to her, and asked her to dance with them, when they danced in the breezes, that the daisy felt as happy as she had done in the woods. Every morning Mary and Willie watered it, and dug around it, and one morning they picked some of its flowers to put into a bouquet for their dear mother's birthday present. When the daisy went to sleep with the other flowers for the winter, it said to itself, "When I wake up next spring, there will be a great patch of us, I am sure, for I dropped so many seeds." And so it was. The next spring there were fifty daisies, where there had been one before.