"G IVE me one!" demanded Jack, a few days later, as he found his brother disposing of a big apple.
"This is all I have, but I'll give you a bite," Ko replied.
"Why can't you give me half?" persisted Jack, who grew hungrier and hungrier for that apple, as he saw his chances of having it diminish.
"Well, piggy-wig, I will."
So Ko cut the apple in two, and in doing so, cut across the core, of course.
"My!" said Jack, who had come to look much more closely at things since the seeds began to talk to him. "What a cunning cradle those little black babies have! "They are babies, aren't they, Ko,—those apple seeds?"
"Of course," said Ko, with a very superior air.
"How do you know?" rang out the apple seed's voice, like a little silver bell.
"I don't—exactly," said Ko, good-naturedly, "I just guessed so, because so many seeds are just the plants' babies, and then the walnut said something about it, though I don't remember just what."
"There, there, never mind looking!" pealed out the silver voice again, as Ko took up the seed to examine it.
"How am I going to find out?" demanded Ko.
"Oh, plant me! I would like that so much better than being pulled to pieces. And you would learn just as much—and more."
"All right," and Ko tucked the apple seed under the ground in the corner of his garden.
Well, it was a baby, for in the spring it started to grow, and Ko let it alone, and after a few years,—what do you think? He picked golden apples from that little black apple seed's tree!
"I say," said Jack, watching Ko plant it, "what a scheme it would be to plant all the apple seeds, and peach seeds, and pear seeds, and plum seeds,—and everything. Just plant a seed wherever there's a spot big enough for a tree."
"I heard about a man who did that," said Ko. "He planted something whenever he went for a walk. He put fruit trees in the fields and on the edge of the woods. Wherever he went the fruit trees grew. People found fruit in unexpected places, and were glad. Even when he had been dead a great many years, the people picked his fruit."
"That is nice," said Jack. "I mean to save my seeds."
"It puzzles me about plums and things," said Ko. "Let's ask mother for some plums and peaches, and see how they manage about their seeds. I guess the stones are seeds, and that they split open to let the baby out."
Perhaps you think I am going to tell you all that Jack and Ko found out about the pits of things,—but you are very much mistaken. If you want to know these things, as far as I am concerned, you will have to go to work and find them out for yourselves. And it isn't a hard matter, either; anybody with a pair of eyes and any sort of a mind can do it pretty well.
But this I will tell you,—that Jack and Ko did not stop asking and looking, and when the next summer came, and they could pick the little seeds from the outside of the strawberries, and blackberries, and raspberries, and from the inside of the blueberries, and gooseberries, and currants, and grapes, and found these mites of seeds to be just tiny strawberry, and raspberry, and blackberry, and currant, and gooseberry babies, they thought they knew something about seeds!
They gathered grain, too, that summer,—heads of wheat, barley, and oats, and ears of corn; and they found them filled with grains, and they said these grains were seeds, and that each seed was a baby. They ended by saying that every seed—even the dandelion, and thistle-down, and the tiniest poppy or turnip seed—was a baby, and nothing but a baby. And maybe they were right about that.
But they did more than this,—what do you think? They said that everything had to grow from a seed, and that there was no other way to manage it—which shows how very, very little they knew after all.
For it is one thing to say that a lily can grow from a seed, but quite another thing to say it cannot grow except from a seed.
And right there is where they made their mistake.