Gateway to the Classics: Seed-Babies by Margaret Warner Morley
 
Seed-Babies by  Margaret Warner Morley

A New Kind of Seed

O NE day Kittie came upon something funny enough!

She found what she took to be a lot of round white seeds growing on the back of a leaf.


[Illustration]

"I didn't know seeds grew that way," Jack said, shaking his head over them. "Let's soak them," said he. So they soaked a few, but when they opened them they could find no seed-baby, only something soft and without any form at all.

How Ko laughed when he found what they were doing!

"You precious—pair—of—ninnies!" he roared.

"Well, what ails you?" demanded Jack, indignantly.

"Oh, my goodness! soaking—eggs—to make them grow!" gasped Ko.

"Eggs, nothing of the sort!" retorted Jack.

But Ko was right, as time proved; for one day, out of these little seeds, as Jack and Kittie persisted in calling them, there came creeping the very funniest and tiniest of caterpillars.

"I told you so," said Ko.


[Illustration]

"Seeds and eggs are the same thing, anyway," said Jack, coolly.

"Yes," Kittie hastened to add, "the very same thing, only little plants hatch out of seeds, and little animals out of eggs."

"There may be something in that," Ko admitted.

"You a seed-baby?" Jack demanded, very gently poking one of the little caterpillars that had already gone to work to eat the edge off the apple leaf upon which it had been hatched.

But if it was a seed-baby, it did not say so. It just rolled up into a ball and fell off the leaf on the ground.

"You've lost it!" screamed Kittie.

"It lost itself," protested Jack, "and anyway, I guess that kind of a seed-baby can take care of itself even if it is lost. They don't seem to have to be very old to do that."

The children were so anxious to keep their little caterpillars, that Kittie's mother gave them a piece of netting, which they tied over the branch where the caterpillars were, and so all summer the two boys and Kittie watched them grow.

Only Kittie's father said they must be sure that none of them escaped, for he didn't want his whole orchard eaten up by them.

"How they do  eat," said Ko, as he removed them for the third time to fresh branches, because there were no leaves left on the old ones.

"Their skins are falling off!" Jack exclaimed, one day. And sure enough, it was true. They crawled out of their skins plumper and bigger than they were before.

"They got too big for their skins," said Kittie.

"It's a handy way to grow," Jack said. "You just fill up your old skin, then pop it open and creep out with a brand new and bigger one on you."


[Illustration]

When they had changed their skins a number of times, and grown many times as large as they were at first, all the caterpillars spun soft cocoons and closed the doors behind them.

When winter came Kittie carried these little cocoons into the house, and towards spring out came, not the caterpillars, but in their place bright little millers.

"I must say," Jack remarked, "those were  queer seeds you found, Kittie."

"And I must say," added Kittie, "that the butterflies take a roundabout way to get here."

"They're not butterflies," said Jack, "they're millers."

"It's about the same thing, smarty," Kittie retorted.


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