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Margaret Warner Morley

Sweet Kittie Clover

I T was sweet Kittie Clover who found that lilies, and berry bushes, and some other things grow by bulbs and buds instead of by seeds.

You all know Kittie; at least, everybody used to know her, for there was a song about her, beginning, "Sweet Kittie Clover, she bothers me so."

Well, it was Kittie who showed Jack and Ko the funny little black bulbs in the armpits—no, the leaf-pits—of the big tiger-lily, and how the sprouts that made new bushes sometimes came out of the roots of the old bushes, instead of out of seeds.

But she agreed with the boys that a great many things in the plant world had to start from seeds.

She used to gather the flower seeds and soak them until they had become soft, and then with her father's big magnifying glass, she would look at the little plants curled up in the seeds.

"Come over here and see something," she called to Jack and Ko one morning, for they were next-door neighbors.

Kittie was about half way between Jack and Ko in age, and the three played together a great deal of the time. Of course the boys had told her all the things the plants had said to them. This had pleased her so much that she, too, began talking to the flowers and other live things about her.

She used to get into mischief very often and bother people, and I suppose that is what the song meant.

To-day she had to stay in the house, because she had "accidentally, on purpose," as the boys said, walked through a puddle of water and got her feet soaking wet.

So there she sat, wishing for something to do, when she caught sight of the morning-glory vines, and all at once she remembered she had put some seeds to soak the day before. This was just the time to look at them, so she ran and got them.

Then she called the boys, for she thought she really had something worth showing.

Jack and Ko came racing over at Kittie's call, glad of an excuse to see her, for they always felt badly when she was in disgrace, almost as badly as if they had been the cause of it.

Sometimes they were the cause of it, and helped her get into mischief, but they were always sorry—when it was too late!

It is so very easy to get into mischief! Kittie said she never had to try a bit. She had to try hard to do everything else, but that seemed to do itself.

The boys were glad to see Kittie and glad to see what she had to show them.

Everybody remembers how the morning-glory looks when it first comes out of the ground. Two blunt little leaves appear that do not look at all like the heart-shaped ones that come later.

Well, Kittie slipped off the black skin of the seed, and inside she found, packed about by some clear, jelly-like material, these same two little leaves, as blunt as you please, and all curled up in the seed.

"That's worth seeing!" said Ko. "It has its food separate from its cotyledons."

"Is that jelly its food?" demanded Jack.

"It must be," said Ko. And Kittie thought so, too.

After a while the morning-glory told them all about it, and Ko was quite proud to learn he had guessed right. The jelly is  the food, the morning-glory said.

Then Kittie soaked a lot of four-o'clock seeds, and in each of them found the tender little plant, with no starch to speak of stored in its cotyledons, but instead, lying embedded in a floury mass of food.

It would take a long time to tell of all the queer and lovely seed-babies Kittie and the boys saw in the flowers that summer. They looked at wild flowers as well as at those in the garden, and everywhere the story was the same. In the seed was stored away the plant-baby.

They had a lot of fun doing it, and anybody who likes can have just as much fun, for the seeds are always ready to show their treasures.