Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Margaret Warner Morley

More about Nuts

O F course Ko and Jack did not stop there.


They asked all sorts of nuts about themselves, and came to the conclusion that every nut was a seed-baby that only needed a good chance to wake up and grow.

Only some things puzzled them a great deal.


One was the hazel nut, that did not seem to have any place to split open like the rest, and the hazel only laughed at them, and would not tell them how it got out of its shell. They thought it must be a baby, for when they cracked it, there were the two little leaves and the tiny stump of a root ready to grow, just like the other seed-babies, and of course if it were a baby it would have to get out of its shelly cradle some time, but it would not tell how.


Nor am I going to tell any tales out of school, nor in school either.

If you want to know, you will have to do as Jack and Ko did,—plant it and keep it moist.

I can tell you this much,—Jack and his brother were considerably older as well as wiser before they finally discovered the hazel nut's secret. But they did not give up until they had  discovered it, which I hope is exactly the way you will behave.

Another thing that puzzled the boys was the Brazil nut.


They puzzled over that a long time. They couldn't make up their minds that it was a seed-baby at all; but if not, what was it?

They planted it, and one day when they were considerably older and wiser, it began to grow.

Of course then they knew, or thought they knew, it was a seed-baby. But never could they find in the Brazil nut any sign of the little plant, as they had found it in the other seeds.

"I think," said Jack, one day, "that it is not a seed-baby at all, for it hasn't told us anything."

"Humph!" said the Brazil nut.

"You had better keep still, Jack; it will begin to tell you, you don't understand," said Ko, warningly.

"Well," said the Brazil nut, "I might tell you that and tell the truth, but it would be too much trouble. I prefer to talk about myself.

"I grow in the forests of Brazil, where it is the hottest summer all the year round, and I grow on a very  tall and very  handsome tree.

"Twenty or thirty of us grow together in a cup that looks something like a cocoanut. We fill the space so full, and are so nicely fitted together, that if any one unpacks us, he can never put us all back again.

"Some of my cousins have lids to their cups, and these lids fall open when the cups get ripe, and drop from the tree, and let the nuts fall out.

"These are called monkey-cups, because the monkeys that live in the forest where we grow like to play with them.

"My cup has no lid, however, but is apt to break in its fall from the tall tree, or else we have to lie and wait and wait for that hard cup to get soft in the wet ground.

"We can swell, I tell you! When we get ready to grow, our shell is not so very hard, for it has soaked until it is rather soft, and we just press against it and burst it open."

"There!" said Ko, "I believe that is the way the hazel nut does it."

"Hazel nut? I don't know anything about hazel nut, but that is the way we get out of our shell."

"But where do you keep your baby?" asked Jack.

"Keep my baby? Why, you goose, I am all  baby! I am just a baby—a seed-baby—and nothing else."

"But I can't see your two leaves and your little root, even when I look with papa's glass," said Ko.

"Oh, well! I am not going to tell you all  my secrets. I  know how that is, and if you want to, you will have to find out."

"How can we find out?" asked Jack.

"That is your lookout," was the reply; and not another word could that nut be got to say, then or after.