"Y OU don't seem to have to come out of the ground to get started," Jack said to his sweet peas one day.
"Oh, no," was the reply.
"But why? Don't you need air and light?"
"Yes; but we have enough food stored underground to start us, and, as a matter of fact, we prefer to lie still and let our clean, fresh leaves go out into the world."
"Do garden peas act the same way as sweet peas?" asked Jack, very much awake by this time to what was going on in the garden.
"Yes," the sweet pea said, in a voice as musical as a summer brook. "Yes the garden peas are our cousins,—our country cousins, as it were; they grow in the same way we do, and we are very fond of them."
"Do you have a baby in your seed, too?" demanded Jack,
"My seed is a baby pea," was the reply. "Between my two round cotyledons you can see the rest of the infant tucked away, ready when warmth and moisture come, to spring up and grow into a vine.
"Yes, that's so," Jack said, slowly; then added, "Ain't you afraid to stay out in the garden all night?" It had come over him all of a sudden that he would be very much afraid.
"Do you mean, 'Aren't you afraid'?" asked the pea, politely but a little severely.
"Ye-e-s," said Jack, half a mind to rebel against having to correct bad grammar out of school, but not wanting to offend the pea either; "Aren't you afraid?"
"No, I am not afraid. We plants love the night-time. We
can see as well as in the
Jack wanted to ask if they could see at any time without eyes, but feared it might be considered impolite.
The pea replied to his thought.
"Not as you see, but we have a way of knowing about things that you see. I cannot explain how it is, for you are not a pea and could not understand."
"Can you hear?" asked Jack.
"Not as you hear. But we have a way of knowing about things that you hear. I cannot explain how it is, for you are not a pea and could not understand."
"Can you smell, or taste, or feel?" persisted Jack.
"Not as you smell, or taste, or feel. But we have a way of knowing about things that you smell, and taste, and feel. I cannot explain how it is, for you are not a pea and could not understand."
"I don't seem to know peas either," muttered Jack to himself.
"No, you don't know about peas. If you did, you would know more than the President of the United States and the Principal of your school put together."
"My!" said Jack.
"You never will know all about peas," the pea went on. "You can know a good many things about them, as well as about other things, that will be good for you, if you keep your eyes open and your brain working."
"How they all like to teach a feller," thought Jack, as the pea settled down as though through talking.
"Teach a fellow," said the pea, rousing up; "teach a boy would sound better yet."
"Teach a boy," corrected Jack meekly, and then walked off and found Ko, and told him all the pea had said.
"You dreamed it, you silly," said Ko, with a very fine air, for he was two years older than Jack, and sometimes liked to remind his brother of this fact. "You dreamed it, and anyway 't ain't polite to listen to what people think."
"No," said Jack, politely but a little severely, just as the pea had said it to him, "it isn't polite, but then that may be polite among peas,—you don't know peas, you must remember, that."