FTER a long and soaking rain, the Earthworms came out of
their burrows, or rather, they came part way out, for each
Earthworm put out half of his body, and, as there were many
of them and they lived near to each other, they could easily
visit without leaving their own homes. Two of these long,
slimy people were talking, when a
"Dreary!" exclaimed one of the Earthworms, "it is delightful. The earth is a snug and soft home. It is warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather. There are no winds to trouble us, and no sun to scorch us."
"But," said the Potato Bug, "it must be very dull. Now, out in the grass, one finds beautiful flowers, and so many families of friends."
"And down here," answered the Worm, "we have the roots. Some
are brown and woody, like those of the trees, and some are
white and slender and soft. They creep and twine, until it
is like passing through a forest to go among them. And then,
there are the seeds. Such busy times as there are in the
"Still, after the plants are all growing and have their heads in the air, you must miss them."
"We have the roots always," said the Worm. "And then, when the summer is over, the plants have done their work, helping to make the world beautiful and raise their seed babies, and they wither and droop to the earth again, and little by little the sun and the frost and the rain help them to melt back into the earth. The earth is the beginning and the end of plants."
"Do you ever meet the meadow people in it?" asked the
"Many of them live here as babies," said the Worm.
"Truly," said the Potato Bug, "you have a pleasant home, but give me the sunshine and fresh air, my six legs, and my striped wings, and you are welcome to it all."
"You are welcome to them all," answered the Worms, "We are contented with smooth and shining bodies, with which we can bore and wriggle our way through the soft, brown earth. We like our task of keeping the earth right for the plants, and we will work and rest happily here."
The Potato Bug went his way, and said to his brothers, "What
do you think? I have been talking with Earthworms who would