The Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 78 pages of information about The Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children.
a mouthful of carbon here, and of nitrogen there.  But what are these two strange articles of food?  Nothing at all like bread and butter, you think.  Different, indeed, they seem; but you will one day learn that bread and butter are made in part of these very same things, and they are just as useful to Alba as your breakfast, dinner, and supper are to you.  For just as bread and butter, and other food, build your body, so carbon and nitrogen are going to build his; and you will presently see what a fine, large, strong body they can make.  Then, perhaps, you will be better able to understand what they are.

Shall we leave the feet to travel their own way for a while, and see where the fairy has led the little hand?

QUERCUS ALBA’S NEW SIGHT OF THE UPPER-WORLD

It was a soft, helpless, little baby hand.  Its folded fingers lay listlessly in the fairy’s gentle grasp.  “Now we will go up,” she said.  He had thought he was going down, and he had heard the chipping-birds say he would never come back again.  But he had no will to resist the gentle motion, which seemed, after all, to be exactly what he wanted:  so he presently found himself lifted out of the dark earth, feeling the sunshine again, and stirred by the breeze that rustled the dry leaves that lay all about him.  Here again were all his old companions,—­the chipping-birds, his cousins, old grandfather Rubra, and, best of all, his dear mother.  But the odd thing about it all was, that nobody seemed to know him:  even his mother, though she stretched her arms towards him, turned her head away, looking here and there for her lost baby, and never seeing how he stood gazing up into her face.  Now he began to understand why the chipping-birds said, “They never came back! they never came back!” for they truly came in so new a form that none of their old friends recognized them.

Every thing that has hands wants to work; that is, hands are such excellent tools, that no one who is the happy possessor of a pair is quite happy until he uses them:  so Alba began to have a longing desire to build a stem, and lift himself up among his neighbors.  But what should he build with?  Here the little feet answered promptly, “You want to build, do you?  Well, here is carbon, the very best material; there is nothing like it for walls; it makes the most beautiful, firm wood.  Wait a minute, and we will send up some that we have been storing for your use.”

And the busy hands go to work, and the child grows day by day.  His body and limbs are brown now, but his hands of a fine shining green.  And, having learned the use of carbon, these busy hands undertake to gather it for themselves out of the air about them, which is a great storehouse full of many materials that our eyes cannot see.  And he has also learned that to grow and to build are indeed the same thing:  for his body is taking the form of a strong young tree; his branches are spreading for a roof over the heads of a hundred delicate flowers, making a home for many a bushy-tailed squirrel and pleasant-voiced wood-bird.  For, you see, whoever builds cannot build for himself alone:  all his neighbors have the benefit of his work, and all enjoy it together.

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The Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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