Among the rocks, hairballs have their tiny five-parted chests; and the columbine, its standing group of narrow brown sacks, which show, if we open them, hundreds of tiny seeds.
But in the woods, the oak has stored her treasures in the acorn; the chestnut, in its bur which holds the nut so safely. The walnut and beech trees have also their hard, safe caskets, and the boys who go nutting know very well what is inside.
Autumn is the time to open these treasures. It takes all the spring and summer to prepare them, and some even need all of September too, before they are ready to open the little covers. But go into the garden and orchard, into the meadows and woods, and you have not far to look before finding enough to prove that the plants, no less than the children, have treasures to keep, and often most charming boxes to keep them in.
A PEEP INTO ONE OF GOD’S STOREHOUSES
Once there was a father who thought he would build for his children a beautiful home, putting into it every thing they could need or desire throughout their lives. So he built the beautiful house; and any one just to look at the outside of it would exclaim, How lovely! For its roof was a wide, blue dome like the sky, and the lofty rooms had arching ceilings covered with tracery of leaves and waving boughs. The floors were carpeted with velvet, and the whole was lighted with lamps that shone like stars from above. The sweetest perfumes floated through the air, while thousands of birds answered the music of fountains with their songs. And yet, when you have seen all this, you have not seen the best part of it: for the house has been so wonderfully contrived, that it is full of mysterious closets, storehouses, and secret drawers, all locked by magic keys, or fastened by concealed springs; and each one is filled with something precious or useful or beautiful to look at,—piles upon piles, and heaps upon heaps of wonderful stores. Every thing that the children could want, or dream of wanting, is laid up here; but yet they are not to be told any thing about it. They are to be put into this delightful home, and left to find it all out for themselves.
At first, you know, they will only play. They will roll on the soft carpets, and listen to the fountain and the birds, and wander from room to room to see new beauties everywhere; but some day a boy, full of curiosity, prying here and there into nooks and corners, will touch one of the hidden springs; a door will fly open, and one storehouse of treasures will be revealed. How he will shout, and call upon his brothers and sisters to admire with him; how they will pull out the treasures, and try to learn how to use the new and strange materials. What did my father mean this for? Why did he give that so odd a shape, or so strange a covering? And so through many questions, and many experiments, they learn at last how to use the contents of this one storehouse.