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discontented root.

From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Age Rating 2 to 4.

Start of Story

The Root was grumbling again, and everybody felt unhappy. "It's not fair," she said. "Why should I have to stay down here in the dark while you can all live in the sunshine? It is work, work, work all day down here, finding water and food for you all; while you do nothing but enjoy yourselves." "Oh, you must not say that," cried the stems. "We are as busy as you are. Your work would be useless if we did not spend our time carrying water and food from you to the leaves and flowers. And think of the weight we are bearing. You cannot say your work is harder than ours." "It certainly is not harder than ours," said the leaves. "Think of all that goes on in our workshops. We supply as much food from the air as you from the earth. You must not say we are not busy." The flowers bent their heads and spoke. "Dear little Root-sister," they said, "do not make us unhappy with your discontent. Life is very full of work for all of us. You must give us food or we cannot live, and we flowers must make our seed or the family would die out, so we help each other. Your work lies in the dark earth, certainly, while ours is in the sunshine; but the life up here would not suit you. I am sure you would die if you tried to live above the ground."

But the Root would not understand. "Fine words," she said, "but no comfort to me! Oh! I wish I could go up into the sunshine." One day she had her wish, for a slip of the gardener's spade turned her above the ground. She was delighted, but the others were in despair. "Oh, dear, whatever will become of us now?" they cried. "If only the gardener would see you and put you in again!" But the gardener did not notice; it lay there all day. "The sunshine is delightful," said the Root, though really its glare and heat were making her feel quite dizzy. "How hot the sun is! And how parched we are!" sighed the drooping flowers. "Now we must die, and our poor little half-formed seeds will never grow into beautiful plants." And they laid their tender faces on the hot earth and died. The afternoon wore on. The gasping leaves and soft stems almost died too, but the coolness of evening and the night dew revived them a little; when the morning came they tried to lift themselves and live on in spite of the hot sunshine that came again. As for the Root, she was longing now for the gardener to come and put her in the earth. She had been dried and withered by the heat, then half frozen by the cold night dew; now here was another day to face in this glare of light and cruel sunshine. She knew now that the flowers were right in saying that the life above ground would not suit her. "If the gardener does not come soon I shall die, too," she thought. The gardener came, saw the upturned Root, and set it in its old place. "I will never grumble at my life again," said the Root as the soft cool earth closed in around her. "How thankful we are!" whispered the leaves faintly. "Now we shall live again." But the flowers said nothing, for they were dead.


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