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garden party.

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

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It was a lovely summer morning. Everybody in the garden was busy, for in the afternoon the flowers were to give their great garden-party. The bees and flies and moths and butterflies and little beetles were all invited. In the pansy plot the pansies put on their best velvet frocks, and brushed their little green shoes. The lilies dressed themselves in white, and hung bags of golden dust around their necks. The sweet-peas and roses and larkspurs were gay in many-coloured silks. They sprinkled scent over themselves, and filled their honey-jars full of sweetest honey for their visitors. All was cheerfulness and hustle. At last the afternoon came and the visitors arrived. What excitement! Such a buzzing and chattering! Such a bowing and smiling and polite shaking of wings and feelers! The bees and moths and flies and butterflies and little beetles flew about, singing with pleasure and drinking the delicious honey provided for them. They told the smiling flowers how lovely they were, and the flowers in return dusted them with their golden dust. As the visitors flew from flower to flower they carried the golden pollen dust with them, leaving a little here and there; thus the flowers were able to exchange. At last the party was over. The guests flew home well pleased, and the garden was quiet again. Night came; the flowers dropped their heads, and many slept.

But in the darkness some were awake, and they began to whisper to their neighbours: "Did you exchange?" The answers came: "Yes." "We did too." "So did we." "I shall not open to-morrow," said a pansy. "My exchanges are all made, and my seeds are beginning to grow. The bees found my honey easily, because my honey-guides helped them; so they carried all my pollen away, and brought plenty from my cousins." "That is so with us," said many of the others. But some said: "We must keep open a little longer. Our seeds are not all growing." So they opened again next day, and gave little parties of their own, till all the exchanges were made and all the seeds were growing. The sunny days passed, and now where the flowers had been were little seed-cases; some round, some pointed, some oval, but all filled to the brim with healthy young seeds. The sun shone on them, and they grew and grew till the cases would hold them no longer. Then there was a splitting and a bursting and a popping everywhere, and out sprang the little seeds, to begin a new life for themselves. As the young seedlings sprang up on every side, the older plants looked at them with pride. "We have very fine children," they said. "Next year we must give another garden-party."


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