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From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Start of Story
Age Rating 2 to 4.
A tiny sea-weed spore loosened itself from its place in a forked branch
of the mother sea-weed, whirled itself round and round in the water,
and began to sink towards the sea-floor. A passing current caught it,
lifted it, and carried it far past its old home to where a cluster of
bare rocks guarded the shore. Here, broken up by the rocks, the
current weakened. The spore, carried into the calmer waters of a
sheltered pool, eddied, trembled, and slowly sank. From the spore
sprang amber-coloured rootlets, fixing it firmly to a rock. A little
amber-coloured stem grew upwards through the sea, growing ever thicker
and stronger as the weeks went on, till at last it reached the top.
Drawing its daily food from the nourishing sea, the plant went on from
strength to strength. Amber branches grew; amber leaves, veined and
thin and long, swayed with every movement of the water. Spores formed
and loosed themselves, and whirled and slowly sank, to grow in turn to
neighbour plants amongst the rocks.
Year after year passed by, through winter's rains and summer's gentle,
sun-kissed days, till many years had flown. From the tiny spore, which
in that earlier day was borne so helplessly, had grown a mighty forest.
Great lifting, drifting trees of kelp, their roots like iron bands
about the rocks, their heavy limbs upheld by rows of air-filled floats,
swayed back and forth with every rolling wave. Hidden, protected by
the giant boughs, what life was here! What a wonder-scene of beauty!
Delicate sea-plants, red and purple and green, waved their slender
fronds beneath the shelter of their stronger forest brothers.
Bright-scaled fishes darted through the trees. Shell-fish, safe in
spiral, fluted homes, climbed their trunks and cut with saw-edged
tongues sweet daily meals of amber leaf and stem. Sea-urchins and
starfishes crawled over their roots; anemones spread their lovely cruel
arms to catch their prey; shell-less sea-snails, crystal clear, hid
between the branches, peering out with bright black eyes at all that
passed in this gay water-world. At night, a million tiny
phosphorescent creatures shone and glowed from every leaf and branch
and stone, as if a million fairy lanterns had been lit beneath the sea.
A great storm came. Far out to sea the black clouds lowered; they
loosed their lightning sheets. The leaden rollers rose and fell and
muttered to the thunder's crash. Sea-birds screamed and fled to land.
From the line where sea met sky came the hoarse, roaring wind, lashing
little waves into foaming billows, tearing them up and flinging them
far through the maddened air. Below the surface of the sea the
swimming, crawling creatures sank like startled shadows to the floor
for safety till the storm was past. Only the great kelp trees were
left to bear its brunt. Wave after wave crashed against the branches,
tossed them this way and that, whipped off their floats and leaves,
tore the slighter stems away and strewed them high upon the rocks.
When the storm was over, and sunny days had come again, and children
played and paddled on the beach, the sand was strewn with little
floats. The children stamped on them, and laughed to hear them pop as
the pent-up air escaped. One toddler wondered loudly what they were
and where they grew. Down among the rocks the wearied seaweed raised
its torn and battered branches through the sea, and set to work again
to grow its slender stems, its ridge-veined leaves, its scores of
pointed amber floats. Slowly its full beauty returned, till once again
the fairy lights shone on the old gay life of wonderland.