Select the desired text size

kelp.

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

Start of Story

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.



the end

       



back to top
Back To Top
Audio version of this story
audio version of this story
Download the audio of this story
Download the audio of this story
Download the text of this story
download the text of this story