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on the hillside.
From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Start of Story
Age Rating 2 to 4.
The sun shone gaily, the skylark sang her morning song, and the
crickets chirped their merriest; but the things that usually lived so
peacefully on the hillside were quarrelling.
It was the wind who began it. As he lifted the pollen from one patch
of grass-flowers and carried it to the next he cried boastingly: "What
a friend I am to you tiny creatures! If it were not for me you could
bear no seed. I am indeed useful. I am sure nobody does so much good."
"How absurd!" cried the bees. "Anyone would think you did all the work
of the world. You certainly carry the grass pollen, but think of the
flowers whose pollen we carry. What would the clover here do without
us? And the wild flowers, and the flowers in the gardens and orchards
all over the world. We are certainly the most useful."
At this thousands of earth-worms popped their heads above the ground.
"If you are talking about usefulness, don't forget us," they said.
"You see very little of us, for we come out at night when most of you
are asleep. But think of all the work we do. We burrow and burrow
here in our millions, ploughing the ground day after day till every
inch is opened up to let in the sweet air and drain away the water from
the surface. How could the flowers and grasses live if we did not do
this? Think how fine we keep the soil, powdering it as we do in our
burrowings! And how rich we make it by dragging down decaying leaves
into our holes every night. The world would be a sorry place for
everything that grows and lives if we did not work so hard. We are
surely more useful than anybody."
The grasses waved their flowered heads. "All that is true enough,"
they said; "but nobody can possibly be more useful than we are. Think
how we clothe the land and give food to hundreds of animals and shelter
to millions of insects."
A little cloud sailed softly down on to the hill-top to listen. "What
could any of you do without the clouds?" she asked. "You all depend on
our rain for your lives; you must confess you are less useful than we
"Ho! ho! ho!" laughed the merry sun. "Fancy quarrelling this fine
morning! Now I will tell you, and this will settle it once for all.
You are all useful, and not one of you could be spared, and not one of
you could do well without the other. Everything helps everything else.
The worms help the grass, and the grass feeds the worms; the bees help
the flowers, and the flowers feed the bees; the wind helps the clouds,
and the clouds become rain and help the wind in its work. And I am
here over you all, and if it were not for me nothing could live, so,
after all, I am the most useful. If I did not shine there would be no
grass, no worms, no flowers, no bees, no wind, and no clouds. Now go
on with your work."