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From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Start of Story
Age Rating 2 to 4.
Thistle-mother looked up and saw that the winter was over, for the sun
was creeping higher and higher in the sky, and the birds were
practising their spring songs. So, unfolding her arms, she spread them
over the ground, and began to push herself up into the warm air.
Her home was on the roadside, where grasses and weeds grew so closely
together that it was hard to find room. As she grew, they began to
complain. "Don't push so," they cried. "And oh! how horribly prickly
you are! You are scratching us dreadfully."
"I am very sorry," she said, "but I really cannot help it. I seem to
grow like this without knowing it."
"Well, you might at least go somewhere else to live, where you will not
disturb so many people," they grumbled. But this was just what she
could not do. She went on growing; as the others shrank back from her
prickly arms she could look over their heads.
One day she saw a cow eating the grasses near her. She shuddered as
its long tongue twisted itself round their poor helpless stems, and
forced them into its great mouth. When it passed her by untouched she
felt thankful that she had so many thorns on her arms. "At last I know
why I grow like this," she thought. "The prickles are very useful,
When the summer came she began to make her children's cots. She wove
the overlapping sides of brightest cot-green, strong and fine. Then,
remembering the cow, she put a sharp prickle at each point, and closed
the points together. She made warm fluffy beds, and in them she placed
They were tiny, helpless things, white and soft. They looked up at the
shining walls as she gently put them in their cots, and asked: "Mother,
must we always stay in here?"
"No, dear ones," said the mother; "when you are strong and brown you
shall fly out over the world. But rest now while I make your wings."
Nothing daintier or more beautiful than their wings had ever been seen.
They were snow-white and glistening, and long and fine, and softer than
the softest silk. She tied them firmly to the little shoulders, and in
the middle of each wing she placed a long lilac-coloured plume. Then
she gently opened the cots a little, and the plume-ends floated out
into the sunshine. The children sang for joy.
"We have the most beautiful wings in the world," they sang. "Now we
can fly away."
"Not yet," said Thistle-Mother. "Wait a little longer. You must grow
brown and strong first."
The lilac plumes glowed in the sunshine, and the cots swung in the
summer winds. "Now your time is coming, for your plumes are turning
brown," said Thistle-Mother; the children looked at one another, and
saw that they themselves had turned from white to lilac.
"Shall we be brown next?" they asked.
"Yes," she answered, "when your plumes are curled and twisted. Rest
Soon the plumes were curled and twisted, and Thistle-Mother opened the
cots widely at the top. Now the children were brown and strong. When
they saw the blue sky they sprang to meet it; but, instead of flying
up, they tumbled in a heap on their mother's arms.
Thistle-Mother laughed tenderly at them. "You were in too great a
hurry," she said. "Lie here till the wind comes. He will lift your
wings and give you a start, and then you can fly away. And, children,
when you have seen the world, and feel ready to settle down, be sure to
choose a good growing-place. Then in time you too will become
Thistle-Mothers. Ah! here comes the wind. Good-bye, my little ones."
"Good-bye, mother dear," they called gaily, for the wind was lifting
them and spreading their wings. They floated up into the air, and flew
off, their beautiful white feathers glistening like silver in the
sunlight. "What a glorious place the world is!" they called to one
another as they flew over the land. They went everywhere and saw
everything. Those who remembered Thistle-Mother's words chose a good
growing-place and settled down and became Thistle-Mothers themselves;
but the careless ones, who forgot--well, nobody knows what became of
Left alone, Thistle-Mother folded her tired arms and sank into the
ground, to sleep till summer and cot-making time should come again.