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From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Start of Story
Age Rating 2 to 4.
Baby Urchin was vexed. "The grown-ups have all the fun," he said to
his brothers and sisters. "Every day they play on the beach, while we
are told to stay here amongst these stupid rocks and seaweeds. On the
beach they have glorious times. I have often heard them talk about it.
Why shouldn't we go?"
"Yes, indeed," said the others. "Let us all go."
They swam eagerly from their playground between the rocks--the queerest
babies you ever saw. They looked as if they were made of chalk and
glass; and each had about twelve long arms, sticking straight out in
every direction from the funny white body.
They were fast swimmers; they went gaily on, never thinking of possible
dangers. But a hungry fish saw them, and came straight at them with
wide-open mouth. Snap! The cruel jaws closed together, and a hundred
Baby Urchins fell down the great throat. Then those who were left
turned and swam for home as fast as their terrified arms could take
"You were very disobedient, and you all deserved to be eaten up," said
the grown-up Urchins when they heard what had happened. "And besides,
it is no use coming to the beach yet. You can't possibly roll on the
beach with those long arms of yours."
"It seems to take such a long time to grow up," said Baby Urchin.
"Eat plenty," said the grown-ups, "then you will soon be like us."
Time passed. The little Urchins did not again try to reach the beach,
but they ate plenty and they grew big. Then they began to change.
Their funny arms grew shorter and shorter till they disappeared
altogether; their bodies grew thicker; and then at last their shells
began to come.
"Now we are growing up!" cried Baby Urchin joyfully.
Their shells grew fast, and so did the babies inside, changing their
shape altogether. Up and down the round shells ran rows of tiny holes,
and in between the rows of holes scores of little white balls grew out.
On the balls movable spines grew, and through each hole peeped a new
leg ready to stretch far out when it was needed for swimming or
walking. Under the shell was the mouth; from it five strong white
teeth hung down to crush the seaweed and break it up for food. On top
of the shell were tiny eye specks.
At last they were ready. "Come on," cried Baby Urchin. "Nobody can
hurt us now." He led the way to the beach. They all followed,
swimming with their legs and spines, and looking like hedgehogs in the
What a time they had when they reached the beach! They swam in with a
wave, rolled over and over on the beach, burrowed with their tiny
spines in the soft sand, and then swam out with the next wave. "It is
splendid to be grown up," they said.