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willy wallflower.

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

Start of Story

The sun shone gaily, for it was the middle of summer. The flowers in the garden made love to the bees and tossed their pretty heads at one another. Only Willy Wallflower stood green and straight, for his flowers had not yet come. "Wake up, Willy Wallflower!" called the Roses. "It is time you showed us your flowers." "Not yet," said Willy Wallflower. "They are not ready." "How slow you are!" cried the White Lily. "If you do not hurry, the summer will be over and the bees gone. Then what will be the use of your flowers?" "I cannot help it," said Willy. "I was planted late, and am now busy making my wood. I will bloom when my time comes." The summer passed and the autumn came, but still Willy Wallflower had no flowers, though he grew taller and stouter every day. Then the cold winter came. The flowers shivered themselves away to nothing, the bees took to staying in the hive all day. The snow and ice passed, and the keen spring winds began to blow. Now Willy Wallflower was ready to make his flowers. He wrapped the little buds in their warm round tunics and set them in clusters amongst their sheltering leaves. "Grow high and open out," he said. Slowly they grew high, and at last one mild day they pushed aside their tunics and opened out. They were very beautiful; four red velvety petals spread widely out on each side; in the middle there were six pale yellow stamens and a fluffy double pistil-head. Below the fluffy head was the long, slender seed-case, where the tiny baby seedlings waited for the pollen grains that were to make them grow. "Where is our pollen?" the babies cried eagerly. "Be patient," said Willy Wallflower. "Soon the bees will bring it." But the bees were long in coming. Day after day Willy Wallflower and the babies waited, listening anxiously for the busy wings that did not come. The honey-cups were filled with sweetest honey, the petals poured out their delicious scent into the surrounding air, but no bees appeared. "Wait a little longer," said Willy Wallflower. "They will surely come soon." In the hive the bees hung in a mass on their comb to keep warm. In the centre was the Queen; round her clung her people, row after row, all quiet and orderly, and doing their best to help one another. As the outer ones grew cold they passed into the centre; at meal-times the inside ones passed out the honey to the others. From mouth to mouth it was passed till it reached the other row, everybody waiting his turn and showing no greediness. Every now and again they beat their wings to keep warm, but otherwise they were still, as they had been all the winter. One day a warm breath of air floated in through the door. "That feels like spring!" cried the bees. "Perhaps the flowers are waking." Scouts were sent out to see. Soon they came back. "The crocuses and primroses are opening," they reported, "and Willy Wallflower is all in bloom waiting for us." "Then let us go!" said the bees. They flew straight out to Willy Wallflower. "At last! at last!" cried the wee green babies joyfully. The bees dipped deep into the sweet honey-cups, carrying the pollen from the stamens of one flower to the fluffy pistil-heads of others. Then the pollen grains ran down into the seed-cases and helped the babies to grow into seeds.

       



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