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The Iceberg Express (7)

2006-09-07 21:00

    The Magic Seeds

    Little Mary Louise placed the ring upon her finger and then bidding the Prince good-by turned her steps as she thought, towards home. But she had gone but a short way when she came to a funny little dwarf tugging at a great sunflower, and every once in a while he'd shake the stalk until down would come a shower of black seeds, which he put in a small basket.

    "Hello," cried Mary Louise, "don't you want me to help you?"

    When the little dwarf heard her voice, he started to run away, but Mary Louise caught him by the tail of his coat.

    "Don't be afraid of me, little dwarf, I won't harm you."

    So the dwarf set down his basket of seeds, and after he had straightened his coat, for it was half off his back, he said:

    "I'll give you some of the seeds. They are very wonderful seeds."

    Then little Mary Louise said good-by and by and by she came to a poor woodcutter's hut. In answer to her knock an old woman opened the door.

    "How do you do!" she said with a bow, and then she told Mary Louise that her husband had just gone to the village for sunflower seeds. Wasn't that strange? It made Mary Louise laugh and taking from her pocket a handful she showed them to the old lady.

    "My husband may not find any," she said. "Will you give me two that I may plant them on each side of our front door?" Then digging a hole in the ground on each side of the step she planted the seeds. And, would you believe it? all of a sudden a yellow stalk sprung up, and pretty soon it was as high as the door and then it was higher than the roof and before long it reached way up into the sky, so far and so high that you couldn't see the top.

    "Goodness gracious me!" exclaimed the old woman. "What kind of seeds are these?"

    "I'll climb up and see," and up the stalk went little Mary Louise. Bigger and bigger it grew until finally it spread out altogether into a great big meadow covered with sunflowers.

    Everywhere the birds were singing and little rabbits hopping about, and nearby a flock of lambs nibbling the fresh green grass.

    "Oh my!" exclaimed little Mary Louise, "this is strange, very strange!" When, all of a sudden, one of the sunflowers began to sing:

    "I love the sun in the big blue sky, As he rolls along his pathway high, Through the clouds and over the blue While he brightly shines on me and you. There's no one else that I love so much As the golden sun with his soft warm touch."

    And then all the sunflowers joined in the chorus:

    "Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful sun, We turn and follow you as you run Over the soft and azure sky; Beautiful sun with your golden eye."

    When the song was finished, little Mary Louise went on her way, and it was very lucky for her that the grass was soft, for she wore no boots, which I forgot to mention she had left a the foot of the big giant sunflower by the side of the poor woodman's hut.

    Well, by and by, she came to a little shoemaker's shop, where the shoemaker sat just outside the door.

    "Have you a pair of red top boots?" she asked. And would you believe it? That shoemaker got up and walked inside his shop and took down a box from the top shelf, and there inside was a beautiful pair of red top boots, which fitted as if they had been made for her. Well wasn't that the luckiest thing that could have happened?

    But perhaps it was just as lucky that she found money enough in her pocket to pay for them.

    Pretty soon, not so very far, she came to a fountain where all day long the water played a soft little song:

    "Over the pebbles and over the sand I run till I reach the sea-shore land, Where the pink shells sing and the big waves roar, And the mermaids comb their hair on the shore."

    "I think I'll follow this pretty book," said Mary Louise, "and maybe it will take me home."

    She ran along its mossy banks until she came to the seashore. Right there on the soft warm sand sat a mermaid combing her long hair.

    With a glad cry Mary Louise ran towards her. But it wasn't her friend the Mermaid Princess. No, she was a strange little mermaid, who gave a frightful scream and with a flop of her graceful tail, glided into the water. Just as she was about to dive down out of sight, she saw her pretty pearl comb on the beach.

    "Don't be afraid of me," said Mary Louise, picking it up and leaning over the water. "I know your Princess Mermaid——daughter of King Seaphus," and she handed the little mermaid the pearly comb, who then swam away to her island of coral and pearl.

    "Heigh ho," sighed little Mary Louise, "here I am by the sad sea waves with nobody to talk to," and as she had nothing to do, she dug a hole in the sand and thrusting in both her feet, covered them up. All of a sudden a tremendous crab crawled up and before she could run away, fastened his great claw in her sleeve.

    "Oh I am king of the blue sea crabs, And king of the sandy shore, And I can fight as well as bite With my big tre-men-dous claw. Oh, I can pinch as well as a clam, I'm king of all pinchers, you bet I am."

    Now little Mary Louise was a brave girl, and unclasping her breastpin, she stuck the point right in the wrist of the Crab King's claw, after which he began to sing a different kind of song, and the tears came out of his eyes, and pretty soon he begged to be let alone.

    "I'll give you the most beautiful pearl in all the world," he said, but Mary Louise only laughed and pointed to her torn sleeve:

    "That won't mend my sleeve, King Crab. What right had you to tear it?"

    "Oh, please take the pin out of my elbow," begged the tearful Crab King, so frightened that he couldn't tell whether it was his wrist or his elbow that Mary Louise was pricking. "I'll give you two pearls. Oh, please pull out your pin."

    As soon as she had put away her breastpin, the Crab King started to dig in the sand and pretty soon he brought up two lovely pearls.

    "But what am I to do with my torn sleeve?" asked Mary Louise, for she was still angry with that disagreeable old crab. Without answering, the King of the Crabs crawled off into the tall sea grass and in a few minutes came back with a little package done up in sea weed, and after he had unwrapped it, what do you suppose Mary Louise saw? Why, a beautiful pale sea green coat made of sea silk. It was very beautiful and looked just like the shimmery green of the waves.

    "Here is a coat of the great Crab King, It's finer than silk or anything, For none but a merman has ever worn A coat so beautifully shimmery shorn,"

    cried the King Crab, handing it to Mary Louise. Then he crawled away, for he wised to have the doctor see his wounded elbow, I imagine.

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