THIS acorn's all broken frew at the top!" said Harry Marling, as he watched and helped his sister Hepsy unpack her basket from the woods.

"O Harry, be careful!" exclaimed Hepsy, as his little fingers were busy with a queer; looking acorn. "Be careful! Broken frew!' I guess it is, Lay it right down this minute!" '

"Hepsy!" said a gentle voice, and Hepsy blushed as she saw her mother was watching them.

"Well, he may have as many whole acorns as he wants, but the broken frew' ones are sprouted ones, and they'll grow! They're all started, now!" Hepsy took the sprouted nut, and handed it to her mother; and Mrs. Marling explained what was new to Harry, and new once to every little boy and girl,—how there was something hidden inside of every acorn and chestnut, and every tiny seed,—something which makes it very different from a pebble, or a bit of coal, or anything else,—a little secret life, which works away, tugging and pushing right through the tightest, hardest brown walls that ever a seed or nut built up.

"So tender, too," said Hepsy. "This little white finger, I don't see how it ever got through the shell!!

"That 'little finger' is the plumule, part which will grow and unfold into leaves, and after a while into the oak-tree."

"What makes the push inside" asked Harry.

"It must be God," said Hepsy, thoughtfully.

"No person can do it. They can make acorns that look like this, there are some on my hat, you know, but they'll never have a ‘plumule'!" Harry, picking up Hepsy's hat, and rubbing his finger over one of the smooth acorns hid among the oak-leaves, echoes,—

"Never have a poomool! I wouldn't have acorns on my hat that couldn't come to life!"

"Is this a plumule, too?" asked Hepsy, touching a white 'finger' at the other end of the nut.

"Not unless you expect to have two trees from one nut," said her mother.

"That makes the root, which is to go down deep into the ground, and hold the tree firmly in its place. It is called the 'radicle.' Perhaps you can remember these two words, and take them for your first lesson in botany."

"Does every seed in the world have these two things when it grows?" asked Harry.

"Yes, one to go down, and one to go up. You won't forget that?"

"And did every tree and every flower that ever was, come out from the seed, top and bottom, like this?" asked Harry.

"Now I can answer that, and tell you a very strange thing," said their mother.

"Once a great while ago, there were some trees—a great many of them, too—that didn't come out of a seed in that way. In fact, they didn't come out of a seed at all."

"That's a fairy story," said Hepsy.

"No, it's a true story. I have read about them, and I am sure it is true. "

"What sort of trees were they?"

"A great many sorts. Some oaks, no doubt, and some pines, and sycamores, and orange-trees, and olive-trees—"

"Oh, but there must have been an orange or a sycamore ball first, mother."

"Yes; if this had not been, as I told you it was, a very strange and wonderful thing. Indeed, so wonderful that it has never happened but once."

"Tell us about it," said Hepsy.

"I have told you now pretty nearly all I know about it, except that no rain had helped these trees to grow, not even one shower had fallen on them, and no man had ever planted one of them, nor taken the least care of them. If you would like to read the story, you may. You can read it in one minute for yourself."

"Where is it?" asked Hepsy.

"Bring me your Bible," said her mother, "and I will show you." Hepsy brought her Bible, and her mother turned to its first page, and pointed to one verse for her to read. It was the fifth verse of the second chapter of Genesis. Harry listened eagerly while Hepsy read: " And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground."

"How strange to think of all the trees, all over everywhere, and nobody had planted them," said Hepsy.

"Just made whole," said Harry.

"That is all we can say about it," said their mother, "and yet, wonderful as these words, and every herb of the field before it grew,' are, I do not know as it was any more strange than the way they grow now, starting from the little seed. As Hepsy said, 'God does it.' Man cannot make one little acorn, with what Harry calls the 'push' inside. Only He who first made the whole trees can ever do that."



Mrs. Julia P. Ballard.