An excerpt from the book In the Child's World by Emilie Poulsson...

To The Teacher—

This talk, contributed by a friend, is based upon "Treasure Boxes" in "Stories Mother Nature Told," by Jane Andrews.

Provide peach, apple and other fruits; beans and peas in their "boxes;" grains and other seeds.


Begin the talk by allusions to boxes. What are they for? To put things away in. We have boxes in the kindergarten. Sometimes at home we have boxes in which to put away things that we care very much about; treasure boxes they are sometimes called. Now I am going to show you something that has a treasure box. (Bring out a peach.)

Do you think this peach has a treasure box? Yes, if the peach could talk it would tell you that it has worked all summer storing food and drinking in sunshine, not only to make the delicious soft part which you like to eat, but for the life that is in the "stone," as we sometimes call the hard part in the middle.

(Cut away the fruit. Show the deep color, and how the fibers cling to the stone or shell.) This stone is the peach's treasure box. (Ask if anyone knows what is inside the shell. Show how hard the shell is. Let a child try to open it, then crack it and show the seed.) The seed is the peach's treasure.

Do you know of any other treasure boxes? Apples, plums, flower seeds, peas, beans, etc., etc. (Ask the children to bring seeds for the next day, when you will tell them more about such treasure boxes.)

For the Second Day.

Yesterday we talked about the peach's treasure box; to-day we have many others.

(Place fruits on table. Let the children come in groups, or distribute seeds to a few children. Examine the fruits. Question. Notice similarities and differences. Make a careful study of the common seeds that the children will be most likely to bring— peaches, apples, plums, melons, etc.)

At the End of the Week.

What have we been talking about this week? Seeds. We have, seen how carefully Mother Nature guards her treasure boxes and has them ready for use in the springtime. Is there any one who helps Mother Nature ? Yes; the farmer and all the seed gatherers. Mother Nature says to them, "Unless you gather and take care of my seeds you will not have any peach trees or apple trees and no corn or beans or peas or squashes, etc.," and so the farmer saves his seeds,—not all of them, but those that he needs to plant or sell, for Mother Nature is so generous that she provides a great many seeds.

And now for a wee bit of a story. (Tell how a farmer's children helped to gather and save the seeds, and placed them in boxes, bags and envelopes; how the farmer marked them and put them away in a place where they would keep.)

Do you not think we could put some of ours away in bags or envelopes for next spring? Perhaps we can plant some of them and see them grow here.

We will try to make something out of our colored papers to hold the seeds.



Five Peas in a Pod
by Hans Christian Andersen

There were once five peas in one shell; they were green, and the shell was green, so they believed that the whole world must be green also, which was a very natural conclusion. The shell grew, and the peas grew; they accommodated themselves to their position, and sat all in a row. The sun shone without and warmed the shell, and the rain made it clear and transparent; it was mild and agreeable in broad daylight, and dark at night; and the peas as they sat there grew bigger and bigger, and more thoughtful as they mused, for they felt there must be something for them to do.

"Are we to sit here for ever?" asked one; "shall we not become hard by sitting so long? . It seems to me there must be something outside, and I feel sure of it."

And as weeks passed by the peas became yellow, and the shell became yellow.

"All the world is turning yellow, I suppose," said they—and perhaps they were right.

Suddenly they felt a pull at the shell; it was torn off, and held in human hands, then slipped into the pocket of a jacket in company with other full pods.

"Now we shall soon be opened," said one—just what they all wanted.

"I should like to know which of us will travel farthest," said the smallest of the five ; "we shall soon see now."

"What is to happen will happen," said the largest pea.

"Crack," went the shell as. it burst, and the five peas rolled out into the bright sunshine. There they lay in a child's hand. A little boy was holding them tightly, and said they were fine peas for his pea-shooter. And immediately he put one in and shot it out.

"Now I am flying out into the wide world," said the pea; " catch me if you can;" and he was gone in a moment.

"I," said the second, " intend to fly straight to the sun; that is a shell that lets itself be seen, and it will suit me exactly;" and away he went.

"We will go to sleep wherever we find ourselves," said the two next, "we shall still be rolling onwards;" and they did certainly fall on the floor and roll about before they got into the pea-shooter; but they were put in for all that. "We shall go farther than the others," said they.

"What is to happen will happen," exclaimed the last, as he was shot out of the pea-shooter; and as he spoke he flew up against an old board under a garret window, and fell into a little crevice, which was almost filled up with moss and soft earth. The moss closed itself around him, and there he lay, a captive indeed, but not unnoticed by God.

"What is to happen will happen," said he to himself.

Within the garret lived a poor woman, who went out to clean stoves, chop wood into small pieces, and perform other hard work, for she was strong and industrious. Yet she remained always poor; and at home in the garret lay her only daughter, not quite grown up, and very delicate and weak. For a whole year she had kept her bed. Quietly and patiently she lay all day long, while her mother was away from home at her work.

Spring came, and one morning early the sun shone brightly through the little window and threw his rays over the floor of the room. Just as the mother was going to her work, the sick girl fixed her gaze on the lowest pane of the window. ''Mother!'' she exclaimed, "what can that little green thing be that peeps in at the window? It is moving in the wind."

The mother stepped to the window and half opened it. "Oh !" she said, "there is actually a little pea which has taken root and is putting on its green leaves. How could it have got into this crack! Well, now, here is a little garden for you to amuse yourself with." So the bed of the sick girl was drawn nearer to the window, that she might see the budding plant; and the mother went out to her work.

"Mother, I believe I shall get well," said the sick child in the evening, "the sun has shone in here so brightly and warmly today, and the little pea is thriving so well; I shall get on better, too, and go out into the warm sunshine again."

"God grant it!" said the mother, but she did not believe it would be so. But she propped up with a little stick the green plant which had given her child such pleasant hopes of life, so that it might not be broken by the winds; she tied the piece of string to the window sill and to the upper part of the frame, so that the pea tendrils might twine round it when it shot up. And it did shoot up; indeed it might almost be seen to grow from day to day.

"Really, here is a flower coming," said the old woman one morning, and now at last she began to encourage the hope that her little sick daughter might really recover. She remembered that for some time the child had spoken more cheerfully, and during the last few days had raised herself in bed in the morning to look with sparkling eyes at her little garden which contained only a single pea-plant. A week after, the invalid sat up for the first time a whole hour, feeling quite happy by the open window in the warm sunshine, while outside grew the little plant, and on it a pink pea-blossom in full bloom. The little maiden bent down and gently kissed the delicate leaves. This day was to her like a festival.

"Our Heavenly Father Himself has planted that pea, and made it grow and flourish, to bring joy to you and hope to me, my blessed child," said the happy mother, and she smiled at the flower, as if it had been an angel from God.

And when the young maiden stood at the open garret window, with sparkling eyes and the rosy hue of health on her cheeks, she folded her thin hands over the pea-blossom and thanked God for what He had done.

Psyche's Tasks

There was once a very beautiful earthly maiden named Psyche. Every one liked to see her joyous face, as she roamed over the meadows gathering the field-flowers, or sat weaving them into garlands for her friends. She had many friends and companions, but chief among them all was one who used to come down to visit her from lofty Olympus, the home of the gods. This was the little winged god, Cupid, who loved her dearly.

Now Psyche, charming and loving as she was, was a thoughtless child, and one day, by a foolish prank, gave such offense to Cupid that he spread his rosy wings and flew away. As day after day passed and he did not come again, she mourned and grieved for her companion, but not her grief nor even her repentance could bring him back.

At last, some one, pitying her sorrow, advised her to go to the temple of Venus, and there to beg the assistance of Venus herself, who was the mother of Cupid. Psyche, with hope revived, went straightway to the temple, with its shining pillars and white marble steps, and humbly made her request, but Venus told her that there were hard tasks to be performed before she could win back what she had so foolishly lost. Psyche willingly undertook to perform these, but when she learned what the first one was, her heart sank. Venus led her to a vast granary, where wheat, barley, millet, and all sorts of grain lay about on the floor, mixed together in hopeless confusion. "Before evening," said Venus, "all these different sorts of grain must be separated from each other, and each kind must be piled by itself."

To poor Psyche it did not seem possible to accomplish such a task; nevertheless, she at once set to work; she would at least do all that she could, she thought; so she sifted and sorted, and arranged without stopping till late in the afternoon. Then, as she looked at her orderly little piles and saw how tiny they appeared beside the great heaps of grain that remained to be sorted, she felt saddened and discouraged indeed. She held bravely, however, to her purpose of doing her best, little as it might prove to be, and her busy hands were working even more quickly than before, when—a wonderful thing happened.

Psyche did not notice it at first, but presently raising her eyes from her work, she was astonished to see that her piles of sorted grain had mounted to a surprising height, and that the big un- sorted heaps had become very much smaller. From every side had come swarms and crowds of friendly little ants. Each one had set to work, as patiently and as perseveringly as Psyche herself, to help her to accomplish her task before the end of the day. She could see them tugging away at grains larger than themselves, or marching steadily, one behind another, each setting down his burden in the right place and then returning for more. Now she could work with a light heart, and when evening came and the friendly ants had trooped off through their cracks and crannies, the task was accomplished and everything was seen to be, as if by magic, in perfect order. Psyche did not know who had sent the ants to her assistance. She never thought that Cupid himself, though he could not come to her, was helping her in this way.

The other tasks imposed upon Psyche were no less difficult than the first had been; but though, one by one, Psyche accomplished them all, still she heard nothing of her beloved companion and was beginning to despair of ever seeing him again. Cupid, however, was nearer to her than she thought and the moment came at last when he could go to her.

One day, when Psyche, weary and discouraged, was least expecting him, a light whirring of wings sounded in the air, and in a moment Cupid himself, like a shining vision, stood, before her eyes. She could hardly believe that she was not dreaming, even when he told her that her troubles and labors were at last over and that he was to be separated from her no longer. A beautiful pair of butterfly wings was given to Psyche, that she might be able to fly as Cupid did, and together the two went winging their way through the blue air to Olympus, the abode of the gods. There among the gods and goddesses, Cupid and Psyche lived joyfully ever after; never again were they separated from one another.


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