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The Magic Seeds
by [?]

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.