They lay side by side one morning, while the gardener was preparing the ground in which to plant them and many other varieties.
“Just think,” said the more talkative one of the two, “how sad it is that we are going to be put in that dismal ground! I shall not allow myself to be buried out of sight this lovely morning.”
“But,” answered the more quiet seed by her side, “it is only for a brief period that we shall lie there, and then we shall be far more beautiful.”
“What care I for beauty for others to look at? I want my freedom, and intend to have it, too. The wind is my friend, and I shall ask her to waft me over to those lovely hills, where I can see something of the world.”
“I think it would be wiser to remain where we are, and let the gardener care for us: he must know what is for our good,” remarked the gentle seed.
“You are too prosy by far. I think our own feelings tell us what we need. So good-by,” exclaimed the self-reliant seed, as she motioned to the wind to bear her away.
She thought her breath was leaving her, as she was borne through the air, and wished she were back in the garden. But when she found herself on the warm hill-side she felt reassured, and nestled herself amid the soft grass, whose waving motion soon lulled her to sleep.
Now the two seeds which the gardener had laid on the ground were of a very choice and rare kind; and he felt very sad that the wind should have blown one away. He took the remaining one and laid it carefully in the ground, with many hopes that it would spring up and bear rich blossoms, which would yield more seed. That night a cold wind came on; but the little seed in the warm bed did not feel it at all, while her absent sister shook all night with the cold.
After what seemed a long time to the seed in the ground, something like a new life came over her. There was a deeper pulsation through her being, and a strong desire to shoot upward to the light and air. This feeling deepened every hour.
“At this rate I shall soon be in the air, where I can see all that is going on about me,” she said joyfully. Then she felt very quiet, and fell asleep. When she awoke she saw the gardener bending over her with a joyful face. “When did this happen? How came I up here in the warm sunlight?” the seed exclaimed to him.
“Because the wind did not bear you away, and I could put you in the ground, is the reason why you are here. First out of sight, then to the light, my little seed! But,” he said sorrowfully, “I wish we had the other one, for your kind is rare.”
The plant then told the gardener that her sister purposely went away, at which he wondered that she had power of motion until she became a plant.
“Oh, she asked the wind to carry her,” answered the fresh-growing plant.
“If I knew where she had gone I’d search for her, and bring her back.”
“She asked the wind to take her to yonder hill-side,” said the plant, hoping, oh, so much! that he would go and find the seed, and plant it beside her, that she, too, might have the pleasure of becoming a plant as beautiful as herself.
The gardener went towards the hills; but the seed saw him, and begged the south wind to bear her away. And she took her on her wing and wafted her many miles from home.
The gardener searched a long time, and was obliged to return without her. So he took extra care of the plant, and it grew to be the pride of the garden; while the seed that had her own way was roaming over the world. The truant one soon lost all her influence over the winds, who finally refused to carry about a good-for-nothing seed while they had so much needful work to perform. A cold northern blast was the last one she could persuade to bear her, and he dropped her on a rock, where she at last perished from exposure to the rain and cold.
The day before her death, a company of people passed by her, bearing in their hands some rare and fragrant blossoms, to which she felt a strange attraction. This gave place to a deep thrill of sorrow as she heard them describe the lovely plant which grew in a beautiful garden, and which by their description she knew was her own home, which she in her folly had left.
“Had I but accepted the conditions of growth, I too might have been a lovely plant, giving and receiving pleasure,” she said, after the people had passed on. “But now, alas!” and her breath grew quick and short, “if I had only some one to profit by my last words, telling of my life of folly, I might not have lived wholly in vain.” But there was nothing about her which she could discern save a tuft of moss upon the cold, hard rock which must now be her death-bed.
But behind the rock, on the south side, there was growing a family of wild daisies, who were going to migrate to a warmer part of the country to plant their seeds before the winter came on. This was one of the conditions which Providence ever has around the most seemingly deserted and desolate, that her words might not only profit them, but that they could convey the benefit of them to all wayward seeds who were unwilling to accept the natural conditions of growth. And thus the seed, though dying with its mission unfulfilled, did not live wholly in vain; for its wasted life saved others from a similar fate.