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For the Children's Hour by  Carolyn S. Bailey

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HOW THE APPLE BLOSSOM CAME BACK

Copyright by "The Outlook."

ONCE upon a time, not so very long ago, there stood in a large orchard a beautiful Apple Tree. All through [181] the long winter it had held out bare branches. The March sun had whispered to it that spring had come. But the cold March winds were not a bit polite, and would answer: "No, it hasn't."

At last, however, Apple Tree began to feel so nice and warm that she thought the March sun was right, and she began to think about getting a new spring gown. The warm April rains helped her, and her buds opened and grew; first into tiny leaves, and then into larger ones, until Apple Tree was wearing a beautiful green dress. All through April she wore it, and was very happy. Then, as the trees about her put on bright colors, and she saw Peach and Pear Tree in pink and white, something seemed to tell her to try what she could do.

So, with the showers, the gentle winds, and the warm sun as dressmakers, Apple Tree's green dress was soon covered with lovely pink and white flowers. And the air all about seemed as sweet as if she carried a great many handkerchiefs with some lovely perfume on each. The Apple Tree felt very glad and proud, and very much pleased when every one who passed said: "Oh, how lovely!"

But, only a week or two later, a damp wind and cold rain came and beat down on her spring suit, until it was quite spoiled. Then Apple tree was so sorry that she let her tear-drops fall with the rain. Her kind Mother Nature did not scold her at all, but only said: "Don't cry about the blossoms, dear; some time you will see them again."

So, all summer long, Apple Tree looked and waited, for she knew that Mother Nature always told the truth. Her arms grew full of apples, and sometimes they seemed too heavy to hold any longer. Always, [182] when she was very tired, came the whisper: "Wait a little while. Your time is coming. You will see your blossoms again."

And, at last, one sunny September day, one yellow apple after another slipped from her hold and lay in the grass beneath. While Apple Tree wondered what would happen, a lady and a little boy came through the orchard and stopped to pick and eat some apples.

"Robert," said the mother, "did you ever see the blossom in the apple?"

"Oh, no, mother. Please show it to me!"

Apple Tree bent her tall head so she could hear and see. Could it be that, now, she would find the blossoms that she had lost last spring? The lady carefully cut an apple all around, half-way between the blossom and the stem. And as she laid the halves before her little boy she pointed to the blossom, which showed plainly in both ends.

And Apple Tree held the rest of the fruit tightly in her arms—sure that in each one of her apples lay a blossom she had loved months before.


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