Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
T was a sad day in Greenhills when we knew that Susan
Holcomb's little Jerusha was dead. We all loved the child,
and she was her mother's dearest treasure. Susan was a
widow, and this was her only child. A pretty little creature
she was, with yellow curls and dark-blue eyes, rosy and
plump and sturdy. But a sudden, sharp attack of croup
seized the child, and in a few hours she fell asleep. I need
not tell you of the mother's grief. She could not be
comforted because her child was not. One day a little
neighbor, a boy with great faith—not wholly misplaced—in
the helpfulness of Story-tell Lib's little parables,
succeeded, with a child's art, in bringing the sad mother to
 group of listeners. And it was that day that Lib told
this new story.
The Plant That Lost Its Berry
Once there was a plant, and it
had jest one little berry. And the berry was real
pretty to look at. It was sort o' blue, with a kind o'
whitey, foggy look all over the blue, and it wa' n't round
like huckleberries and cramb'ries, but longish, and a
little p'inted to each end. And the stem it growed on, the
little bit of a stem, you know, comin' out o' the plant's
big stem, like a little neck to the berry, was pinky and
real pretty. And this berry did n't have a lot o' teenty
little seeds inside on it, like most berries, but it jest
had one pretty white stone in it, with raised up streaks on
The plant set everything by her little berry. She thought
there never was in
 all the airth sech a beautiful berry as hern,—so pretty
shaped and so whitey blue, with sech a soft skin and pinky
neck, and more partic'lar with that nice, white, striped
stone inside of it. She held it all day and all night tight
and fast. When it rained real hard, and the wind blowed, she
kind o' stretched out some of her leaves, and covered her
little berry up, and she done the same when the sun was too
hot. And the berry growed and growed, and was so fat
and smooth and pretty! And the plant was jest wropped up in
her little berry, lovin' it terr'ble hard, and bein' dreadful
proud on it, too.
Well, one day, real suddent, when the plant was n't
thinkin' of any storm comin', a little wind riz up.
'T wa' n't a gale, 't wa' n't half as hard a blow as the
berry 'd seen lots o' times and never got hurt nor nothin'.
And the plant wa' n't
 lookin' out for any danger, when all of a suddent there come
a little bit of a snap, and the slimsy little pink stem
broke, and the little berry fell and rolled away, and, 'fore
you could say "Jack Robinson," 't was clean gone out o'
sight. I can't begin to tell ye how that plant took on.
Seem 's if she 'd die, or go ravin' crazy. It 's only folks
that has lost jest what they set most by on airth that can
understand about it, I s'pose. She would n't b'leeve it fust
off; she 'most knowed she 'd wake up and feel her little
berry a-holdin' close to her, hangin' on her, snugglin' up to
her under the shady leaves. The other plants 'round
there tried to chirk her up and help her. One on 'em
told her how it had lost all its little berries itself, a
long spell back, and how it had some ways stood it and got
over it. "But they wa' n't like mine," thinks the
 "There never, never was no berry like mine, with its pretty
figger, its pinky, slim little neck, and its soft,
smooth-feelin' skin." And another plant told her mebbe her
berry was saved from growin' up a trouble to her, gettin' bad
and hard, with mebbe a worm inside on it, to make her
ashamed and sorry. "Oh, no, no!" thinks the mother plant.
"My berry 'd never got bad and hard, and I 'd 'a' kep' any
worm from touchin' its little white heart." Not a single
thing the plant-folks said to her done a mite o' good. Their
talk only worried her and pestered her, when she jest wanted
to be let alone, so 's she could think about her little berry
all to herself.
Just where the berry used to hang, and where the little
pinky stem broke off, there was a sore place, a sort o'
scar, that ached and smarted all day and
 all night, and never, never healed up. And bimeby the poor
plant got all wore out with the achin' and the mournin' and
the missin' and she 'peared to feel her heart all a-dryin' up
and stoppin', and her leaves turned yeller and wrinkled,
and—she was dead. She could n't live on, ye see, without her
They called it bein' dead, folks did, and it looked like it,
for there she lay without a sign of life for a long, long,
long spell. 'T was for days and weeks and months
anyway. But it did n't seem so long to the mother plant.
She shet up her eyes, feelin' powerful tired and lonesome,
and the next thing she knowed she opened 'em again, and she
was wide awoke. She hardly knowed herself, though, she was
so fresh and juicy and 'live, so kind o' young every way.
Fust off she did n't think o' anything but that, how good
and well she
 felt, and how beautiful things was all 'round her. Then all
of a suddent she rec'lected her little berry, and she says
to herself, "Oh, dear, dear me! If only my own
little berry was here to see me now, and know how I feel!"
She thought she said it to herself, but mebbe she talked out
loud, for, jest as she said it, somebody answered her. 'T
was a Angel, and he says, "Why your little berry
does see you,—look there." And she looked, and she see he
was p'intin' to the beautif'lest little plant you never
see,—straight and nice, with little bits o' soft green leaves,
with the sun a-shinin' through 'em, and,—well, somehow,
you never can get it through your head how mothers take in
things,—she knowed cert'in sure that was her little berry.
The Angel begun to speak. He was goin' to explain how,
if she had n't never
 lost her berry, 't would n't never 'a' growed
into this pretty plant, but, he see, all of a suddent, that
he need n't take the trouble. She showed in her face she
knowed all about it,—every blessed thing. I tell ye,
even angels ain't much use explainin' when there 's mothers,
and it 's got to do with their own child'en. Yes, the mother
plant see it all, without tellin'. She was jest a mite
'shamed but she was terr'ble pleased.