Fruit bearing crabapple trees

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Fruit bearing crabapple trees grow in most parts of California,

except where soil is very dry, and the trees are planted close together.

The white blossoms are sweet and delicious, and make a lovely

blossoming season. The trees bear well, and should be in excellent

condition. The fruit is very hard and tough, and requires great care in

handling. This is well known, and in some localities the fruit is sold

only after it is well ripened.

[Sidenote: The wild crabtree.]

The wild crabtree grows from San Diego to the Mexican border, and is

common in the Sierras. It is found in groves and on the hillsides. The

flowers are white, but in the wild form the blossoms vary from pure white

to pink. The fruit is also hard, tough and full of tiny sharp spines.

[Illustration: THE RABBIT'S BUTTON.

(Lythrum salicaria)]



I think it must be one of the prettiest of all the spring wild flowers,

with its long, wavy, silvery sprays, and its clusters of little, green

bells. It grows along the wooded hillsides and in the grassy fields of

the western valleys and in the dry sandy soil along the sea shore. It

clusters along the banks of spring-fed rivulets and in the ditches where

water-plants are growing. It grows in the wet gullies of mountain

cascades and also in the shallow canyons along the lower courses of

rivers. There it seems to spring up in a sudden shower of white blossoms.

I find it growing in grassy fields, where it looks like a lovely spray

of white clover, and again near the edge of a wood where it looks like a

shade tree, with its clusters of little, green bells. I find it growing

on shady, wet hill-sides and along the banks of little rivulets where

dewdrops sparkle and ferns grow, and there, when the trees are bare and

the ground covered with snow, I find the little bells tingling with a

glow that cannot be rivalled by any lily.

In August we find the stems and leaves dead and brown, but the flowers

still blooming on the slender stems. They are then dry and brittle,

ready to crumble and fall, when they scatter their tiny, sweet-scented

flowers on the earth to be scattered by the winds or borne away in the

breeze that springs from the sea. In this wild form the tiny bells are

called "clavaria," the Latin word for club.



On a cliff among the rocks of Portugal, not far from the city of

Estremoz, there are some little green stones that look as if they might

have been picked out of the earth, and might be taken away and laid on a

table by the side of other stones to serve as a kind of ornament.

But I will try to tell you how they got to be there, and how they became

like a living thing.

One day I was standing on the cliff by the sea. I could see my pretty

barnacled lady standing on a little rock, a yard or two above me, looking

out at the sea. So I went up and touched her hand. She turned round to

see who it was, and we walked along together.

In a little while we came to a kind of place where the little green

stones grew in clumps, like clover. I knew them to be precious because

they were like the stones I wore around my neck and on my finger, and I

knew how much money they were worth, but the lady would not take one of

the things I offered her.

I could not have taken one myself if I had wished to, for I did not know

how to tell one from another. We walked a little way further. I stood

looking at them, and I could see the lady looking at them, and then she

said, "Why do you stand looking at me? I am just a little old rock, like

the other ones."

She looked just like a lady, and I could see her face for a moment as if

it was shining and all bright.

But the next day I was going down to my boat, for I was going home.

Suddenly I saw the lady sitting there on her rock, and she was crying

about something.

"What is the matter with you?" I asked.

"You have made me cry," she said, "you have made me cry! I have told you

that I am just a little old rock like the others, but you have made me

very angry with you, and I think I shall go away. Don't look at me!"

She cried a good deal, and I was afraid of the sea, and went home alone

by the rocks.

When I came to the house, I found that the lady was there waiting for me.

She was sitting by the fire with the baby in her arms, and she had been

crying, but now she looked glad, and her eyes were shining like stars.

"I want to go with you!" she said. "I want to go to your world, and

stay with you and with the child."

And so we went down to the world under the sea, and the next day, and the

day after that, we saw it together, with all the strange things about it.

And when we came home to our island, she made me build her a house, and

we lived together and had a little child.

But sometimes I wished that I could see the old lady again, but I could

not tell her anything. For I did not know what she looked like. She

looked like a beautiful lady, and she was kind and loving, but I never

got to know her.

One day I went out with the boy to cut off seaweed that had been growing

among the rocks for a long time. I wanted to carry it home to use for

linen, but when we came to the spot, I saw two beautiful, shining things

lying in the wet sand. I knew them at once for jewels, and as I lifted

them out of the sea, the boy saw them, too.

And I could tell from their color that they were very old, and I did not

know what kind of a woman they had belonged to.

So I carried them home, and placed them carefully on the table, where I

left them.

When we came to look at them, the boy asked me if I thought they were

real gems, and I said yes, they must be precious, or else they would not

have been lying there on the seashore.

"Yes," he said, "I think they are real gems.

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