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The Magic Seeds

"Any mail for me, Mom?" called Matthew as he opened the door.

"As a matter of fact," Mrs. Braden smiled, "the mailman brought this box."

"It's the metal detector I ordered!" Matthew shouted. "Yippee! I'm going treasure hunting." He unwrapped his new metal detector and carried it out into the back yard. Soon the pointer moved.

"I've found a treasure!" he shouted. But when he dug down in the ground, all he found was an old rusty spoon.

Matthew tried again. He found a penny, part of a broken garden rake, a whistle, and a key. He stuffed them all into his pockets.

Say, that looked like a strong signal! He dug down eagerly. Then his shovel hit against something solid. Matthew uncovered it carefully. It was a rusty old metal box. He lifted it up out of the hole. It was locked, but the hinges were so rusty that Matthew was able to pry up the lid with the edge of the shovel. There was a package inside, wrapped in a sort of oiled silk. Matthew unwound the wrappings -- but all he found inside were three seeds. Two of them looked like ordinary beans. One was green, and the other was yellow. The third seed also had a bean shape, but it was purple.

"I wonder what would grow out of a purple seed," Matthew thought. He shoveled the dirt back into the hole. When it was nearly full, he placed the purple seed there and covered it with the last shovelful of dirt. Then he poured some water on it. Immediately a purple shoot poked up out of the ground. While Matthew watched, it got bigger and bigger. But it didn't look like a beanstalk. It was growing into a purple tree. Soon it was taller than Matthew. By the time the tree stopped growing, it was even taller than Matthew's house!

There was a big hole in the trunk of the purple tree. It looked dark inside. Matthew stuck his head in. It seemed deeper than he thought. It looked like a tunnel. He crawled in.

It was a tunnel. Matthew could see a strange purple light coming from the other end. He crawled toward it. The tunnel opened out into a strange land. Everything there was purple -- the sun, the sky, and the fields and trees. Matthew climbed out of the tree-tunnel and walked out into the field.

In the distance Matthew could see the walls of a purple castle, rising on the top of a hill. He set off toward the castle.

Suddenly a purple rabbit bounded past. Then three purple field mice scurried past Matthew, squeaking. They seemed to be frightened. Then a purple fox leaped out of a clump of bushes. The fox seemed frightened, too.

Then there was a roar up ahead. A huge shape rose up out of a dip in the field. It was a purple dragon! That was why all the animals were running. The dragon was heading straight for Matthew.

Matthew turned and ran. But the dragon was getting closer all the time. Matthew reached into his pocket. His hand closed around the broken piece of garden rake he had found in his yard. He turned and threw it at the dragon.

The broken rake fell short. But then the dragon stepped on it. It stopped, howling in pain and shaking its foot. Matthew hurried on. But he couldn't see the tree with the tunnel back to his home. He had to do something before the dragon recovered!

Matthew reached into his pocket again. This time he came up with one of the seeds he had found, the yellow one. There was a puddle to the left. He dropped the yellow seed into it.

Immediately a yellow shoot popped out of the ground. Soon a thick yellow bush was growing out of the puddle. There seemed to be a dark hole in the middle of it. Matthew was just bending over to look when he heard the dragon coming again. So he jumped into the bush.

Splash! Splutter! Matthew kicked and thrashed. Finally he bobbed up to the surface. He was in a yellow world now, swimming in a yellow sea. There was no land in sight. Suddenly there was a splashing nearby. Sharks! Three yellow sharks were swimming toward him, grinning at him with their sharp yellow teeth.

Matthew reached into his pocket. His hand came out with the spoon. He felt something tugging at his pocket. The last seed was sprouting. Matthew pulled it out. As he held it, the green shoot sent out a long branch over the water. Green leaves formed, and then a big green pod. Matthew crawled out along the branch to look at it.

Just then, one of the sharks swam over. It snapped at the branch and broke it. The pod, with Matthew clinging to it, went skimming away.

Matthew rode along on the green pod. He was safe from the sharks now, but there was no land in sight. Suddenly there was a ripping noise. The pod was splitting open. There was a big seed inside, attached to a silky parachute.

The wind caught the parachute and lifted it up into the air. Matthew jumped up and caught hold of the seed. The wind carried him up, over the water.

On Matthew sailed, carried on the winds by the seed's silky parachute. Then, down below, he saw land. And in a little while he recognized the streets of his own neighborhood.

Matthew reached into his pocket again and pulled out the whistle he had found. He put it to his mouth and blew. The winds stopped. Down he dropped, straight into his own back yard. Then another puff of wind carried the silky parachute away.

The purple tree was gone. Matthew was standing on the spot, scratching his head, when his mother leaned out the back door and called, "Dinner time!" He raced in to tell her about his adventures. But his mother only laughed, and said, "What silly nonsense!"

Matthew reached into his pockets. All he had left was the penny and the key. "Oh," exclaimed his mother. "There's the door key I lost in the snow last winter. Perhaps your metal detector was worth something after all."




©1973, 2013 The Silversteins