When the Root Children Wake Up
by Helen Dean Fish, Copyright, The Green Tiger Press, Inc., 1988
based on Etwas von der Wurzelkindern originally published in 1906
All Winter long the trees are bare, the wind in cold and fields are empty.
But very early in the Spring the Sun begins to grow warmer, the air softer and the sky bluer. And boys and girls grow happier though they cannot tell just why.
Down underground something is happening.
Something secret and wonderful.
The root children who have been sleeping soundly all Winter are awakened by the Earth Mother. She comes with her candle and her little firefly helpers to tell them they must be up and at work for it will soon be Spring. They are very sleepy at first but soon begin to stretch and open their eyes and be glad that it is time to wake.
Wide awake at last, in their root house, the root children work busily on their new Spring dresses. Each chooses the color she loves best--violet, yellow, blue, white, orange or red--and with needle, thread and thimble, sews happily till her work is done.
Above them, in the little village by the sea, the sky and water are growing bluer.
The root children take their dresses to show to the good Earth Mother, where she sits comfortably with her tea and her knitting. Her busy ant helpers are about her. She is pleased when she sees how well each root child has made her Spring dress.
It is time to be ready, for above them the ice on the little brook has melted and the water is slipping merrily over its pebbles. In the barns the sheep and lambs feel the Spring air and wish to be in the green fields again.
While the little root girls are sewing Spring dresses, the root boys are busy with their share in making ready for Spring. They wake up the sleeping insect--the beetles, grasshoppers, ladybugs, crickets, bumble bees, fireflies and june bugs. They sponge them and brush them and paint their shells with bright Spring colors, while the filds over their heads are growing greener and the leef buds on the trees are swelling in the warm Spring air.
Then, when all is ready, Spring comes!
First the meadow grasses fare out over the countryside, green and lovely, waving in the wind.
Then the busy insects, eager to do their work in fields and woods and gardens, singing and humming and leaping.
Next the good grains push their heads above the ground.
Last, and most beautiful of all, come the flowers in a sweet and gay procession--snowdrop and stargrass, forget me not and aster, violet, dandelion, columbine, daisy and primrose; hepatica, lily, anemone and poppy, cornflower, clover and bluebell.
Out they troop joyfully, out of their earth home into the lovely world, where birds fly in the blue sky above green meadows.
The flower children scatter far and wide. Some choose the deep woods, and as lillies of the valley and violets, bloom shyly under the trees. Gay butterflies hover above them, scarlet mushrooms brighten the moss, and the slow snail creeps out of his house to play, glad that Spring has come again.
Others hurry to the pond side and play there all day long, making it gay with water lillies, forget me nots and wild iris. Spiders spin lovely webs that shine in the sun. The reeds wave and rustle in the passing wind, and dragon flies dart hither and thither.
Still others play in the meadows, dancing merrily, under the sunny sky with the beetles and butterflies, to the music of grasshoppers' chirping and bees' humming. Each little root child is now a poppy or a daisy, a cornflower or a bluebell, or a graceful yarrow flower.
And so they play all Summer long, until a day comes when the air is chill and the leaves, turned red and gold and brown, are fluttering down to earth. The flower children come running over hills and valleys, from meadows, woods, and brookside, back to the Earth Mother, who welcomes them to their warm earth home to rest and sleep the cold Winter through, until Spring comes again next year!