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from Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori - THE DECEMBRISTS





One day we were cleaning an overgrown path on a hillock near the pond.
We cut down a lot of brier bushes, willows, and poplars,--then came the
turn of a bird-cherry. It was growing on the path, and it was so old and
stout that it could not be less than ten years old. And yet I knew that
five years ago the garden had been cleaned. I could not understand how
such an old bird-cherry could have grown out there. We cut it down and
went farther. Farther away, in another thicket, there grew a similar
bird-cherry, even stouter than the first. I looked at its root, and saw
that it grew under an old linden. The linden with its branches choked
it, and it had stretched out about twelve feet in a straight line, and
only then came out to the light, raised its head, and began to blossom.

I cut it down at the root, and was surprised to find it so fresh, while
the root was rotten. After we had cut it down, the peasants and I tried
to pull it off; but no matter how much we jerked at it, we were unable
to drag it away: it seemed to have stuck fast. I said:

"Look whether it has not caught somewhere."

A workman crawled under it, and called out:

"It has another root; it is out on the path!"

I walked over to him, and saw that it was so.

Not to be choked by the linden, the bird-cherry had gone away from
underneath the linden out on the path, about eight feet from its former
root. The root which I had cut down was rotten and dry, but the new one
was fresh. The bird-cherry had evidently felt that it could not exist
under the linden, so it had stretched out, dropped a branch to the
ground, made a root of that branch, and left the other root. Only then
did I understand how the first bird-cherry had grown out on the road. It
had evidently done the same,--only it had had time to give up the old
root, and so I had not found it.





Next: First Fragment

Previous: The Bird-cherry



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