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OFTEN,after a thunder-storm,when one passes a field in which Buckwheat is growing, it appears quite blackened and singed. It is just as if a flame of fire had passed across it; and then the countryman says,“It got that from lightning.”But why has it received that?I will tell you what the Sparrow told me about it, and the Sparrow heard it from an old Willow Tree which stood by a Buckwheat field,and still stands there. It is quite a great venerable Willow Tree, but wrinkled and old:it is burst in the middle, and grass and brambles grow out of the cleft; the tree bends forward, and the branches hang quite down to the ground, as if they were long,green hair.

On all the fields round about corn was growing, not only rye and barley, but also oats, yes, the most capital oats,which when ripe look like a number of little yellow canary birds sitting upon a spray. The corn stood smiling,and the richer an ear was, the deeper did it bend in pious humility.

But there was also a field of Buckwheat,and this field was exactly opposite to the old Willow Tree.The

Buckwheat did not bend at all,like the rest of the grain,but stood up proudly and stiffly.

“I'm as rich as any corn ear,”it said.“Moreover,I'm very much handsomer:my flowers are beautiful as the blossoms of the apple tree: it's quite a delight to look upon me and mine.Do you know anything more splendid than we are, you old Willow Tree?”

And the Willow Tree nodded his head, just as if he would have said,“Yes, certainly I do!”

But the Buckwheat spread itself out from mere vainglory,and said,

“The stupid tree! he's so old that the grass grows in his body.”

Now a terrible storm came on:all the field flowers folded their leaves together or bowed their little heads while the storm passed over them, but the Buckwheat stood erect in its pride.


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