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THE biggest leaf here in the country is certainly the burdock leaf. Put one in front of your waist and it's just like an apron, and if you lay it upon your head it is almost as good as an umbrella, for it is quite remarkably large. A burdock never grows alone; where there is one there are several more. It's splendid to behold ! and all this splendour is snails' meat.

The great white snails, which the grand people in old times used to have made into fricassees, and when they had eaten them they would say, “H' m, how good that is!” for they had the idea that it tasted delicious. These snails lived on burdock leaves, and that's why burdocks were sown.

Now there was an old estate, on which people ate snails no longer. The snails had died out, but the burdocks had not. These latter grew and grew in all the walks and on all the beds----there was no stopping them; the place became a complete forest of burdocks. Here and there stood an apple or plum tree; but for this, nobody would have thought a garden had been there. Everything was burdock, and among the burdocks lived the two last ancient Snails.

They did not know themselves how old they were, but they could very well remember that there had been a great many more of them, that they had descended from a foreign family , and that the whole forest had been planted for them and theirs. They had never been away from home, but it was known to them that something existed in the world called the manor-house, and that there one was boiled, and one became black, and was laid upon a silver dish; but what was done afterwards they did not know. Moreover, they could not imagine what that might be, being boiled and laid upon a silver dish; but it was said to be fine, and particularly grand! Neither the cockchafer, nor the toad, nor the earth worm, whom they questioned about it, could give them any information, for none of their kind had ever been boiled and laid on silver dishes.

The old white Snails were the grandest in the world; they knew that! The forest was there for their sake, and the manor-house too, so that they might be boiled and laid on silver dishes .

They led a very retired and happy life, and as they themselves were childless, they had adopted a little common snail, which they brought up as their own child. But the little thing would not grow, for it was only a common snail, though the old people, and particularly the mother, declared one could easily see how he grew. And when the father could not see it, she requested him to feel the little snail's shell, and he felt it, and acknowledged that she was right.

One day it rained very hard .

“Listen, how it's drumming on the burdock leaves, rum-dum-dum! rum-dum-dum !”said the Father-Snail.

“That's what I call drops,” said the mother. “It's coming straight down the stalks. You'll see it will be wet here directly. I'm only glad that we have our good houses, and that the little one has his own. There has been more done for us than for any other creature ; one can see very plainly that we are the grand folks of the world! We have houses from our birth, and the burdock forest has been planted for us : I should like to know how far it extends , and what lies beyond it .”

“There's nothing outside of it, ”said the FatherSnail, “no place can be better than here at home; I have nothing at all to wish for.”

“Yes,”said the mother, “I should like to be taken to the manor-house and boiled, and laid upon a silver dish; that has been done to all our ancesto............

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