The dandelion who wanted to see the world

glowing dandelion seed overlooking fieldOnce there was a dandelion who wanted to see the world.

It may seem strange to you that a dandelion should have such notions. But consider her situation. A small circle of leaves in the middle of a large lawn, all she had ever seen was the dirt beneath, a forest of grass all around, and a patch of sky above. This didn't satisfy her. She didn't know what else there was to see, but she was sure there must be something. And she was determined that sooner or later she would discover it for herself.

And she certainly tried. The thought naturally came to her quite early that she should grow her leaves above the surrounding grass. Then she would be able to see whatever there was beyond her immediate neighbourhood. And this she tried to do.

But every week something terrible happened.

Perhaps you could help with the sound effects.

We need the noise of somebody trying to start up a rotary mower.

It's a bit like a sneeze?

Ka-CHOO-hoo . . . . . . . Ka-CHOO-hoo . . . . . . . Ka-CHOO-kata . . . . . . . Ka-CHOO-kata . . .

And then suddenly the mower comes to life.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr . . . . . . .

Those were the sounds that brought awful fear to the heart of the dandelion. For a while the noise would keep its distance: Brrrrrrrrrrrr . . . . . Then it would come close and very loud: BRRRRRRRRRRRR . . . . . Then it would move off again. But always, at last, it would happen. A shadow would suddenly come over her. There would be a whirring and a smashing and a mangling in the midst of incredible noise. A second later, when it was over, her leaves were gone, and she had been chopped back to the level of the ground.

It was a dreadful experience.

For two days afterwards the dandelion would be in a state of shock. Then, when she began to get her wits back, she would say to herself: "Why do I bother?" But then she would take courage and begin all over. She would send up young leaves and try again.

And then, one week, it didn't happen. The horrible noise didn't start up. Her leaves were allowed to grow higher than they had ever gone before.

The reason for that, though the dandelion didn't know it, was that the family had gone off for their summer holiday. All she knew was that this time no dreadful shadow descended on her to chop and crush and mangle.

She pushed her leaves higher, and she saw things that she had never seen before. She saw other growing things besides blades of grass. She saw flowers in beautiful colours. She saw shapes that we would recognise as fences and sheds and houses. It was all very exciting, even if a little bit hard to understand.

With great daring, she then began to do something she had never done before, something she had only just realised she could do. She sent up a stem with a bud on the end.

"Goodness," she thought, "I'm going to have a flower! I wonder what colour it will be!" When the flower opened she found she was a beautiful golden yellow, and she was pleased.

Now she could see all sorts of things, and she just wished she could go to explore them more closely. The fence, the house, the flowers, even moving things - butterflies and birds, cars passing beyond the fence. It was all very strange, and a bit confusing. But it was wonderful.

After a while the petals of her flower began to dry up, shrivel, and fall away. But the dandelion didn't mind that. Because she suddenly realised there was something else she could do, something else she could become, just as lovely in its own way as the flower.

Soon, on the end of the stem where the flower had been, there was a marvellous round, white, fluffy ball.

It was about that time that the family came back from holiday.

"Goodness!" Father said, as he stopped the car in the driveway. "The very first thing I must do is put the mower through the lawn."

"Oh look!" said one of the children, "There's a dandelion!" She ran over.

The dandelion found herself plucked from the ground and lifted high.

The child blew.

The downy seeds danced away on her breath . . . .

And the dandelion was free at last, free to travel in a hundred directions.

She was off to see the world.