Stránka:tales 1921.djvu/131

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… flat strap set on edge; while the leaf -stem of such as the oak is nearly round and scarcely rustles at all. Why does the Quaking Asp do this? No doubt, because it lives in places where the hot dust falls thick on the leaves at times, and if it did not have some trick of shaking it off, the leaf would be choked and bent so that the tree could scarcely breathe; for the leaves are the lungs of the trees. So remember, when the Poplar rustles loudly, it is coughing to clear its lungs of the dust.

Some trees try to hide their troubles, and quickly cover up their wounds; but the Aspen has a very touchy skin and, once it is wounded, it shows the scar as long as it lives. We can, therefore, go to any Aspen tree, and have it tell us the story of its Ufe. Here is the picture of one. The black marks at the forks (c) are scars of growth; the belts of dots (d) were wounds given by a sapsucker to rob it of its sap; the flat places (e) show where a Red Squirrel gnawed off the outer bark.

If a Raccoon climbed the tree (f) , or an insect bored into the trunk, we are sure to see a record of it in this sensitive bark.

Now, last of all, the paper on which this story is printed was likely made out of Aspen wood.

TALE 41

The Witch-hazel

These are the things to make you remember the Witch-hazel; its forked twig was used — nay, still is used — as a magic rod to show where there is running water underground; that is, where it is possible to find water by sinking a well. Its nuts are explosive, and go off with a snap, shooting the seeds that are inside, ten or twenty feet away, ..text continues