Gorse Mother – From The Suns babies by Edith Howes.
The Gorse-Mother lived hidden away in the middle of a big gorse bush on a hill. She was an extremely busy person, for, like the old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many children she scarcely knew what to do. But for all her thorny looks; she had put them to very gently to bed. Wrapped in their little brown blankets, they lay in hundreds all round her. You would have called them buds, but they were little Gorse Babies. The Gorse-Mother was tired, for the making of all those blankets had been a great work. But she knew there was no rest for her yet. “The sunshine grows hotter every day,” she said. “The children will soon find the blankets too warm. I must make their satin-tents.” She set to work at the satin-tents. After several weeks of labour she had them ready. How beautiful they were! They were yellow and scented, with fluted sides, and a peaked top, and the daintiest green velvet mats for the floor. The children sprang out of bed and danced with pleasure at finding their tents all ready for them. And the Gorse-Mother’s heart was glad, for now for a while she could rest. The sun shone, the birds sang, the golden satin-tents swayed in the wind, and everybody was happy. In the afternoon a bee came. “May we ask him in, mother?” asked one of the children. “Certainly. He is your best friend,” said the Gorse-Mother.
They asked him in, giving him nectar from their little cups, and making him very welcome. As he left the Gorse-Mother said: “Tell the other bees that we invite them to a nectar-feast to-morrow.” The bee flew off. He told the other bees of the Gorse-Mother’s kind invitation, and next day they came in scores to the nectar-feast. What a day that was! Nectar cups were filled to the brim, and the bees were feasted royally. They stored the sweet juice in their bags for the hive, and filled their little hair-baskets with pollen. They flew from tent to tent, and became most friendly with the children. Weeks passed by, and the Gorse-Mother roused herself to work again. “The children are growing fast,” she said. “I must make their elastic-houses.” She unfastened the walls of the satin-tents and let them fall away. Where each tent had stood she built a green elastic-house. Strong and tightly shut were these little green houses; on each floor stood a row of tiny stools. The children were tired after their weeks of pleasure. They were quite content to do nothing all day but sit on their stools and grow. “Sit still and be good,” said the Gorse-Mother, “and remember to grow big. Your houses will grow with you. As you turn brown they will turn brown, and as you turn black they will turn black. After that you may go out into the world.” Things happened exactly as the Gorse-Mother said they would. As the children grew, their elastic-houses stretched so that there was always room for them. When the children turned brown the houses turned brown; and when the children turned black the houses turned black. “Now remember what I tell you,” said the Gorse-Mother. “When your houses pop open, jump as far out into the world as you can, for if you fall close to me you will have no room to grow and spread. When you reach the ground, the first thing to do is to find a soft place, and the next thing is to grow. And don’t forget to grow plenty of thorns. Now good-bye. Make big bushes all round me, and I shall be proud of you.” One by one, with a noise like tiny pistols, the houses popped open. The children remembered their mother’s advice. They jumped far out into the world, found a soft place, and grew. In a few years they were big bushes all round the Gorse-Mother, and she was proud of them.