104 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD f Q*3f or on the trees in the garden. And a chorus of chirping, growing all round about, gives them thanks. The metamorphosis of insects, and the care which mothers bestow on their offspring; form subjects of patient observation by the children, and often give rise to reasoning which surprise us. There was one small child who was so struck by the metamor- phosis of tadpoles that he followed up their development, recording the various phases of the frog, like a small scientist. The plant world also calls to them. In one Children's House in Rome, as they had no ground which could be cultivated, they had placed jars of flowers, round a large terrazza.'1 The children never forgot to water the plants with a small watering-can. One morning I found them seated on the ground, all in a circle round a splendid red rose which had opened during the night—silent and tranquil, completely absorbed in mute contemplation. Once a little girl who had grown up with a love for the flowers and gardens which her mother and her teachers had never allowed her to lack, was looking down from a terrace evidently greatly excited. " " Down there," she said to her mother, " there is a garden growing things to eat." It was an orchard which, to the mother, did not seem worth admiring, but which filled the child with enthusiasm. PREJUDICE IN THE GARDEN Even into the midst of Nature we cannot help carrying pre- judices about which it is very difficult to ascertain the truth. We have made for ourselves too symbolical an idea of flowers; we try to adapt the activity of children to our own ideas instead of follow- ing the child in order to interpret his real tastes and needs. So it is that in the garden the child has been forced into activity artificially created by the adult. The act of placing a seed in the ground, and then of waiting for the seedling to grow from it is work on too small a scale and involves too long a wait for children. 1 See footnote in Chapter XVI, " The Mechanism of Writing '*.