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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

106               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

in separate baskets; they then cast the seed diligently along the
furrows. The springing up of so many rows of tender pale-coloured
little plants gives intense satisfaction to both eye and mind. The
growth seems to be made more striking by the uniform quantity,
by the patterns of long, parallel lines which are coloured in them-
selves. It seems that the magnificence is derived from the massing,
together of single items which by themselves are without much
interest. The yellow stems as they sway about in the wind, and
as they grow up and up even to the child's shoulders, fill with
enthusiasm the little band waiting to harvest them. Although our
field-work had a religious purpose1 we were able to reach the
conclusion that the life of the field is better adapted to the child
than philosophy and symbolism of flowers.

The little plots of fragrant herbs are also full of practical
interest. The activity of the child is then directed to searching,
for, identifying and choosing herbs of various scents. The exercise
of recognizing similar things and of looking for a perfume rather
than a flower, demands (intense effort and arouses the feeling of
making a discovery of something which is hidden.

Naturally the flowers also are of interest, but gathering flowers
is rather more contrary to nature than gathering the fruits offered
by the earth through the medium of the flowers. These by their
fleeting beauty seem to call to themselves insects more than man,
in order that they may be helped to carry out their mission of
eternal life. It is true that children brought up so that their needs
are satisfied, often sit down beside flowers and admire, them; never-
theless they get up very soon and go off in search of something,
to do; the reason is that it is through activity that they themselves
can stimulate into unfolding those buds of theirs which are instinct
with beauty.


The work must be such as possesses variety within itself.
The end operations of sowing and reaping are not essential for
rousing the; child's interest. . He adapts himself cheerfully to the

x See Chapter XXHI, " Religious E4ucation "..