"I think you like tomatoes, John," said his grandmother. "Yes, grandma, I do," said Joh. "I like them raw, baked, and almost every way." "I wonder if you would like them the way I ate them last summer out West?" said Cousin May. "We ate them like fruit, with cream and sugar." "I should like to try them that way," said John. "Why, bless you, child!" said grandma, "we will have some for supper. That is the way I used to eat them long ago."
"Did you not like tomatoes when you were little, grandma?" asked John, as he saw her looking at him with a smile in her bright eyes. "No," said grandma, "because I was a big girl before I ever tasted them. I never saw any until I was twelve years old.
"I can remember it so well! A man who came to our farm once a month bringing many little things to sell, brought the seed to my good mother. He used to carry seeds and slips of plants from one farmer's wife to the next. He was such a kind old gentleman that they all liked to see him coming. One spring morning he came. After mother had bought from him all that she needed, and he had fed his horses and was sitting by the fire, he put his hands into his big pockets in search of something. At last, he drew out a very small package and handed it to mother. "
"I have brought you some love-apple seeds,' he said. 'I got them in the city. I gave my sister half of them, and saved the other half for you.'
"'Thank you, kindly,' said mother, as she looked at the little yellow seeds. 'I am glad to get them. What kind of plant is the love-apple?'
"' Well,' said the man, 'the person who gave me the seeds had his plants last year in the sunny corner. The flowers are small, but the fruit is bright red, and is very pretty among the dark green leaves. you should not eat the fruit: it is poisonous. The man who gave me the seeds got them from a friend in South America. The love-apples grow wild down there.'
"So mother planted her love-apple seeds in the warm corner. In a short time, they grew; the little yellow blossoms came; and then the green fruit, which soon changed to a pretty red. We children would go and look at it, talk about it, and wonder if it would hurt us if we ate it. On one occasion, mother heard us talking about it. She called us to her and said: 'If you children cannot look at the pretty fruit without wanting to eat it, then I shall have to pull up all my love-apple vines, and throw them away.'
"We knew that she would not like to do that, because she was very proud of the vines. So we kept away from that corner. In the meantime, the vines grew and blossomed, and the red showed in new places every day. The birds did not seem to be afraid of the poisonous fruit. They ate all they wanted of it. One day, in the early autumn, my Uncle George came from the city of New York to visit us. When he went into the garden, he stopped in great surprise.
'Why, Mary, what fine tomato vines you have!' he said to my mother. 'Where in the world did you get them?'
"'We call them love-apples,' said mother. Then she told him how she got the seeds.
"When my Uncle George found that we were afraid to eat them, he had a good laugh at us. Then he showed mother how to prepare some for our supper."
"' Don't be afraid to eat the tomatoes, children: they will do you no harm,' uncle said.
"We did eat them; and enjoyed them very much."
The Ideal Catholic Readers; Third Reader
By: A Sister of St. Joseph + Imprimatur 1915
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