“Shucks, Wendy! I’m not doing anything to your silly flower. I’m just talking to it.”

“Well stop it, Peter!” Wendy warned.

Peter liked to talk to Wendy’s flower. One day Mother told him that flowers were happiest when people talked to them. So whenever Wendy was at school Peter talked and sang to the flower on her dresser.

Wendy’s teacher had given everyone in her class a little package of seeds and a jar of dirt. Wendy planted the seeds and after a long time, green shoots pushed up through the dirt and grew and grew until the leaves of a tiny plant popped open. Now there was also a little yellow flower on the end of the longest stem. Wendy was happy about her flower and protected it fiercely from anyone who came near.

“There’s no need to scold, Wendy,” Mother said. “You know that Peter won’t hurt your flower. Flowers grow better when they receive attention. Look how much it has grown already! Soon you’ll have to move the flower outside so it can have more room for its roots to spread out.”

The next morning Peter went back to Wendy’s room. He walked over to Wendy’s dresser and spoke softly, “Hello, Flower. Are you really too big for your jar? Do you want to move outside?” The flower didn’t answer, so Peter pretended that he was the flower answering: “Yes, Peter, I do need some more room so my roots can stretch out.”

Peter carefully picked up the jar. He carried it in both hands through the house and out into the backyard.

Then he sat down on the step to think. Wendy will be happy when she sees that I moved her flower, Peter thought. But where will I put it?

He looked for a place all over the yard—by the fence, by the swings, by the picnic table, even by the garbage cans. Then in the corner of the yard he spied a small pile of sand where he played with his bulldozer and dump trucks.

“There’s just the right place for you, Flower!” he said happily, as he headed for the sandpile.

While Peter was scooping out a hole in the sand, he found a little green car that had been lost. “There you are,” he said to his toy. “I guess I buried you and then I forgot to dig you up again.”

When Peter thought the hole was deep enough, he sat down beside the jar and tried to pull the flower out. But the roots were tangled up in the dirt, so Peter had to pry them out with his fingers. Some of the root hairs broke off. He put the flower in the hole and filled in sand around it.

Just as he went to fill the jar with water for the flower, it started to rain. With all this rain, I guess the flower doesn’t need any more water, Peter thought, and he went back into the house to wait for Wendy.

Wendy always watered her flower as soon as she came home from school. That was one job her mother never had to remind her to do. But when Wendy walked into her room after school that day, the flower was gone!

“MOTHER! My flower is gone!” Wendy cried as she ran into the kitchen.

“Now, Wendy, where would your flower go? Nobody has been here all day except Peter and me,” Mother said.

Just then Wendy turned around and saw Peter holding the empty jar in his hand. “Where is my flower? I told you not to touch it!” she declared angrily.

“Come and see,” he said excitedly. Mother and Wendy followed Peter outside.

He led them to the sandpile and proudly pointed to the little hump of sand where he had planted the flower. “See, Wendy, I moved your flower out here so it could have more room,” he said.

They all stood there, looking at it, but something was wrong. All the leaves were folded together and the head of the flower was drooping down to the ground.

Suddenly Peter was worried. He knelt down on the sand and tried to fix the flower so it would stand up straight. But it just kept flopping over again. His big eyes were filled with tears as he looked helplessly at Wendy and Mother. Then Wendy began to realize how much the flower really meant to her little brother. He feels even worse than I do, she decided and went over and knelt down beside him.

“Peter,” she comforted, “I know you didn’t mean to hurt the flower. You were only trying to help. Tomorrow we can get some more seeds and plant some flowers that we can take care of together.”

Illustrated by Arlene Braithwaite