Once Round the Sun

But You Do Babble, Don't You?

Peter was feeling rather sad at leaving the little dead snowdrop and he started to walk up the mountain to see if he could find another.

After a while he came to a brook that was singing to itself, as it danced and sparkled over the pebbles.

"Hullo, Peter. Nice to see you."

"Hullo." Peter looked all around to see who was talking.

"Here," giggled Brook, "you should know my voice. It's louder than usual, because I'm full of melting snow from the mountains."

"Oh?" Peter looked toward the snowy crest where the brook had its spring, and he suddenly thought of something.

"Did you see a snowdrop up there?" he asked.

"A few, " said Brook. "They're just starting, but it's still rather early. It's much colder up there, you know."

"What about violets?"

"Not yet," said Brook, "but they'll come. Why, were you looking for some?"

"Well, yes. A snowdrop asked me to give her regards to a violet, and I haven't seen one yet."

"You will, chanted Brook. "Do you want to sing with me? I'm awfully busy, with so much snow-water to carry all the way to Ocean, and I. always sing when I work."

"Why do you have to work so hard?" asked Peter.
"I do it because I like to." Brook gave an extra little swirl between two big stones, and twisted and churned with delight. "Ocean is always sending a lot of water up into the clouds, and the clouds drop their snow on the mountains. Then I have to carry it all back to Ocean, so it can start all over again."

"What a waste of time, 11 said Peter.

"Waste of time, indeed!" Brook bubbled indignantly. "What would you do if I didn't bring you nice fresh clean water to drink, I'd like to know? And how would anything grow? Things don't live without water, you know. EVERYTHING depends on the work I do."
"Oh, I'm sorry," said Peter. "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I'm sure you're very important."

"Well, " said Brook, bubbling softly, "I'm not the only brook, you know. Let's get this straight. I don't want you to think we brooks are conceited or anything. Some brooks have made that mistake and tried to make out they were the only dribbles in the world. And what happened?" He paused. "They dried up! And that was the end of them. No, we brooks aren't important, but the work we do is very important. Like you. You aren't important. But you THINK! And that's very important. See what I mean?"

"You mean my thinking is more important than I am? I don't understand that," said Peter.

"Oh, dear!" said a familiar voice. Peter turned and saw Uncle Peppercorn perched on a small rock. "You're always getting puzzled about something," he grumbled. "I guess that's what I get for giving a small boy the Big Year. Well, what do you want to know?"

"Brook says I'm not important but my thinking is. How can a thought be more important than a thinker?"

"It isn't," said Uncle Peppercorn. "But if you didn't think you wouldn't be a thinker. See?"

"Oh, now I understand," said Peter.

"That's what Brook means, " said Uncle Peppercorn. "He talks so much, he doesn't say anything very clearly, but he means well."

"Means well, indeed!" Brook spluttered angrily. "What could be clearer than I am?" and he calmed his crystal water so that Peter could see every pebble in the cool deep.

"You are very clear and beautiful, we all know that," said Uncle Peppercorn, "but you do babble, don't you?"

"Of course I do. That's my job," gurgled Brook happily and sent up a spray of foam that almost drowned poor Uncle Peppercorn, so that he had to vanish quickly.

"He's an old pepper-pot, isn't he?" chuckled Brook.

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