"Look here, Hal; isn't this lovely?" And as she spoke Ida held up a beautiful autumn leaf of the richest crimson hue mingled with green.

"Naw!" said Hal, looking up from a book filled with fascinating pictures of lions and tigers and other wild animals; 

"It does very well for a leaf, but that's nothing."

"You're mistaken there, my boy," said his father, who had seemed to be too much absorbed in his paper to hear what was going on. "A leaf is a very valuable part of a plant. In fact leaves are the lungs of most plants, and without this breathing apparatus the plants would droop and die. 

There is one plant, however, the euphorbia, the stem of which is swollen so much that the air-cells are contained in that, and so it is leafless, as foliage would not be really necessary. Then, if I remember aright, Hal, when you came in last night, all heated up with your game of ball, you took a leaf to fan yourself with, and could not say enough in its praise. Notwithstanding the variety of fans made here and imported from year to year, there is certainly nothing that answers the purpose of a fan better than the palm-leaf. Then the leaves of palms are not only used for fans, but, in the country where they grow, for hats and mats, and also for thatching the huts of the people. In some places in the East, the leaves of the Palmyra and Talipot palms are used to write upon instead of paper. Under a single leaf of the latter there is said to be shelter for forty persons, and one of these same leaves spread over the ceiling of a collection of Natural History was known to cover it completely.

"On the Amazon of South America, the immense leaves of the Victoria Regia are seen, giving the river at a distance the appearance of a great green plain. Theseleaves are from six to eight feet in diameter, and the stems which support them spread out underneath like the framework of an umbrella. The stems make such a solid foundation that water-birds often rest upon the leaves in passing, or make them their couch at night. Not only birds have rested upon them in perfect safety, but a gentleman, being assured of their strength, once placed his little daughter upon one of them, and she walked upon it without sinking.  

"The leaves of the sensitive plant are very curious, as they close immediately on being touched; and the leaves of a plant called Venus's fly-trap seem almost as if they had animal instinct, for many unconscious little insects are caught while walking over them, the leaves closing up and making prisoners of them, and they languish and die in their dungeons.

"Now, Hal," said his father, "that I have told you something about the curious and the useful in leaves, perhaps you will regard them with more respect; and always remember, my son, that whatever God has made, he has made with a purpose."

 Elmer Lynde.