106 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
' They are really potatoes, and though I did not discover them, at least I will dig them up.'
Saying this, he knelt down and began to scratch them up from the earth with his hands ; the rest of us set to work also, and with our knives and sticks we soon rooted out enough to fill our bags and our pockets.
This happy discovery delayed us a little, but at last we continued our journey. Ernest's discovery of the potatoes was not to be the only one that day, however.
All the way I had noted different kinds of grasses, many of them of the thorn-leaved species, and stronger than those cultivated in the greenhouses of Europe. There were also in abundance the Indian fig, with its large broad leaf; aloes of different forms and colours; the superb prickly candle, or cactus, bearing straight stalks, taller than a man, and crowned with long straight branches, forming a sort of star. The broad plantain spread along the rock, its innumerable twisted boughs hanging down perpendicularly, and ornamented with flowers, which grew in large tufts, and were of the brightest rose-colour; but that which pleased us best, and which we found in great abundance.