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Sowing the seeds of history

Some say my beans are from King Tut’s tomb.

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The other day I fell into conversation with a bus driver during one of my jaunts from the country to the town. He and I engaged in a little garden talk. Like me, Dan is an avid gardener, especially interested in preserving heirloom plants and seed swapping.

“Hey,” said Dan, “would you like to plant some history?”

Years ago, a friend from Japan sent him some seeds. They were given to the man by a neighbor who was a professor and also an avid gardener/historian. He was told that the beans could trace their lineage to none other then the tomb of King Tut.

I was dubious about Dan’s story but told him that I would trade him a dozen eggs for the seeds.

Feeling a bit like Jack when he swapped a cow for a handful of beans, I decided to do some online searching. On one website, I read that when King Tut’s tomb was opened in 1922, among other things found was a container of beans, awaiting planting, no doubt, in the king’s next life.

It said that Howard Carter, an English Egyptologist, took some of the seeds with him, and with good soil, water and sun, they soon sprouted. He then shared the seeds with some of his colleagues and neighbors, and eventually they found their way to Japan.

The story continued that in 1956, Haruki Taki grew some of the seeds. He was a generous man, who wanted to help preserve the ancient beans, so he offered to give seeds to the first 100 people who contacted him.


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