When Cucumber Boy had told Toby the story about his parents, the boys played on their hobby horses again, and got lost in the thicket of the cucumber plants. Suddenly, Cucumber Boy stopped in a far corner of the greenhouse:
‘Oh no, what a disaster!' he cried out. ‘Look, all the leaves have been smothered by cobwebs and have turned yellow. The red spider mite is our worst enemy, he sucks the juices from the cucumber vine and destroys them. We need to go and see Grandpa Marrow and Auntie Squash. The same awful thing recently happened to them and they found weapons to fight against this enemy.'
‘Let's go right now!' cried Toby, and the boys galloped off at full speed.
They stopped at a long, wooden house with two doors and a see-through roof. On the wall hung a sign which said: “Members of the pumpkin family: Marrow and Squash.”
‘Are marrows and squash really in the pumpkin family?' Toby asked in surprise.
‘Of course, they're Lady Pumpkin's cousins. We cucumbers are also related to her. We're a big family, but we all have different personalities. Lady Pumpkin is the most calm and sensible of us all. She grows to a huge size, but does it without hurrying. She needs at least four months to ripen, and then she sits for a long time getting sweeter.
Marrows and squash ripen twice as quickly. It's better not to keep them for a long time as they become hard and lose their taste,' Cucumber Boy explained, and knocked on both doors.
The first set of doors swung open, and Grandpa Marrow, tall and wearing a baggy light green suit with dark stripes, walked through them.
‘Why are you knocking like that, is there a fire?' he asked sternly.
‘Disaster has struck, a red spider mite has attacked the greenhouse with the cucumbers in it,' the boys said at the same time.
At that moment, the second set of doors opened, and Auntie Squash floated out in a light green silk chiffon skirt.
‘Who attacked them? Oh, a red spider, I can't bear them!' cried Auntie Squash, and she fainted.
‘What a sissy! Boys, go and get some water straight away, we need to wake her up again,' Marrow ordered.
They poured a jug of water over Auntie Squash and she opened her eyes saying:
‘What shall we do now?'
‘Get rid of the enemy once and for all,' Marrow said angrily.
‘Grandpa, don't get cross with me,' Auntie Squash begged. ‘I'm very sensitive: I can't stand the cold as well as you can, pests attack me more often and it takes me longer to ripen. Luckily this doesn't affect my nutritional qualities; I have more of those than marrows have. That's the reason why squash is used as a diet food for people with liver problems.'
‘You women are always exaggerating: all members of the pumpkin family are good for you. I am also used as a diet product and am recommended for those people who have heart problems and unhealthy blood vessels, and also to cure obesity, anaemia and kidney failure. Maybe I do have fewer minerals than you, but I ripen more quickly and less temperamentally, that's why we marrows are more widespread than squash,’ Marrow announced proudly.
‘Grandpa, let’s not argue. We all have huge advantages and very small flaws. Let’s
think of a way to help the cucumbers instead,’ Squash said amicably...
This was the fragment from the book 'The World of Vegetables'