Friday, January 1, 2010

A Fable for the New Year: Mia and the Two-Measure Bucket with a Hole in the Side of it, About Half-way Up

For the new year, I have written a fable.  It is about a girl named Mia who lives in a mushroom, and her bucket.  Mia has an extensive and fanciful back-story which I have edited out for brevity.  However, it is still not very "brev" for a blog post.  Thank you in advance to those of you who honor me by finishing it, and
Happy New Year to One and ALL!!!!!

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl named Mia. She lived with her family in a hollowed-out toadstool on the forest floor, painted with polka-dots. The toadstool was painted with polka dots, not the forest floor. That would just be silly.

Mia’s was a family of nomads. They moved from place to place, taking their toadstool with them, usually stopping close to a creek or river to have use of the water.

Mia fetched the water in the morning, her little brother Boonedoggle fetched it at midday (when they needed the least), and her older sister Catilda fetched it before dinner (when they needed the most).

Unfortunately, the bucket had a hole in the side of it, about half way up. Every morning Mia walked to the creek and scooped out two measures of water, for it was a two-measure bucket, and every morning, by the time she arrived home, she only had one measure of water to pour into the family cistern. Every day, day after day, it was the same thing. She would scoop out two measures of water and arrive home with only one.

This never seemed to bother Boonedoggle, the Dawdler or Catilda, the Perfect, but it made Mia very grumpy.

When she complained, which was often, Mother would only say, “You’re doing a fine job with the bucket, Mia.” Complaining to Catilda was no better. “I think it is a lovely bucket,” she would say. “I like to watch the water squirt out the hole,” was Boonedoggle’s contribution on the subject. Mia was vexed beyond description.  Until one day she had an idea.

The New Year was coming; the time when all the children of the forest can ask the Forest King to meet a special need. Mia was going to ask the King to fix the family’s bucket. She was sure this would be the end to her unhappiness.

So it happened, that on the eve of the New Year, after their chores were done and Mother had enough water in the cistern to wash the dishes, Mia, Catilda, and Boonedoggle, sat down to make requests of the Forest King. Each one written on a scrap of paper, and placed into a bottle, which Father corked. The children then walked down to the creek and dropped the bottle in. All water in the forest flows to the King.

The next morning, when Mia awoke, she went straight to the front door, and the hook upon which the bucket was kept. There it was, just like before. A two-measure bucket, with a hole in the side of it, about half way up. Inside the bucket was a note. It read,

There is nothing wrong with your bucket.
The King

Well, Mia was beside herself with disappointment. She showed the note to Mother, who smiled and commented that not every little girl gets a note from the Forest King. She showed the note to Father, who laughed gently and ran his hand through her curls. She was going to show the note to Catilda, but by now she had gone from disappointed to angry, and figured there was no point anyway.

So, Mia grumpused off to fetch the water.

By the time she got to the creek, she was so angry, that when she scooped a bucket full of water, and it started to flow out the hole in the side of it, about half way up, she had no reasonable action left to a girl of her nature but to dump all the water out and throw the bucket into the forest.

There was a loud crack, and a yelp. Then a voice came booming out of the trees. “Who is throwing buckets!? I demand an answer!”

It was Winchester, a wise (and often extremely cranky) old hare. He emerged from the woods holding a sore spot on his head and Mia’s bucket. “So it was you, mercurial Mia? Explain yourself!”

“I am so sorry, sir. I was just so mad at the bucket, and…”

“Wait, wait, wait! Say no more!” he interrupted. “How can you be mad at a bucket? You are being ridiculous. Explain yourself!”

Now Mia was a bit scared, and crying, but she did the best she could to explain her predicament.

“Hmm. I see,” said the hare, somewhat less cranky than before. “Let me ask you this. Did the bucket have a hole in it yesterday?”

“Yes,” Mia answered.

“And the day before that?”


“And the day before that?”

“Yes, yes, yes. Every day it has a hole in it and has had for as long as I can remember!”

“Then why are you mad at the bucket?” asked Mr. Winchester, sounding cranky again. “It is what it has always been: A one measure bucket that looks like a two measure bucket with a hole in the side of it, about half way up. To expect it to be anything more is folly. So, GO! Be mad in my woods no more, unless it be at yourself for expecting too much.”

With that, Winchester returned to his place in the forest, leaving Mia alone with her thoughts and her new one measure bucket.

Mia’s unhappiness did not leave her all at once. It took her some time. Luckily she had many trips back and forth to the creek during which to think. Eventually, she began to see the wisdom in what Winchester, the wise and cranky old hare, had said, and she learned for herself, what we would all do well to remember.

Every expectation is a potential disappointment. Expect accordingly.

Here at the threshold of two thousand and then, (Jonah's term for the new year) I resolve, with Mia in mind, to
  • Stop expecting my five year old to act like an eight year old just because he has the vocabulary of one.
  • Stop expecting to feel rested.
  • Stop expecting my house to stay clean.
Hmm, I feel happier all ready.

( Original Art Work by Me, 
ball point pen and crayon
on copy paper, 2009
I take full credit because 
 no one else wants any.  )


  1. Thanks for coming along to my place, Tracey! I love this story! Also I want to use two thousand and then, may I? Happy new year!

  2. Tina, you may ABSOLUTELY use two thousand and then. I am trying to start a trend on my little boy's behalf.

    Thank you for coming by and being so complimentary.

  3. I really liked this story. You should submit it to a children's book publisher. (Maybe not the picture though. He he he. They will give you a illustrator if they decide to publish.)

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Carolyn, I am not an artist. By no means. But every post needs a picture. I found this great one online when I googled mushroom house, but, alas, it did not have polka dots.

    I'm glad you liked the story.

  5. I really liked the story, too, but I think it needs a bit of a stronger ending - perhaps Mia is too young to really be able to tell herself to expect less, but she could learn this in a more childlike way? Your fable is really worth working on though, so please take my critique as a compliment!
    As my sister says when it comes to parenting, "There's the ideal, and then there's the real".
    Happy New Year!

  6. Thank you Rebecca. I do value your criticism.

    It is strange to "publish" on a blog because I don't sit with something as long as I might otherwise. I may turn things over to the world too soon. But I sort of like writing on the fly. Sort of like imporvisational theater.

    And there is the length issue. I know if I want people to read it, the length must be manageable.

  7. Your good points are well taken, Tracey! I guess my teacherish side took over for a moment there...

  8. Oh, Rebecca, no, no. Teach away.

  9. Tracey, this is a fab story. I can totally see this in a children's book. And the artwork! Fab! You should check out Mmmr. Toast's "Creative Tuesdays". You'd have a blast. LadyCat and Bach are currently participating as well.

    Hope you have a super New Year! Many blessings to you! :)

  10. "So, Mia grumpused off to fetch the water."
    I love it! It's a wonderful story :) I could picture the old hare, Mia and the bucket. Well done!


  11. MY! Tracey! This is brilliant! Think it is worth a read to my short people! They will surely enjoy it!
    Jill from The Glen