Here's the last of this season's Gift of Stories: a tale stolen from a children's picture book. Check your local public library to see the original--it's out of print and hard to find now, but the drawings are worth the hunt.
The blog-as-usual will resume in January. Happy New Year, all y'all!
Socks for Supper by Jack Kent
In a faraway place in a long-ago time there lived an old man and his wife. They were very poor.
All they had was a tumble-down house and a tiny turnip garden.
One day, the man said to his wife, “One can get tired of eating nothing but turnips.”
Not far away there lived a couple who had a cow.
The old man and his wife used to look at the cow and dream of milk and cheese.
“Maybe they’ll sell us some,” said the old man.
“We don’t have any money,” his wife reminded him.
“Perhaps we could trade them something for some milk,” said the old man.
“Perhaps we could,” his wife agreed. And they searched the house for something to trade. They looked and looked but the only thing they could find that wasn’t in pieces or tatters was a pair of socks.
The old man took the socks and went to see the couple who had the cow.
A little while later he came happily home again with a bucket of milk and a small cheese.
“Oh! This is so good!” said his wife.
It wasn’t long before they began to wish they had some more. But they didn’t have any more socks to trade.
“I will knit some!” said the old woman. But she didn’t have any yarn. So, she unraveled part of the old man’s sweater and knitted a pair of socks with that.
They again traded the socks for milk and cheese. And they feasted as they did before.
When it was all gone, the old woman unraveled more of the sweater and knitted another pair of socks. And once more the old man traded them for milk and cheese.
When that was gone, the old woman started knitting again.
But there was now only enough yarn left in the sweater for one sock.
“What good is one sock?” the old woman asked. “They won’t trade any milk or cheese for that.”
“We’ll see,” said the old man. And he took the sock to the couple with the cow.
“I only have half a pair of socks this time,” he said. “Would you trade half a bucket of milk and half a cheese for this?”
“Oh, no, that is not necessary,” said the farmer.
“You see,” said the farmer’s wife, “One sock is exactly what I need.”
She was knitting her husband a sweater for Christmas. She’d gotten the yarn for it by unraveling the socks and she needed just one more to finish the job.
But the sweater didn’t fit.
So the wife gave it to the old man, for she had noticed he didn’t have one.
And it was just the right size.
“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”