*info on donating to The Clouse Fire Relief Fund at bottom of page.
My favorite children's book is called, Heckedy Peg. It is a fairy tale of the Grimm variety and, at 5 years old, I thought it was positively adult. A poor hard working mother is raising her seven children on the outskirts of the local village. The children are named Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On this particular day, the mother, so impressed with her hardworking babies, tells them that she will bring home anything they want from her daily trip to the market.
The children were overjoyed and knew exactly what they wanted. Monday asked for a tub of butter. Tuesday asked for a pocket knife. Wednesday asked for a china pitcher. Thursday asked for a pot of honey. Friday asked for a tin of salt. Saturday asked for crackers. And Sunday asked for a bowl of egg pudding.
The mother leaves for the market with one admonition,
" Now be careful, and remember - don't let a stranger in and don't touch fire." (I suppose all mother's worry about the same things, fairy tale or reality.)
As happens in these stories, a stranger does come along. An old woman, named Heckedy Peg. She tells the children she will give them a sack full of gold if they let her in and light her pipe. Surely, mother would not be angry at the children for disobeying her for a sack of gold! And so they do. Heckedy Peg, walks into the opened door, throws her pipe down and shouts,
"Now I've got you!"
And with that the witch turned the children into food. Monday became bread. Tuesday became pie. Wednesday became milk. Thursday became porridge. Friday became fish. Saturday became cheese. And Sunday became roast rib.
Heckedy Peg takes her moveable feast deep into the woods to her lair. Poor mother returns to an empty home. With the help of a talkative black bird, she makes her way to where the witch lives, still clutching the basket of gifts she purchased for her children. Heckedy Peg refuses to give up her beautiful spread without a fight.
The witch pointed to the table.
"Here are your children," she said. "If you can't guess them right the first time, I'll eat them for my supper."
The mother despaired. How would she ever know which food was which child? She looked into her basket,
Here are the things my children wanted, she thought, and now they will never have them...Suddenly the mother knew what to do. Taking the things from her basket, she said, "I know my children by what they want."
"Bread wants butter. That's Monday."
"Pie wants knife. That's Tuesday."
"Milk wants pitcher. That's Wednesday."
"Porridge wants honey. That's Thursday."
"Fish wants salt. Thats Friday."
"Cheese wants crackers. That's Saturday."
"And roast rib wants egg pudding. That's Sunday."
The children turn back into themselves and the mother goes on to chase Heckedy Peg to her demise. Off a bridge. Of course.
I have read this book to Zuzu a dozen times over the past few days. (She really likes my witch voice.) There is one line that gets me every time. "I know my children by what they want." How true is this? In so many ways we are what we want. Some days (bad, little days) I want smaller thighs, thicker hair and new jeans. Other days (better days), I want a little working garden and a pie baking in the oven. Then there are days (the best days), when I want exactly the life I have, the very moment I am in.
Today, I want to live in a world where tsunami's can't tear apart countries and families and hearts. A place where fires don't rage in quiet little homes. A world where we are all safe and happy.
We can be known by what we want, but we can also be known by what we do. Please help this family in the best way you can. Today, in a world struck by so much tragedy, it would be nice to know exactly who we are.
Donations can be sent to:
The Clouse Fire Relief Fund
Care of Bank of Landisburg
PO Box 179
Landisburg, PA, 17040