Thursday, July 29, 2010


This story was related to me today from memory on the way back from school in the car; the fruit of Middle Daughter’s class assignment to make up her own story including a list of words, the meanings of which they had to check in the dictionary.

The Maid Servant
Once upon a time there was a maid who worked for a rich man, who had a long beard. One day she discovered that she was pregnant. When she told the man, he felt rage grow in him, and tore at his hair and shouted at her that she couldn’t work for him any longer. She went home and took her dogs for a walk.

Later on he came downstairs and saw some plumage on the table. He felt ashamed of his anger and wanted to say sorry, but then thought he couldn’t. He made a heart out of metal.

The next day he went to her house and said he was sorry and that she could have her job back. She said Yes.

I haven’t done justice to the story in the re-telling here and have probably got some of the words wrong, but hopefully I've captured the drama and high emotion of her story-telling.
I tentatively asked whether ‘pregnant’ was one of the words on her list, thinking it a little strange for a class of 10 year olds.

“Oh no” she replied, “but I wanted to use the word ‘discovered’.”

We racked out brains to think where she could have got the inspiration from for a story involving a woman  thrown out for being pregnant. Not Disney of course (I don't remember that particular re-working of Cindarella), none of the horse books they’ve been reading, and they never watch any soaps. Finally I remembered the scene in Mamma Mia where Donna tells Sophie,
“When I was pregnant with you, my mother told me to go, and not to bother coming back”.
Phew! That must have been the germ of the idea, I was beginning to put it down to a traumatic past life experience!

Now it remains to be seen what her rather conventional male teacher will make of it.


  1. I'm just wondering where she got the idea of the heart made out of metal -- and its connection to the plumage. I'm glad to know where the pregnancy idea came from, though!

  2. Egad, Kit - this is nothing compared to my hormonal poems and diary entries when I was 12 or 13... they would curl your hair!

    I actually appreciate her spare style of storytelling. It leaves so much to the imagination.

    Was the old man the father of her baby, or was it the fact that he wasn't which made him so angry?

    What was it about the plumage that changed his mind and made him feel sorry for throwing her out?

    Was it very hard for him to make a heart out of metal, or was he a metalsmith?

    I'm glad she got her job back, in any case. The economy sucks so badly that there just aren't that many jobs out there any more!


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!