The Dutch Twins  by Lucy Fitch Perkins

Mother's Day

Part 2 of 2

"Now it is time to cook the dinner," said Vrouw Vedder. "We will have pork and potatoes and some cabbage. Kit, run to the garden and bring a cabbage; and Kat, you may get the fire ready to cook it, when Kit brings it in."


Kat went to the stove—but it was such a funny stove! It wasn't a stove at all, really.

There was a sort of table built up against the chimney. It was all covered with pretty blue tiles, with pictures of boats on them. Over this table, there was a shelf, like a mantel shelf. There were plates on it, and from the bottom of the shelf hung some chains with hooks on them. The coals were right out on the little table.

Kat took the bellows and—puff, puff, puff!—made the coals burn brighter. She peeped in the kettle to see that there was water in it. Then she put some more charcoal on the fire.

Kit brought in the cabbage, and Vrouw Vedder cut it up and put it into the pot of water hanging over the fire. She put the pork and potatoes in too.

In a little while the pot was bubbling away merrily; and Father Vedder, who was in the garden, sniffed the air and said,

"I know what we are going to have for dinner."

While the pot boiled, Vrouw Vedder scrubbed the floor and wiped the window. Then she took her brooms and scrubbing-brush outside.

She scrubbed the door and the outside of the house. She scrubbed the little pig with soap. The little pig squealed, because she got some soap in its eyes. She scrubbed the steps—and even the trunk of the poplar tree in the yard! She scrubbed everything in sight, except Father Vedder and the Twins! By and by she came to the door and called,

"Come to dinner! Only be sure to leave your wooden shoes outside, when you come into my clean kitchen."

Here are the shoes, just as they left them, all in a row. And as it was Saturday, the shoes were scrubbed too, that night.


When the dinner was cleared away, Vrouw Vedder said to the Twins,

"It is almost time for Grandmother to come. Let's walk out to meet her."


They walked clear to the edge of the town before they saw her coming. They walked on top of the dyke, so they could look right down into the street, and see all the houses in a row. Grandmother was coming up the street with a basket on her arm.

"What do you think is in that basket?" Vrouw Vedder asked the Twins.

"Honey cake!" said Kit; and Kat said, "Candy!"

And Kit and Kat were both right. There was a large honey cake and anise candies, and some currant buns besides!


Grandmother let them peep in and see. They were very polite and did not ask for any—Vrouw Vedder was proud of the Twins' good manners. Grandmother said,

"This afternoon, when we have tea, you shall have some."

"I'm glad I ate such a lot of dinner," said Kit to Kat, as they walked along; "or else I'd just have to have a bun this minute!"

"Yes," said Kat, "it's much easier to be polite when you aren't hungry."

When they got home, Kit and Kat took their Grandmother to see the new goslings, and to see the ducklings too. And Vrouw Vedder showed her the butter that Kit and Kat had helped to churn; and Grandmother said,

"My, my! What helpers they are getting to be!" Then she said, "How clean the house is!" and then, "How the brasses shine!"

"Yes," said Vrouw Vedder; "the Twins helped me make everything clean and tidy to show to you."

"I guess it's time for honey cake," said Grandmother.

Then Vrouw Vedder stirred up the fire again and boiled the kettle and made tea. She took down her best china cups and put them out on the round table.


Then Grandmother opened her basket and took out the honey cake and buns and the candy; and Vrouw Vedder brought out her fresh butter.

"I can't stay polite much longer," said Kit to Kat.

Grandmother gave them each a thin slice of honey cake and a bun; and Vrouw Vedder spread some of the butter on the buns—and oh, how good they were!

"Some for a honey cake,

And some for a bun,"

sang Kat. It didn't take the Twins long to finish them.

When they had drunk their tea, Grandmother brought out her knitting, and Mother Vedder began to spin.

"How many rolls of linen have you ready for Kat when she marries?" Grandmother asked.

"I try to make at least one roll each year; so she has four now and I am working on the fifth one," said Vrouw Vedder. "She shall be as well-to-do as any farmer's daughter near here, when she marries. See, this is the last one," and Vrouw Vedder took from the press a roll of beautiful white linen tied with blue ribbons.

"Is that for me, Mother?" asked Kat.

"Yes," said Vrouw Vedder. "When you marry, we shall have a fine press full of linen for you."

"Isn't Kit going to have some too?" asked Kat.

Grandmother laughed.

"The mother of the little girl who will some day marry Kit, is working now on her linen, no doubt; so Kit won't need any of yours."


The Twins looked very solemn and went out into the yard. They sat down on the bench by the kitchen door together. Then Kat said,

"Kit, do you s'pose we've got  to be married?"

"It looks like it," said Kit.

Things seemed very dark indeed to the Twins.

"Well," said Kat, "I just tell you I'm not going to do it. I'm going to stay at home with Mother and Father, and you and the ducks and everything!"

"What will they do with the linen then?" said Kit. "I guess you'll have  to be married."

Kat began to cry.

"I'll just go and ask Mother," she said.

"I'll go with you," said Kit. "I don't want to any more than you do."

So the Twins got down from the bench and went into the kitchen where Grandmother and Vrouw Vedder were.

Their mother was spinning flax to make linen thread.

"Mother," said the Twins, "will you please excuse us from being married."


"O my soul!" said Vrouw Vedder. She seemed surprised.

"We don't want to at all," said Kat. "We'd rather stay with you."

"You shan't be married until after you are four feet and a half high and are called Christopher and Katrina anyway," said Vrouw Vedder. "I promise you that."

The Twins were much relieved. They went out and fed their ducklings. They felt so much better that they gave them an extra handful of grain, and they carried a bun to Father Vedder, who was hoeing in the farthest corner of the garden. He ate it, leaning on his hoe.


When they went back to the house, it was late in the afternoon. Grandmother was rolling up her knitting.

"I must go home to Grandfather," she said. "He'll be wanting his supper."

The Twins walked down the road as far as the first bridge with Grandmother. There she kissed them good-bye and sent them home.

When their mother put them to bed that night, Kat said,

"Has this been a short day, Mother?"

"Oh, very short!" said Vrouw Vedder, "because you helped me so much."

Then she kissed them good-night and went out to feed the pigs, and shut up the chickens for the night.


When she was gone, Kit said,

"I don't see how they got along before we came. We help so much!"

"No," said Kat; "I don't think—" But what she didn't think, no one will ever know, because just then she popped off to sleep.