Lucy Fitch Perkins

Mother's Day

Part 1 of 2


"Y ESTERDAY was a very long day," said Vrouw Vedder on the morning after Market Day. "You were gone such a long time."

Kat gave her mother a great hug.

"We'll stay with you all day today, Mother," she said. "Won't we, Kit?"

"Yes," said Kit; and he hugged her too.

"And we'll help you just as much as we helped Father yesterday. Won't we, Kit?"

"More," said Kit.

"I shouldn't wonder!" said Father.

"I shall be glad of help," said Vrouw Vedder, "because Grandma is coming, and I want everything to be very clean and tidy [58] when she comes. I'm going first to the pasture to milk the cow. You can go with me and keep the flies away. That will be a great help."

Vrouw Vedder put a yoke across her shoulders, with hooks hanging from each end of it. Then she hung a large pail on one of the hooks, and a brass milk can on the other. She gave Kat a little pail to carry, and Kit took some switches from the willow tree in the yard, with which to drive away the flies. Then they all three started down the road to the pasture.

Pretty soon they came to a little bridge over the canal, which they had to cross.

"Oh, dear," said Kat, looking down at the water, "I'm scared!" You see, there was no railing at all to take hold of, and the bridge was quite narrow.

"Ho! 'Fraidy cat!" said Kit. "I'll go first and show you how."

"And I'll walk behind you," said Vrouw Vedder.

Kat walked very slowly and held on hard [59] to her pail, and so she got over the bridge safely.


"When I'm four feet and a half high, I'm going to jump over the canal on a jumping pole," said Kit.

"O how brave you are!" said Kat. "I should be scared. And besides I'm afraid I should drop my shoes in the water."

[60] "Well, of course," said Kit, "boys can do a great many things that girls can't do."

When they reached the pasture, there was Mevrouw Holstein waiting for them. Mevrouw Holstein was the cow's name. Kit and Kat named her.

Vrouw Vedder tucked up her skirts—and that was quite a task, for she wore a great many of them—and sat down on a little stool. Kit and Kat stood beside her and waved their willow wands and said "Shoo!" to the flies; and Vrouw Vedder began to milk.

Mevrouw Holstein had eaten so much of the green meadow grass that Vrouw Vedder filled both the big pail and the brass can, and the little pail too, with rich milk.

"I shall have milk enough to make butter and cheese," said Vrouw Vedder. "There are no cows like our Dutch cows in all the world, I believe."

"O Mother, are you going to churn today?" asked Kat.


[62] "Yes," said the Vrouw, "I have cream enough at home to make a good roll of butter, and you may help me if you will be very careful and work steadily."

"I will be very steady," said Kat. "I'm big enough now to learn."

"All Dutch girls must know how to make good butter and cheese," said Vrouw Vedder.

"And boys can drink the buttermilk," said Kit.

"I'll drink some too," said Kat.

"There'll be plenty for both," said their mother.

When she had finished milking, Vrouw Vedder shook out her skirts, put the yoke across her shoulders again and lifted the large pail of milk. She hung it on one of the hooks and the brass milk can on the other. Kat took the small pail, and they started back home. The milk was quite heavy, so they walked slowly.

They had crossed the bridge and were just turning down the road, when what should [63] they see but their old goose and gander walking along the road, followed by six little goslings!


"O Mother, Mother," screamed Kat; "there is the old goose that we haven't seen for so long! She has stolen her nest and hatched out six little geese all her own! They are taking them to the canal to swim."

"Quick, Kit, quick!" said Vrouw Vedder. "Don't let them go into the canal! We must drive them home."

Kit ran boldly forward in front of them, and Kat ran too. She spilled some of the milk; but she was in such a hurry that she never knew it, until afterwards, when she found some in her wooden shoes!


[64] "K-s-s-s!" said the old goose; and she ran straight for the Twins with her mouth open and her wings spread! The old gander ran at them too. I can't begin to tell you how scared Kat was then! She stood right still and screamed.

[65] Kit was scared too; but he stood by Kat, like a brave boy, and shook his willow switches at the geese, and shouted "Shoo! Shoo!" just as he did at the flies.

Vrouw Vedder set her pails down in the road and came up behind, flapping her apron. Then the old goose and the gander and all the little goslings started slowly along the road for home, saying cross words in Goose talk all the way!


Father Vedder was working in the garden, when the procession came down the road. First came the geese, looking very [66] indignant, and the goslings. Then came Kit with the leaves all whipped off his willow switches. Then came Kat with her pail; and, last of all, Vrouw Vedder and the milk!

When the new family of geese had been taken care of, and the fresh milk had been put away to cool, Vrouw Vedder got out her churn and scalded it well. Then she put in her cream, and put the cover down over the handle of the dasher.

"Now, Kit and Kat, you may take turns," she said, "and see which one of you can bring the butter, but be sure you work the dasher very evenly or the butter will not be good."

"Me first!" said Kat, and she began. Kit sat on a little stool and watched for the butter.

Kat worked the dasher up and down, up and down. The cream splashed and splashed inside the churn, and a little white ring of spatters came up around the dasher.

Kat worked until her arms ached.


[67] "Now it's my turn," said Kit. Then he took the dasher, and the cream splashed and splashed for quite a long time; but still the butter did not come.

"Ho!" said Kat. "You're nothing but a boy. Of course you don't know how to churn. Let me try." And she took her turn.

Dash! Splash! Splash, dash! She worked away; and very soon, around the [68] dasher, there was a ring of little specks of butter.

"Come, butter, come! Come, butter, come!

Some for a honey cake, and some for a bun,"

she sang in time to the dasher; and truly, when Vrouw Vedder opened the churn, there was a large cake of yellow butter!

Vrouw Vedder took out the butter and worked it into a nice roll. Then she gave each of the Twins a cup of buttermilk to drink.

While the Twins drank the buttermilk, their mother washed the churn and put it away. When she was all through, it was still quite early in the morning, because they had gotten up with the sun.

"Now we must clean the house," she said.

So she got out her scrubbing-brushes, and mops, and pails, and dusters, and began.

First she shook out the pillows of the best bed, that nobody ever slept in, and pushed back the curtains so that the em- [69] broidered coverlet could be seen. Then she put the other beds in order and drew the curtains in front of them.


She dusted the linen press and left it open just a little, so that her beautiful rolls of white linen, tied with ribbons, would show. Kat dusted the chairs, and Kit car- [70] ried the big brass jugs outside the kitchen door to be polished.

Then they all three rubbed and scoured and polished them until they shone like the sun.