The Ant and Other Farm Stories: Garden Kingdom, illustrated by Jodi Maas

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Illustrations by Jodi Maas

In a small patch of garden near the old farmhouse,
Lauren’s mother had some trouble with a troublesome mouse.

The reason for this conflict is as old as seas are deep.
In order for all life to live, all living things must eat.

Now feeling that the garden had enough to go around,
the little mouse saw little harm in eating what it found.

However, Lauren’s mother didn’t feel that this was fair.
It’s not that she is greedy and she doesn’t want to share.

It’s just that she works very hard to make the garden nice.
She also knows the mouse has other food that would suffice.

So, on the day she saw the mouse had gnawed at a potato
and then – as if this wasn’t enough – chewed up a prized tomato.

She stomped her feet and shook her head, “I’m lost without a clue!
How can I stop a mouse from doing what it’s born to do?

But if that naughty, little mouse continues at this rate,
I won’t have any food to put upon my family’s plate!”

Now Lauren, who’d been working in her own small garden patch
said, “Mother, I can help you if it’s Bess you want to catch.

She’s queen of all the field mice for as far as you can see.
It’s best if you just talk to her – invite her here for tea.”

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“I see,” smiled Lauren’s mother, “I must ask this mouse to tea?”
“Let me,” replied her daughter, “We’re as close as friends can be.”

“I’ll leave it up to you then,” smiled her mother as she turned,
“I’m sure she must be very wise with such a title earned.”

So Lauren went to find the Queen to bid the invitation,
while in the house her mother sighed, “That child’s imagination!

Imagine that! Invite a mouse for tea and conversation!…
And not just any mouse,” she laughed, “but one of such high station!”

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All morning Lauren’s mother laughed about her daughter’s plan.
Yet some voice deep inside her said, I wonder if she can?”

She watched as little Lauren set the table for the tea,
clearly wanting everything as perfect as can be.

Her daughter set the table with her finest cups of all –
for it’s not everyday that one has monarchy come call.

At three o’clock that afternoon sweet Lauren came inside.
“Well,” she said, “I’ve done my best – at least I know I tried.”

“I’m sure you did, my darling,” said her mother with a smile,
“You must be quite excited for she’ll be here in a while.”

But Mother, you don’t understand. The Queen has come and gone.
She said that she was sorry, but she couldn’t stay too long.”

“She said she hopes to meet you when she comes again for tea
and promised that from now on, they will let your garden be.

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Queen Bess has made a law for all the field mice on the farm.
They’ll be the cat’s next meal. she vowed, if any more is harmed.

Lauren’s mother hugged her and then whispered in her ear,
“That cat is really far too fat. Those mice have little to fear.”

And just as Queen Bess promise, all the mice stayed far away
and if you ask sweet Lauren’s mom, she’ll shake her head and say,

“Who’s to say that one can’t talk to life both big and small.
It seems that our girl, Lauren, knows the language of them all!”

 

Author: Anne Celano Frohna

I am a writer, a mother of two girls, Eva (20) and Sophia (18) and wife to one husband, Kurt. I was mostly a professional writer and editor for 30 years for graphic arts and advertising, for publishers of newspapers, magazines, books, etc.,. Now, I have a blog where I post my creative non-fiction, short stories, a couple of illustrated children's stories and a comedy I wrote about two years I spent teaching English in rural Japan (NOT a story for a child.). I’m also working on a new blog about the wonderful, hand-crafted items I've collected over the years at beautyofthrift.com. - which will also connect to the Etsy shop I recently opened called Channeling Nonna. My husband and I both love to cook and to entertain and have welcomed friends and family to our homes for over 20 years. With our eldest off at college, we also began hosting with Airbnb, the perfect (and most natural) way for me to continue to pursue my passion of writing, while at the same time help us pay for current and future college expenses.

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