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 have been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil in hand and would not feel complete without it. And I actually made a meager living at it (and as an editor) for 25 years. I worked for newspapers and magazines, in graphic arts and advertising, and wrote several local history books. But I have also taught English in Japan, been a Nanny in Italy, worked in and for museums, and was an Airbnb Superhost for four years. After moving to Arizona with my family in 2010, I completed a series of different writing projects, including two books of creative non-fiction: Just West of the Midwest: a comedy (Based on journals I kept during my two years as an English teacher in rural Japan.) Within Close Range: short stories of an American Childhood (Short stories and poems about growing up as the middle of five children in suburban Chicago.) I've also written children's stories and continue to write short fiction, but have recently found my voice in poetry. And when I'm not moved to write, or research a large piece of fiction I'm formulating, I focus much of my energies on running my Etsy shop, ChannelingNonna (channelingnonnavintage.com), where I sell vintage clothing, folk art, books, and a trove of other items I have found and continue to bring home from thrift stores, barn sales, yard sales, estate sales, etc., whereever I roam. This blog, however, is where my greatest passion comes alive. Thus, this 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 am also a mother of two wonderful girls, Eva (23) and Sophia (21) and wife to one wonderful husband, Kurt.

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