The Posy

He is walking along the dusty road, with his satchel on his back. His jeans are patched on the knees and his hands are dirty from playing with marbles in the sand. School's out for today. Suddenly he stops. What was that? A hare! He can still catch a glimpse of it, leaping through the long grass. Wonder where he lives? The boy turns to the narrow path, in the same direction that the hare went. In the edge of the wood, long branches of oak and elm give shade to tiny sunburned children's arms. Apart from some birds singing it's completely quiet in the wood. Where did the hare go to? Maybe he lives behind that hill there? An ant-heap is leaning against a spruce. It's a huge one! Wow, look at that motion! Thousands, maybe millions billions of small ants, plodding and toiling along. Oh, look! There is the queen! He knows, because she has got wings. Wonder were they have been, all the ants that come marching in a row home to the heap, each of them carrying a straw? He walks a little bit further to look, but now they start to take shortcuts over his feet and up his legs. Then it's not fun anymore. He jumps and stamps his feet and runs for a while.

Then he comes to a clearing that he recognizes. They had a pick-nick here last year, he and mummy. The trees are amazingly tall around here. He stands straddle-legged bending his head backwards as far as he can. High, high up above are the tree tops. High up in heaven! He gets dizzy and looks down again. There are many sorts of flowers growing around here. What if he should pick a bunch of flowers for mummy? Boy, she will be happy! And surprised too! He walks about for quite a while, crouching down, looking for the finest examples of bitter vetch, wild chervil, babies' slippers, trefoil and buttercup. It becomes a very fine bouquet. Oh, look at that! A really fine piece of bark! It has the exact shape of a small boat. You don't need to make any changes at all. He picks it up in the other hand. It's enough with flowers now anyway. He turns and starts walking back towards the road. Along the road there is a ditch with just enough water in.
He must check if the boat floats all right, Otherwise it would be pointless to bring it home. He crouches down, has to take his satchel off in order to balance when stretching down towards the water. There are three school-books in it. He puts the flowers on top of the satchel. Oh yes, the boat floats just fine. Really fine! Wonder how far it can float without getting stucked in anything? He follows it slowly as it floats down the stream. He has to climb down and push it a little from time to time. He will make a sail for it when he comes home. A nice one, made of real cloth. He will ask mummy. Just before it reaches the pipe that goes under the road he saves the boat and walks back with it to where he put the satchel. The flowers have already begun to droop and they feel soft. 'Better give them some water.' He takes the posy and holds it in the water for a while. "Drink now. So you survive until we get home."
Then he puts the satchel on his back again, takes up the boat and continues his walk home. When he reaches The Johnson's fence, Buck stands there wagging his tail. He stops and talks with him for a while, stroking the dog's golden head between the pales in the fence. Finally at home. The flowers are almost as fine as they were from the beginning. He holds them behind his back, because he wants them to be a surprise. He opens the door.
-" Mummy! I'm hooome!"
His mother appears in the hallway. She looks angry. She sounds even more angry.
- "WHERE have you been!!? Supper's been ready for over an hour! You'll have to eat it cold now. How come you never can learn to be in time?! Don't you understand I get worried? Get inside with you now and eat your supper! I must get ready before our guests are coming tonight."
Mummy disappears into the bathroom and slams the door behind her.

The boy with the flowers and the perfect bark boat stands quietly by the door for a while. His dirty little fingers squeezes the warm, damp posy behind his back. He tries to swallow the lump in his throat. Then he walks to the kitchen and throws the flowers in the bin.


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