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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Bakery

Wendy stood at the bakery shop window, her face pressed against the glass. She watched the other children standing at the counter buying ice cream cones, donuts, chocolate covered biscuits and cupcakes with raspberry jam and cream cheese filling. Her tongue moved across her lips, wishing for one bite of the sweet pastries.

When she could bear no more she headed home. There she'd find her grandma and grandpa waiting for her. Her mother would come home later in the evening, exhausted and worn out after a hard day's work.

She opened the front door and went inside. Grandma stood at the stove stirring a pot of stew. A tray of scones sat on the counter. “Hello Wendy. Did you have a nice day at school?” Grandma smiled and turned to give her granddaughter a hug.

“Yes, Grandma. I learned all about history and math.” Wendy looked at the pot. “Are we having stew again tonight? Does it have meat in it this time, or just vegetables?”

Grandma sighed. “There's a little leftover lamb, some carrots, potatoes and beans. I did make some scones to go with it.” She saw a look of disappointment come over Wendy's face. “Things are hard for us right now, Wendy. One day we'll have more to eat. Don't you worry. It's a promise.”

Wendy forced a small smile and went to hug her grandpa. He lay in a chair snoring. Wendy didn't disturb him, but went to her bedroom and lay on the bed. She thought of the kids at the bakery and wished that she could have a cake all to herself.

That night she had a dream. She went to the bakery and Mrs. Fingal told her she could have anything she wanted. She could eat every single thing in the bakery. Wendy laughed and ate ten cakes and three donuts. When she woke up in the morning and realized it had only been a dream, she wept.

Her mother walked by the room and heard her daughter crying. With a sigh she left her to sob and went to work.

After breakfast Wendy went to school. On the way she saw something lying in the street. “What's this?” She held the stone up. “It's a ruby. At least it looks like a ruby. I wonder if Mrs. Fingal would let me trade this for a cake?”  Wendy put the stone in her pocket and waited excitedly until school finished. She dashed to the bakery. When she opened the door and went inside the aroma of sugar and chocolate filled the room.

Mrs. Fingal looked at the girl. “Hello. Aren't you the little girl who looks in the window every day?”

“My name's Wendy and yes, it's me,  but today I can buy a cake. I found this.” She put the ruby on the counter.

Mrs. Fingal picked it up. “Where did you get this?”

“I found it lying in the street. Is it worth enough for a cake?” Wendy glanced at the baked goods.

“With this stone you can buy ten cakes. Pick out the ones you want and I'll box them for you.”

Wendy moved from one shelf to the other, pointing at cakes with cream icing, chocolate flakes, and jam spread on top.

Mrs. Fingal put them in a bag for her. “Here. Why don' t you take a loaf of bread too.” She put it in the bag.

Wendy smiled and headed home. She knew her grandma and grandpa and mother would be so happy to have cake. “Grandma! I've got cakes for us.”

Grandma wiped her hands on her apron and ran to the door to help Wendy. “You've got a big bag there. Where did you get all this food?”

“I found a stone in the road and Mrs. Fingal traded it for these cakes and bread.” Wendy took the cakes out of the bag and put them on the table. “Grandma, we can have a cake each tonight.”

“I'm not sure what you found, but I'm glad Mrs. Fingal thought it was enough for all this.” Grandma giggled and stuck her finger in some chocolate icing. “This is delicious.”

Grandpa woke up. “What's that I smell? Is it chocolate?” He came into the kitchen. His eyes bulged. “Cakes?”

“You can have your very own, Grandpa.”

Without asking any questions, he shoveled a cake into his mouth, savoring every bite.

When Wendy's mother came home, she was delighted to see the cakes and bread. She listened as Wendy told her about finding the stone. “Well, that's wonderful. I hope someday you can find another.”

They feasted on white cake with apricot filling, cherry cake with vanilla icing and chocolate cake with fudge icing. That night Wendy and her family slept with smiles on their face. The next morning they had bread and butter and Wendy went to school, singing and dancing down the street.

She saw something lying in the street. “What' that?” She picked it up. “It's another stone. It looks like an emerald.”

After school she stopped at the bakery and once again Mrs. Fingal let her choose ten things. She picked a jar of chocolate covered biscuits, an apple pie, an angel food cake with strawberries on top, a fruit tart and instead of getting more sweets, she chose five loaves of bread.

Once again the family feasted and slept well.

Every day Wendy found a stone and every day Mrs. Fingal let her choose things from the bakery and every night Mrs. Fingal went out and laid the glass jewels in the street so Wendy would find them. Never again would she have to watch that sad little girl staring in the window.

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