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Picture Book
Driving Test

Farmer Tait looked out at his fields of oats, barley and flax. Nothing grew in a straight row. His crops zigzagged all over the place. How was he ever going to harvest them when they weren’t in a straight line? He decided right away that next year he’d hire someone new to till his land.

The year past quickly. Farmer Tait was able to harvest a lot, but not all of his crops. As spring rolled around he knew it was time to find someone to plow. He painted a sign, ‘Plower Wanted’ and hung it out on the wooden fence in front of his house. That very day, a man named Donald came to the door. "I saw your sign. I can till your crops for you," he said.

Farmer Tait wasn’t sure if he believed him. "I’ve set a course up in the field. I want you to take the till and plow in between the cones. If you can do it in a straight line, I’ll hire you," he explained.

Donald nodded and went into the field. There were orange cones around the edge of the field. Farmer Tait had his two strong highland bulls hooked to the plow. "There you go," Farmer Tait said. Donald went over and strung the straps around his shoulders. He called to the bulls to start moving. Farmer Tait waited at the other side of the field. He slipped on his ‘Inspector’ badge around his arm, grabbed a clipboard and some papers and waited. He watched as Donald tilled his field, making notes and thinking.

Tired and dirty, Donald finished. "What do you think?" he asked Farmer Tait.

He walked around, examining the line. "No.This won’t do at all. The lines aren’t straight enough. How can I harvest my crop if I have to go through lines that crooked? Sorry, Donald, but you’re not the one," Farmer Tait explained.

Donald took the yoke off and went home. Farmer Tait went back to his house, after petting his highland bulls. The next day, when the doorbell rang, he saw his neighbor, Niven, standing there. "I’m here to plow your field," Niven said.

Farmer Tait replied, "Are you now? Donald down the lane was here. He couldn’t plow a straight line. You think you can do better, eh?"

"Let’s give it a try," Niven said.

Farmer Tait explained about the wee test he’d have to do. Niven had no problem with that. He knew he’d do a good job. He strapped on the yoke, attaching himself to the plow and started plowing between the cones. Farmer Tait went to the other side of the field as before. When Niven finished, he walked up to Farmer Tait. "Well, what do you think?"

Farmer Tait walked around the field. He wrote things down on the papers in his clipboard. "Sorry, won’t do. The lines aren’t straight enough," he told him. Niven shook his head and went home.

Day after day men in the village came to be tested. Surely one of them could plow straight. Day after day Farmer Tait turned them away. He was getting concerned. If he didn’t get those fields plowed soon, it would be too late for the oats, rye and flax to grow to maturity before the cold weather set in. Discouraged and tired, he sat in front of the fireplace, listening to the wind howling. He went to bed wondering what he was going to do. When he woke up in the morning, he went outside. It was a beautiful morning. The sky was blue and there was no wind. When he walked into the field, the two bulls walked over to him. An idea came to Farmer Tai’s mind. Why didn’t he try plowing his fields? After all, they were his fields, not Donald’s, not Niven’s, and not any one else’s. So he strapped on the plow and moved through the dirt. The plow was heavy, but the bulls pulled it along well.

When he finished he turned and looked back. The line was straight! He went down another row. He turned and looked back. That line was straight too! Before he knew it, he’d done the entire field himself. "The oats will go in this one," he said, feeling proud of himself. The next day he plowed the field where the rye would go. The day after that he plowed the field where the flax would be planted.

Farmer Tait planted the seed and watered it. One day he noticed tiny green stalks growing in the very straight rows. As summer went on, the oats, rye and flax grew tall. Farmer Tait felt very proud and very happy. He had huge crops this year and he had done all the work himself! From then on Farmer Tait didn’t waste time trying to find someone to do the work for him. He always did it himself and he always had the best crop in the village.

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