A Mother's Advice

Authors Note: Jason was ten years old and Janet was nine years old, and Mrs. Milton's cottage was only a few houses away.

Once there was a widow named Alice who lived in a cottage with her two sons Allen and Mike. They were a poor family and did not have any luxuries or fancy items, but they lived well; for their mother was a hard working woman who kept her boys well fed on the vegetables she was growing in her garden. Every day they would eat all kinds of vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner including carrots, celery, lettuce, etc. They always enjoyed their meals and the time spent with each other except of course when she disciplined them. She disciplined Allen more than she did Mike because he was far more mischievous and misbehaving than his brother was. When the boys grew older they were taught by their neighbors how to hunt deer and other animals, and how to fish, so that their meals no longer consisted only of vegetables.

Both of the boys had a great desire to travel and they often dreamed of and talked about traveling when they grow up, and promised each other that they would do so when they become grown men. It was a bright and sunny day, though a little cold the day they became men; it was on that day that they decided to let their mother know that they wanted to travel the world to seek their fortune. While they were eating a supper of roast duck, carrots, and spinach they began to talk to their mother about it.

"Mother, Mike and I would like to travel the world tomorrow. We have dreamed about doing it since we were children. There are lots of places to explore and we would like to seek our fortune. We are going to miss you, but it is what we want to do since we were little."

"Then you should go," said Alice. "I knew for many years that you wanted to travel, and I am glad that you have decided to ask me now to let you travel for if you had asked for my permission when you were still boys, I would have said no. You are grown men now, and although I will miss you, I know that you should live your own life, and that I can't keep you here with me forever."

"How will you get along without us?" asked Mike, the more compassionate and caring of the two.

"Do not worry about me, my sons; I am more than capable of taking care of the vegetable garden. I have been growing vegetables long before you were born, and I have good neighbors that will help me out, as they have done so in the past."

"Then we will leave first thing in the morning," said Allen who walked into his room. Mike followed him and also fell asleep immediately for they were tired from the hard work they have done that day of pulling weeds, and hunting game in the nearby woods.

Early in the morning while the sun began to brighten the dark skies with its rays of light, and the air was beginning to be filled with music from all kinds of birds including robins, blue jays, and finches, Allen slowly opened his eyes. He was too groggy for a few seconds to remember where he was at before he realized that he was in his own room. He also remembered that he and his brother would begin their adventures that day. He pushed himself out of his bed and went into his large closet, and when he came out again he was wearing a sturdy pair of dark blue pants and a plaid shirt, as well as the home made shoes that were given to him by his uncle. He picked out an extra pair of clothes and placed them in his large cloth bag as well as his hunter's knife, and a hunting rifle that he shared with his brother. He decided to wake his brother because he knew that Mike often slept longer than he did.

But as soon as he left his room he discovered that Mike had already got dressed and carried his own bag of clothes.

Good morning, brother," said Mike who looked at Allen's cloth bag. I see that you are ready to go. Did you pack your hunting knife?"

"Yes, I did, but we should pack some food and a bottle of water before we begin our journey."

"We should also say goodbye to mother, I know she will miss us."

"Indeed she will, brother. I hope you packed your hunters knife as well."

"I did as well as a hunter's net and our two fishing rods."

"Give me my fishing rod."

Mike handed Allen's fishing rod to Allen who packed it inside his bag along with his clothes, hunter's knife and riffle.

"Let's enter the kitchen," said Allen.

When they entered the kitchen, to their surprise, their mother, Alice had already packed two bags of vegetables, salted duck, and two tall bottles filled with cold water from the well that they had in their back yard. They also saw that the table was filled with carrots, spinach, and beets.

"Sit down my sons, and eat a good breakfast; I don't want you to leave until you are full," said Alice.

Allen and Mike shared the last meal they would have with their mother for a very long time. It was a bittersweet moment because they were happy and sad; happy, because their dreams of traveling were finally coming true; sad because they didn't know when they would see their mother again.

"I can't wait to see what we will discover on our adventures," Allen said excitedly. "Maybe we will find some fairies or gold. I would love to see a fairy."

"Maybe we will see some exotic flowers or fruit trees," said Mike with bright eyes.

"Or a magic cave with diamonds,"

"And a dragon," Mike said.

"We don't need dragons," said Allen.

"Maybe we can fight dragons and win the hands of beautiful princesses."

"She would have to be exceptionally beautiful for me to marry her," said Allen.

"Maybe…" Mike began to say before he looked into the chestnut brown eyes of his mother and saw how sad they looked.

This filled his heart with sorrow and eyes began to become watery.

"Oh mother, I am going to miss you so much."

"I am too," said Allen whose heart was also beginning to build up with sorrow, and eyes were beginning to be filled with tears."

"Now my sons wipe your tears and do not cry. I want our last meal that we will have together to be a happy one, for it will be in my memory for a long time."

They continued to talk and laugh with each other though their joy was mixed with a pinch of sorrow because they knew that they weren't go to see her for a very long time. Alice also felt sorrowful because she wouldn't see her sons whom she raised and cherish all these years, but she was happy that their dreams of traveling are finally coming true; besides, she will not be completely alone, for she has friends who will keep her company.

After they finished their breakfast, Alice grabbed the two food bags off the shelf and gave it to her sons. Then she embraced both of them. Tears poured out of their eyes and no words were said for they did not need to say anymore words to explain how they felt, and words would not be enough anyway. They held on to each other tightly until their emotions were spent.

"Allen and Mike, I have some advice for you to follow before you go, and it is very important that you follow my advice if you want to be happy and safe otherwise you will be very sad and in danger. First, you will come to woods. One of them will be filled with a variety of flowers and mouth watering fruit, but do not enter that forest because it is dangerous; instead, enter the other forest and you will come out of it safely. Next, you will see two tables filled with all kinds of foods enough for a splendid feast for a king including roast pig, roast chicken, corn on the cob, mash potatoes, and all kinds of cakes and pies which will give off enticing scents, but do not eat the food but instead eat the oatmeal on the other table for it will give you the health and strength you need to continue your journey. Last and most important of all you will come to two houses when you are weary and looking for shelter to spend the night at. One of them will be a beautiful castle with a very beautiful lady in front of it, but do not be fooled by her looks for she is not what she seems to be and neither is her castle. Instead ask the peasant woman to house you in her poor cottage for she is a lot kinder than the lady in front of her castle. Remember things are not always what they seemed to be. Follow my advice and good fortune will meet you. Goodbye."

"Goodbye, mother," said Mike and Allen before they walked out of the cottage. "We love you."

They began to walk on the path towards the left and passed by the cottage near their mother's and saw their neighbor Mrs. Kendal sitting on a rocking chair and shelling peas. They waved to her before they passed her by, and she waved back to them. They passed by a few more cottages with people doing their choirs outside until they came to a man hoeing his vegetable garden.

Good morning boys," said Henry. "Fine day today, isn't it? The sun is shining brightly in the sky without a single cloud, and it is not hot today."

"Yes, indeed it is," Mike agreed.

"Where are you off today?" Henry required. He was curious about where they were going.

"We are going to explore the wide world," Mike answered.

"We hope to return with some gold," said Allen.

"And beautiful princesses," Mike added. "Maybe we will see some giants and fairies too."

"I hope you have plenty of stories to tell your mother when you will return. She will love to hear about your adventures."

"We will," said Allen.

"How is Esmeralda feeling," Mike asked. He knew that Henry's wife was sick for days and they hoped that she would start to feel better."

"She's feeling much better, and she plans on visiting your mother with their mutual friend Clara."

"That you will be good to hear," said Mike. "You will check up on her from time to time won't you?"

"I will," said Henry. "Have a safe journey."

"We will, they said," before they resumed their traveling.

They continued to walk through the town and saw many trees; some were filled with pink flowers, others were filled with white flowers, and others were filled with purple flowers, and the branches had buds of fruit on them including apples and pears. They also passed by some corn patches, carrot crops, and wheat fields, and in the pens were cows, pigs, and chickens. They also saw many people tending the animals and the vegetables; while some women and girls were washing their clothes near the wells that were by their cottages. They saw gardens filled with all kinds of flowers including tulips, roses, and lilacs which gave off sweet scents, and saw some squirrels and rabbits scurrying about. One of the rabbits began to chew on a tulip before a man chased it away.

They came upon a boy and a girl named Jason and Janet leading their sheep out to pastor.

When Jason and Janet saw the two brothers they waved hello to them because they were glad to see them

"How are you, Jason and Janet?" Mike asked.

"We are fine," said Jason. "We are taking our sheep to the field so they will have their fill of grass and water by the small lake yonder."

"We are taking care of the animals by ourselves today because our father went to the town square to sell chopped wood to people, and our mother is helping Mrs. Milton, our elderly neighbor wash her clothes, sheets, and blankets today," said Janet.

"I'm glad you are helping your parents," said Mike.

"Our father said that a farm is well run only when everybody pitches in and helps out," said Jason.

"We already gathered the eggs, milked the cow, fed the chicken and did other chores," added Janet.

"You must have been up awful early," said Allen, wondering if the children got a good night's rest.

"We got up before dawn to do our chores, but our parents made us go to bed very early last night so that we wouldn't be too tired to do our chores today," said Jason.

"Plus, we want to play with the other children today, but our parents said that we couldn't play until we were finished with all of our chores," said Janet, who was glad that pasturing the sheep was the last chore they would be required to do that day.

"Where are you going today?" Jason asked curiously.

"We are going to travel the wide world and seek our fortune," Allen answered the curious children.

"Are you going to fight dragons?" Jason asked excitedly.

"Are you going to marry beautiful princesses?" Janet asked with equal excitement.

"Will you bring back gold, or diamonds?" Jason asked.

"Or meet a giant, a troll, or a fairy?" Janet added.

Mike smiled warmly at the children. "We will discover many things on our journey then we will return with stories for you and for the others in this town"

"We should get going now, brother," said Allen.

"You are right," Mike answered him. "We will see you again someday."

"Goodbye, "said Jason and Janet.

To Be Continued.