The Blessing Cake – A New Year’s Story
It was New Year’s Eve morning and Mama was already baking the Blessing Cake, as she did every year. Jack could hardly wait for their New Year’s celebration because this year was the first year he would be able to read the message he found in the Blessing Cake all by himself. Mama had told him, ‘Little Boy New Year always leaves new messages that are just right for each person.’
First Jack had some special New Year’s errands to do for Mama. He put on his snow boots, coat, hat, scarf, and mittens because it was a very cold day, with a little bit of snow beginning to fall. He pulled his red wagon along the path, it was full of Happy New Year’s cookies for his neighbors. Because he lived in the country, he had long walks to each neighbor’s house.
As he walked along he saw old Mrs. Carter gathering wood for her woodstove. She was stooping over from the weight of the heavy logs. “Hello, Mrs. Carter, let me help you,’ Jack called out to her. And he put her wood in his wagon, and pulled it along to her house. He stacked it by her door, and gave her the bag of New Year’s cookies.
‘Happy New Year Mrs. Carter!’ he said to her as he turned his wagon around to go further along the path.
‘Thank you Jack,’ she called, ‘you are such a good boy!”
Jack walked on, and before too long he saw Mr. Rivers old dog, Rusty, slowly walking down the street. Jack thought, ‘ old Rusty must be lost, I will take him along with me.’ Jack made a leash with his own scarf and said, ‘ come on Rusty, let’s go home!’ As he was going along the winding way to Rusty’s home, Jack heard Mr. Rivers calling out, ‘Rusty, Rusty, where are you old dog?’
Just then Jack and Rusty rounded the bend and Mr. Rivers was very happy to see Rusty! ‘Thank you Jack, Rusty is so old now he is always forgetting his way home. I am glad you found him!’
Jack patted the old dog and said ‘happy New Year Rusty, and you too Mr. Rivers’, as he gave him his bag of New Year’s cookies. ‘Jack, you are a very good boy,’ Mr. Rivers called out as Jack continued on his way.
When Jack got to his last neighbor’s home he had to climb a tall hill. He could see all over the whole area from the top of the hill. He could see the sheep in the field down below….but wait, there was one sheep outside the fence. He quickly knocked on Mrs.Lee’s door. She opened the door with her baby in her arms. Baby was wrapped up in a blanket and had the sniffles.
‘Mrs. Lee, look there! One of your sheep is out of the field!’ Jack was pointing down the hill as he told her.
‘Oh dear,’ said Mrs. Lee, ‘I don’t want to take the baby out in the cold today. Jack, would you help me?’
She filled a bucket with oats and said, ‘take this bucket down to the gate, knock on the bucket with a stick, and sing to the sheep like this…
‘Oats, Oats, ho hey ho hey, come and get them on this fine day’. I am sure if you do this the sheep will follow you right inside the gate,’ Mrs Lee told Jack.
Jack did exactly as she said. He took the bucket and walked through the snow to the field down the hill, and went near the gate. He found a sturdy stick and knocked the bucket and started to sing…
‘Oats, Oats, ho hey ho hey,
Come and get them on this fine day’.
And sure enough, the lonely sheep was so happy to see Jack, she gratefully followed him through the gate, ate the oats, and ran to the other sheep with a loud Baa, Baa, Baaaa. When Jack took the empty bucket back to Mrs. Lee he also gave her the New Year’s cookies. 'Happy New Year’s Mrs. Lee,’ he said.
‘Why Jack, you are a fine and good boy! Thank you for your help,’ said Mrs. Lee.
By now Jack’s wagon was empty and he headed straight for home. ‘It must be time for our celebration now,’ he thought to himself. At home Mama had set the table for a special New Year’s Tea Party. Candles were lit, peppermint tea was hot in the pot, and the Blessing Cake sat on a pretty red plate. Jack and his Mama and Papa sat together.
‘It is time to welcome in a wonderful New Year,’ Mama said, as she cut a piece of cake for everyone. Jack took one bite, mmmmm, it was good spice cake. Then he took another bite. Aha, this bit had something hidden inside. It was his blessing stone. Every New Year’s Eve, Little Boy New Year gave mama perfect, small, smooth white stones, with a word written on it. Whatever word was in your piece of cake would tell you about your year to come. It was your own New Year’s blessing.
Jack looked down and read out his word. ‘Mama, it says kindness.’ Mama and Papa looked at each other and smiled. ‘That is the perfect blessing for you Jack, they said, ‘and have a Happy and Kind New Year!’
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