Counting the Blades of Grass by Emma Jochum

This is a nice house. Mummy said we are staying here the whole month! “For the air,” she says. Mummy says we all need to get air. I don’t know what she means, nanny says we need air to breathe and I’ve never had trouble breathing before.

Daddy sent me outside to see the garden because it is “something to behold” and he wasn’t wrong! This can’t be a garden, it’s too big! It has to be a field, as big as our street in London! Look at all the lovely grass! Oh, I want to touch it so! I wonder how much there is? I’m sure Mummy and Daddy won’t mind if I sit and count. I’m in my play dress after all and this is a holiday. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11…..

 

87, 88, 89, 90, 91…No I don’t want to come inside and eat lunch, Mummy! I’m busy. Please go away! If you keep me much longer I will loose count! 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97…..

 

122, 123, 124, 125, 126….Mummy has gone to get Daddy, “impossible” I’m being. Pah! Daddy will understand, he likes to count. 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132….

 

157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162…Don’t be silly Daddy, I’m not hungry. I’m counting the grass and enjoying the air. Yes, you may bring out a plate, but I don’t know if I will get time to eat it, I have a lot of grass to go. 163, 164, 165, 166….I knew Daddy would understand. 167, 168, 169, 170, 171…..

 

235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240….. Mummy and Daddy are back from their walk around the grounds. I hope they got plenty of air…241, 242, 243….Of course I’m pulling up the grass. How else will I keep account of where I’ve been, Mummy? 244, 245, 246, 247…why is she getting upset? Daddy says that at least I’m sitting still and not bothering anyone. “The grass will grow back.” Thank you Daddy, he knows that I must do this. 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254….

 

604, 604, 604, 604…..They’re dragging me in kicking and screaming. No, I don’t want supper! 604, 604, 604, 604, 604…I’ll loose count… 604, 604…I don’t care if it will be there tomorrow! There will be more grass tomorrow! I’ll never get done! 604, 604, 604, 604, 604, 604, 604, 604.

 

604, 604, 604…. I’m eating my supper now. 604, 604, 604…They spanked me, they actually spanked me! 604, 604….I thought daddy understood….604….oh well, I’ll eat my supper like the good girl that I am, 604, they can’t keep their eyes on me the whole night, 604, 604, 604….I just have to make sure that I don’t loose count. 604, 604, 604, 604, 604……..

604, 604, 604, 604….Mummy and Daddy have gone to bed at last, 604, they didn’t even lock my window, 604, I bet Daddy left it unlocked on purpose. I knew he understood! 604, 604…he must have just been pretending before to appease Mummy. She can be soo difficult. I’m glad Daddy wants me to finish counting the grass, 604, 604, 604, 604. That must be why my room is so near the tall tree, 604, he planned for me to be able to finish counting after Mummy has gone to bed so she won’t bother me…604, 604, 604

604, 604, 604, Daddy could have made the tree closer, I must say! I tried to jump from my window and the tree was too far! I barely landed on a branch but it broke, 604, 604, 604, 604. My ankle hurts, but I can still get to where I left my place, 604, 604. Yes! I see the pile ahead, 604, 604, 604, 604, 604…

 

 

1245, 1246, 1247, 1248, 1249, 1250, 1251, 1252… at last, the sun is coming up! At last I can see how far I’ve gotten besides the number in my head. My ankle still hurts and my eyes are burning but it doesn’t matter, my pile is getting big. 1253, 1254, 1255, 1256….

No, NO, NO! You can’t take me away! I’m not finished! 1398, 1398, 1398, 1398, 1398. PUT ME DOWN DADDY! I THOUGHT YOU UNDERSTOOD! NOOO!! 1398, 1398, 1398, 1398, 1398! I’LL LOOSE MY PLACE! 1398, 1398, 1398, 1398…

1398, 1398, 1398, 1398, Now that stupid country doctor says my foot is broken. How would he know? 1398, 1398, 1398, because that is where I was when they took me inside! I can’t loose my place or I’ll have to start all over! 1398, 1398, 1398, 1398, 1398.

1398, 1398, 1398, 1398, I can’t hear what the Doctor and Mummy are talking about, but I don’t like it. I can’t sneak in for a closer look because of this stupid dressing on my foot. Luckily, I don’t need it to count the grass. I can just sit, 1398, in that lovely country sun and count all day, well, half the day, 1398, 1398, 1398, if they would just leave me alone and let me go back outside. 1398, 1398, 1398, 1398.

1398, 1398, 1398, ….the pile is gone…the brown patch is gone. All the grass is back! I’ve only been gone for three hours! Daddy’s had a hand in this! Both he and Mummy are too busy talking to that ignorant doctor to notice me crawling outside, but he wasn’t inside before… I’ll have to start over…I’m going to cry…Why don’t they understand? I hurt, I’m so tired, and now I have to start over…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7….

38, 39, 40, 41…Mummy, NO! STOP! I’m already so far behind…41, 41, 41…..But look there! Mummy has blades of grass on her! She must just want me to keep counting from inside so I don’t hurt myself anymore. At last she understands. 42, 43, 44..Why are you screaming, Mummy? Don’t you want all that grass gone from your head? You always hate it when I bring a mess into the house? 45, 46, Stop holding me away! I can’t reach you! Why are you locking me in my room? Daddy, why? 46, 46, 46, … Mummy and Daddy have blocked my window and I don’t know what to do…46, 46, 46…I can hear them talking outside about another doctor… 46, 46, 46, 46,

46, 46, 46, Look, LOOK! In the mirror there! I have grass all over me, how did it get in my hair? 46, 46, that must be why Mummy and Daddy put me in here, to keep me from making a mess. That’s ok, I’ll just make a tidy pile so they won’t fuss. 47, 48, 49, 50…

1013, 1014, 1015, 1016, 1017… Daddy has come in with my dinner, 1018, what do you mean ‘What I have done with my hair?’ I’m getting the grass out…1019, 1020…stop holding my hands, I was so close to getting back to where I was, and you have grass on your head now too. 1020, 1020, 1020…..

1020,1020, 1020, 1020, 1020….Daddy has restrained me to my bed. 1020, 1020, 1020…Mummy is crying and now Daddy is yelling at someone on the telephone. 1020, 1020, 1020….

1020, 1020, 1020… some men are here, have they come to talk Daddy into letting me go? One of them is really nice, 1020, 1020, 1020…he has a long grey beard and he understands, it was so good of him to listen to my side of the story, 1020, 1020, 1020… it’s the number that I stopped at sir, I don’t want to loose my place again…1020, 1020, 1020… yes it is very frustrating. Because it needs to be counted, Sir… 1020, 1020… there is a place where I can finish counting the grass! And Mummy and Daddy can’t interfere? 1020, 1020, 1020… yes please…1020, 1020, 1020….

507, 508, 509, 510, 511….I really like this place, I can count all the grass I like. It is so green here, even greener than at the house! 512, 513, 514, 515… The nice man, Doctor Spanner says that Mummy and Daddy can come and see me soon and they will be so proud of all the grass I will have counted. 516, 517, 518…and there won’t even be a mess, I know Mummy doesn’t like it, that is why they helped me get rid of all the grass on my head, now I only have to focus on the grass in the garden. 519, 520, 521, 522…Here comes one of those nice ladies. She says that it’s time to go inside for a bit, but she has a paper and a pencil so I can write down where I left off…522… and now I can go inside and see Doctor Spanner, he says he has something that can help me with counting the grass! I wonder how much there is left to count?

255, 256, 257, 258, 259….I really like this place, I can count all the grass I like. It is so green here, even greener than at the house! 260, 261, 262, 263… The nice man, Doctor Spanner says that Mummy and Daddy can come and see me soon and they will be so proud of all the grass I will have counted. 264, 265, 266…and there won’t even be a mess, I know Mummy doesn’t like it, that is why they helped me get rid of all the grass on my head, now I only have to focus on the grass in the garden. 267, 268, 269, 270, 271…Here comes one of those nice ladies. She says that it’s time to go inside for a bit, but she has a paper and a pencil so I can write down where I left off…271… and now I can go inside and see Doctor Spanner, he says he has something that can help me with counting the grass! I wonder how much there is left to count?

601, 602, 603, 604….I really like this place, I can count all the grass I like. It is so green here, even greener than at the house! 605, 606, 607, 608… The nice man, Doctor Spanner says that Mummy and Daddy can come and see me soon and they will be so proud of all the grass I will have counted. 609, 610, 611, 612…and there won’t even be a mess, I know Mummy doesn’t like it, that is why they helped me get rid of all the grass on my head, now I only have to focus on the grass in the garden. 613, 614, 615, 616…Here comes one of those nice ladies. She says that it’s time to go inside for a bit, but she has a paper and a pencil so I can write down where I left off…616… and now I can go inside and see Doctor Spanner, he says he has something that can help me with counting the grass! I wonder how much there is left to count?

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