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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Stories for Younger Children
Mushroom Stew

Mushroom Stew

Gordon got up with the sun every morning and went to find mushrooms. He took a brown bag to put them in. Brown didn’t show up the dirt too much. One morning, early in the fall, he went out as usual. He walked up the hill, through the glen, into the woodlands, and crossed the meadow. “Where are all the mushrooms?” Gordon couldn’t see one of them anywhere. He splashed through the stream, ran into the pine forests and walked into the lowest valleys, but he still didn’t find one mushroom. Gordon didn’t know what to do. He sat down on a hollow log and cried. “I have to find some mushrooms. Oh what shall I do?” He wiped his tears away with his shirt sleeve.

A snail crawled past, going ever so slow. “Why are you crying, Gordon?”

He looked down at the snail. “I can’t find any mushrooms.”

“Why do you need mushrooms?” The snail inched its way closer.

“To make stew. Stew is no good without mushrooms,” Gordon complained.

A butterfly fluttered past and saw Gordon talking to the snail. “What’s the matter, Gordon? Why are you crying?”

“He can’t find any mushrooms,” the snail answered.

“Gordon, why do you need mushrooms?” The butterfly fluttered around him.

“To make stew. I can’t make stew without mushrooms,” Gordon sobbed.

“I’ll be right back,” the butterfly said and flew away. He came back a few minutes later. “I brought someone who might be able to help you.”

Gordon looked up. “Are you a witch?” He saw a woman in a green dress with a red apron and tall pointed hat.

“I’m Fiona, witch of the glen, but I’m a good witch. The butterfly tells me you can’t find any mushrooms. That’s my fault. I gathered them all last night to use in my potions and spells.”

“Did you pick them all?” Gordon looked at her pockets. They bulged. “Do you have all the mushrooms in your pockets?”

“No, silly boy. They are at my house in the forest. If you come with me, I’ll show you where you can find some,” Fiona said.

“Don’t go with her,” the snail said. “She’s a witch and she’ll turn you into a frog or something.”

“Silly snail. I don’t do things like that. Come with me, Gordon.” She led him deep into the forest. Growing all around her house were fat mushrooms.

“Wow! Look at all these. Can I pick them?” Gordon smiled.

“Yes, but there is one favor I ask of you in return?”

“Are you going to turn me into a toad?” Gordon shook.

“No. The favor I ask is that you cook a big pot of stew for me. Will you do that?” Fiona waited for his answer.

“I will. Can I cook it at your house and use these mushrooms?” Gordon laughed.

“Yes,” Fiona said. That night Fiona and Gordon feasted on stew and hot bread from her oven. The butterfly arrived in time to lick the bowls clean. The snail even came by, happy to see that Gordon hadn’t been turned into a frog.

From then on, Fiona only picked some of the mushrooms and left the others for Gordon. Once a week he went to her house in the forest and cooked her a pot of stew.

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