Bess put her hands on her son’s shoulders. “Aye, yer be a man now, Frank. We kin use anither set o' workin' hands. Noo haste ye tae th' back garden ’n’ help th' bairns bring in some neeps fer supper.”
Frank glanced over at his older sister Jeannie, who was darning socks by the small front window. He waved in greeting as he picked up his shoes and headed out back, following his mother as she headed back to the scullery.
Maggie and Lill were kneeling in the garden, laughing and chatting. But instead of digging out turnips, they were busy making mud pies in the rain.
“Och, Mammy’s gonnae be crabbit fer sure,” said Frank as he peered into the nearly empty wicker basket between them. “Luik at ye! All mud ’n’ mess, ’n’ nae neeps! Git tae it, lassies. I’ll help ye.”
Frank knelt and started digging out turnips, knocking the mud off them and placing them in the basket. His example settled the young girls down and encouraged them to tend to the small harvest. The rain was starting to come down harder, and by the time the three of them had enough turnips for the nine people who would be sharing supper, they were soaked to the skin and shivering. Even so, they stood in the rain, rubbing the mud off of their knees before they came in, taking off their muddy shoes and rinsing them in the rain before they set them by the back door.
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