5. Laboriously, with a double cotton, the little girl stitched three sides. But what to fill it with? That was the question. The grandmother was out in the garden, and she wandered into Mother’s bedroom to look for scraps. On the bed-table she discovered a great many sheets of fine paper, gathered them up, tore them into tiny pieces, and stuffed her case, then sewed up the fourth side.
That night there was a hue and cry in the house. Father’s great speech for the Port Authority had been lost. Rooms were searched; servants questioned. Finally Mother came into Kezia’s room.
“Kezia, I suppose you didn’t see some papers on a table in our room?”
“Oh yes,” she said, “I tore them up for my surprise.”
“What!” screamed Mother. “Come straight down to the dining-room this instant.”
Kezia was pleased to make a birthday present for her father as it was a way to impress him. She decided to make a pin-cushion just like her grandmother had instructed her. She worked really hard. A pin cushion is usually made so that one can easily spot their pins. It proves as a safe space for the pins. The cushion is usually stuffed with some solid stuff for the pins to stand erect. When women used them mostly to store their pins, men used them as a collection, similar to stamp collection or coin collection. The pin-cushion is often covered with wool, cotton or saw-dust.
Kezia made the outer layer of the cushion with the satin cloth her grandmother gave. But she was confused about what to fill it up with. In order to make the pin-cushion complete, she had to sew the fourth side. Once she sews it up, she cannot open it, and therefore it was necessary for her to fill it up before she does so. She goes in search for an appropriate thing to fill, to her mother's room. Kezia could not take help from her granny as she was in the garden. She finds many sheets of paper on the bedside. She considers as scraps as she is just a little girl who does not know the importance of such sheets. She happily tears them up and fills them in the cushion and sews it up.
Little girl tears all the paper
That night Kezia heard cries and sound from downstairs, as her father's speech papers for the Port Authority were missing. He would be in trouble if he did not find the papers. Every member in the house took to searching it in all the rooms available. Every servant was questioned. Finally, the mother comes into Kezia's room. She has no idea of her daughter's little surprise and asks her very hesitantly if she had seen the papers. She least expected Kezia to say that she tore it all up for the surprise that she wanted to make for her father. Kezia is in fact proud and happy about it, as little didn't know the consequences of her action. Her mother gets shocked beyond belief that she orders Kezia to come downstairs and admit her mistake immediately.
Words with difficult meaning:
|Sew||To stitch two pieces of cloth|
|Scraps||Tiny bits of paper or cloth|
|Hesitant||Slow to take a step|
|Consequence||The result of doing something|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. The Little Girl - Katherine Mansfield (pp.32-35). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.