Written by Dugi Sol
An ocean of gold swayed with rhythm. Wheat fields stretched like the sun’s nurturing light across the land. Farmers left their cottages with tools prepared for harvest. They gazed at the crops in front of them with sunshine eyes. The harvest was religious to them. The vibrant golden wheat held a special place in their hearts. For generations and generations they worked that soil. To them, the wheat was art.
A small boy stood on the patio of his family’s cottage as his mother and father prepared for the harvest. He urged them to let him go, going into great detail about exactly why he was the ideal candidate for the task. They smiled at his initiative, but told him to stay home and spend time with the cat, Mrs. Mittens. He nodded and stepped back inside to find a way to spend his time. For a moment he laid in bed and pondered his options. Read? Not that day, he had just finished a brilliant series about a fisherman who never caught a single fish, but changed many lives with his wisdom. Perhaps he could work on the garden in the front yard? No, the plants had been recently pruned. The soil was rich and well-watered. Not a single weed could be found on the property either… There had to be a solution to his predicament…
A rumble erupted in the boy’s stomach. The sensation of hunger took hold in his gut. He looked outside and saw the sun burning in the center of the sky, lunch time. The pantries were almost dry and only a small serving of wheat flour remained. A fresh baked loaf of bread would have been the perfect meal, but the boy had never baked on his own. He had watched his parents bake day after day though… The family recipe was soaked into his mind. Feeling confident enough to not burn the house down, he decided to test his abilities. Baking was the family business after all so he saw this as an opportunity for him to brighten his shine. He pulled the necessary ingredients out of the pantry and set them on the counter. Wheat flour, yeast, salt, warm water, and honey. Of course honey. The boy clapped his hands and threw on a brown apron. In the corner of the room sat Mrs. Mittens, she was a black cat, but her paws were white like little baking mittens. Her eyes were wide open as well as her mouth. She dug her claws into her favorite blanket as she observed the scene unfold with caution. As the head chef of the kitchen, the boy began.
First off was the yeast, into a bowl of warm water et went. That was set to the side to activate. With a scoop, he retrieved the serving of flour and placed et into a clay bowl. The honey wouldn’t be needed until after the bread was baked, but he couldn’t resist eating a spoonful. While the yeast was activating he sat at his desk and drew a picture of the most beautiful loaf of bread he could imagine. The golden crust cracked just right, he could practically smell the aroma flowing from the page.
The yeast was ready, he poured the warm mixture into the flour bowl… A pinch of sea salt, there! Now to mix the ingredients. Mrs. Mittens eyes widened even more severely, her grip on the blanket tightened, the boy laughed.
“Relax Mittsy! I’ve watched Mama and Papa do this a million times!”, he said.
The statement did no use to relax the feline, she proceeded to observe with care. The boy stuck his hands into the bowl, a puff of flour boomed into the air leaving behind a light coating of flour dust on himself and the counter top. The tiniest speck of flour landed on Mrs. Mitten’s nose and she was not happy. She leaped backwards and hissed, secluding to a far away flower pot to observe from a distance.
“I’m sorry Mittsy! Gimme a chance, I’ll get the hang of et!”
The boy continued to mix the dough into one mass. With time and consistent kneading, he had an actual proper ball of dough in his little hands. A bright smile struck his face, he nearly dropped the dough from joyous anticipation. He wasted no time and placed the dough back into the bowl, covering et with a cloth to allow rising.
With the dough doing et’s magic in the darkness of the bowl, the boy approached Mrs. Mittens to see how she was faring.
He said, “I sorry Miss Mittsy, did you get a tiny little speck of flour on you little nose? Aww poor baby.”
He proceeded to give the kitten a hug, at first, she was still grumpy about the flour, but soon gave in and purred warmly.
With ample time to spare while the dough rose, the boy stepped outside into the fresh air. Mrs. Mittens followed not far behind. Just in front of their cottage there was a wide and slow river. The sun merged with the water creating a symphony of diamonds on et’s surface. The boy jumped into the clear rich water and laid afloat atop et’s surface, allowing his ears to submerge so he could hear the river’s mystic song. Beams of sunshine revealed themselves underneath the river’s surface, a reminder to the fish that the sun saw them even down below. The boy just about fell asleep as he rested for a good while under the warm sun, but Mrs. Mitten’s promptly reminded him of his duties as she leaped onto his chest, startling him.
He rushed back into the kitchen to check on the dough. To his best interest the dough had nearly doubled in size! With two arms full of kindle wood he began starting up the wood-fire oven. Mrs. Mittens decided that flames were more than she was willing to handle. She jumped onto the window seal in case a quick escape was necessary, risking no chance of her well-groomed fur catching fire.
“Come on Mittsy! Have a little faith!”, said the boy as he lit the fire and a warm amber glow beamed on his face.
The oven reached just the right toasty hot temperature. He shoveled the dough into the oven with his parent’s peel tool, plopping et down onto the hot stone surface. Mrs. Mittens was crouching as she watched, waiting any second to have to sprawl for survival, narrowly escaping an inferno. The boy remained at the oven’s door, admiring the smooth round loaf that he had so carefully crafted. The heat coated the bread, soaking et in warmth. The dough began to rise, the smell was something straight from heaven. The outer dough began to harden from heat, as the raw dough beneath grew broader, the crust above cracked open in the most beautiful way. Brilliant canyons of cracked crust decorated the loaf, the process was complete. The final product was identical to what the boy had envisioned in his drawing.
In through the door came the boy’s Mother and Father with sweat on their brows and heavy sacks of flour in their arms.
The father took a deep breath, “What a heavenly smell! Oh my I know the smell of bread baked by an expert. Oy sunny did you bake yourself some bread all by you lonesome? Well who taught you a thing like that? What a brilliant boy!”
The boy jumped up on a chair, threw his fist in the air and said, “Yea all by myself! I learned by watching you and Mama bake! I was real careful to not burn the house down also! Mrs. Mittens made sure I was extra double safe.”
The mother examined the loaf and said, “Why son this is just about the most amazing loaf of bread I’ve ever seen. You really have a knack for baking, don’t you? I’m so proud sweetie!”, she was just about to cut into the loaf but her son interrupted.
“Wait Mama, wait! There’s one thing I almost forgot!”, the boy rushed to the counter and picked up the jar then said, “We can’t forget the hoooooonnneeeeyyyy!!!”
The boy pulled a pastry brush from a drawer and dipped et into the jar of honey. He lathered a few strokes of raw honey onto the fresh baked loaf of bread so that et glistened like a brick of gold in sunshine. His mother proceeded to cut into the loaf, dividing et into three sections. The boy and his father wasted no time in grabbing their portions and taking a bite. Mrs. Mittens realized the danger had passed and greeted everyone with nuzzles and purrs.
Looking into one of the flour sacks the boy asked, “How did the harvest go?”
His father replied, “Et was bountiful! Thankfully there was a surplus of flour! Enough for you to become the master of your craft that you ought to be. With baking skills like this et’s high time you start up your own business. What do you think about that lad?”
The boy shouted, “Sounds great! I’ll be the best baker that ever lived!”, he held up his portion of bread like a priceless gem.
His mother said, “Yes you will son... You’ll do great things in your life.”