Copyright© 2011 by Pedant
Dad wasn't amused when he picked us up, but I let Rachel do the narrating as an innocent bystander and he was chuckling when he let us off at home.
"Be tactful when you tell your mothers," he advised. "But tell it all. And make sure you tell Rob. You can handle lunch, right?"
"Okay. I'll be back about 1730 or 1800."
Rob was home, so we told him the whole tale, again. He chuckled, too. "Your mothers will be horrified and aghast," he said. "But I understand. And you've both been under a lot of pressure. Rachel must be concerned about her grandparents and about what will happen at Perth College. You must have been stressed about Rachel's being away. And you've had other problems at that school, haven't you?"
"Yes. Even before. But Mr. Simmonds is especially – unh – annoying. And I can't do anything, because it's the only Six."
"Right. You know I've had problems, too."
"Yes. That's why you're here."
"Yes. I was very happy with Mary. Happy for over ten years. But she's gone." He paused. "There's nothing I can do about it. So ... I've got to deal with it." When does school begin, Pat?"
"When is it over?"
"That's over six hours. Minus lunch and recess and gym, I suppose."
"Yes." I saw where he was going.
"Maybe 25 hours a week for about 24 more weeks?"
"Probably a bit less."
"Under 600 hours."
"I guess so."
"You'll live through it. Especially now that Rachel's here. You'll help Pat live through Mr. Simmonds, won't you?"
"'Precautionary admonition'? That's what you said?"
We went into the kitchen to fix something to eat. I felt a lot better. Dad had thought it was funny and Rob seemed supportive. As Dad said, we only had the mothers to worry about.
Rachel said: "I know a Japanese story!"
"Can you tell it to us?" asked Rob.
Once upon a time, Grandfather and Grandmother lived somewhere. They were very poor. Grandfather decided to go to the city to sell some hats, because they wanted to eat mochi [a cake made with glutinous rice flour] on New Year's day.
Grandfather took five hats which they had made and left for the city. Grandfather walked in snow.
Grandfather offered the five hats. But nobody bought any. Grandfather was obliged to go home.
On his way home, Grandfather saw six stone statues of Jizo. Grandfather gave the five hats to them. All six stone statues of Jizo couldn't wear hats because Grandfather had only five hats. So Grandfather gave the apron that he was wearing to one of the stone statues of Jizo.
Grandfather reached his house and told grandmother of today's occurrence. After they had gone to sleep, they heard a loud noise. They saw six stone statues of Jizo carrying a lot of things. There were many gifts in front of their house.