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Stephanie and the (Wina) Mop by Martin Green


Our four-year-old granddaughter Stephanie, who lives in Ireland (our son Chris moved there ten years ago), recently visited us. While Chris, a software architect, was fixing my wife’s laptop, which had become disconnected from our printer, Stephanie chased our shy cat Bun-Bun through the house and into my “computer” room. “Where’s Bun-Bun?” she asked. “I want to pet him.”

I looked around but he was nowhere to be seen. “Cats can make themselves disappear,” I told her.

“What’s that on your desk? It looks like a little mop.”

“It is.”

“Did Grandma give it to you to keep your room clean. It’s very messy.”

“No, Grandma didn’t give it to me. I wrote a story for a magazine called Winamop and the editor, Dave, sent it to me.”

“Why? Did he know your room was so messy?”

“No, it’s just something that he does.” I should mention here that Stephanie, in addition to being as cute as two bugs, maybe three, is also very smart and can carry on a conversation like an adult.

Stephanie frowned as if considering this strange practice. “If I wrote a story would Dave send me a little mop?”

“He might. What kind of story do you want to write?”

“A story about a princess.”

“Okay. Princess stories are always been good. How do you want to start it?”

“I don’t know.”

“How about this, Princess Stephanie was playing in her garden one day …”

“She has the same name as mine.”

“That’s right, she does. All right, she was playing in the garden and she saw a bunny.”

“I like bunnies.”

“This bunny ran away …”

“Just like Bun-Bun.”

“Yes. The bunny ran away into the forest. Princess Stephanie chased him. Then it got dark and she didn’t know how to get back home. What do you think happened next?”

“She saw a castle.”

“Who lived in the castle, a giant or a dragon?”

“A giant and a dragon.”

“Wow! Princess Stephanie went into the castle. She told the giant she was lost and asked him to help her find the way home. But the giant was grumpy because he had a cold so he said, “No, I’m going to put you in my dungeon.”

“I don’t like that giant.”

“Wait. Princess Stephanie said that he’d help her get back if she would send him a bowl of her mother’s chicken soup that would make his cold go away.”

“Good. My Mommy makes us chicken soup when we have a cold.”

“So the dragon showed Stephanie how to go through the forest to get back home. The Queen made a bowl of chicken soup. Princess Stephanie sent it to the giant and he wasn’t grumpy any more.”

“That’s a happy story. Do you think Dave will send me a mop?”

:Maybe. Wait a minute; I’ll give you this mop. You can take it back to Ireland with you.”

“I can clean my dollhouse with it. Do you think Dave will send you another mop?”

“Maybe. His magazine, Winamop, is celebrating its tenth anniversary so he should be feeling good.”

“Not grumpy like the giant. Oh, look, Granddad.”

Bun-Bun, as cats have a way of doing, had suddenly materialized from under my desk, where I’d looked before but hadn’t seen him. I held him still while Stephanie petted him. So, as Stephanie said, this story ended happily. She got to pet Bun-Bun and got to take the little mop back to Ireland. I lost the mop but instead got a photo of Stephanie, which I put on my desk, and that was even better.



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