Tracey lifted the saucepan from the hob and ladled a generous portion into Bobby’s plate.

“Oh Mum, not porridge again,” said Bobby, wrinkling his freckled nose.

Tracey patted him on the shoulder. “Just let it cool a bit and I’ll pour some milk over it. I’ll get some honey for you. You’d like that.”

The boy stared morosely at the plate. “Haven’t we got any Coco Pops, Mum?”

“No. You had the last of them yesterday.”

Tracey sat down opposite her son. “Bobby, do you know how difficult it is to harvest your porridge?”

“What do you mean, Mum?”

“Well, first they have to plant the porridge trees as little saplings, baby trees, then they have to be protected.”

“Why? I’ve never heard of porridge trees.”

“Well, porridge trees are very delicate and mustn’t get too cold, or too hot for that matter, or they will wither and die.”

“Then, when they have grown into bigger saplings they have to be protected against creatures like rabbits or deer, who love the bark.”

Bobby looked at his mother. “Bark? Do porridge trees bark?”

“No, silly, it’s what goes round the trunk of the saplings. If it gets eaten the tree would die.”

“Oh, I see.”

Tracey smiled. “Then, when the tree is bigger it bears blossoms, then the porridge fruit appears and the grower has to put cages round them to protect the fruit from birds who love their porridge. It makes them strong and lets them fly faster, because it’s so good for them.”

Tracey leaned forward across the table. “Then we get to the hard job of harvesting.”


“Yes, because the tree is very thorny, and the fruit pickers have to be very careful not to get caught up in the thorns. Then the fruit goes to the factory to be turned into what lucky boys get to eat for their breakfast.” She poured a large spoonful of honey over Bobby’s porridge, stirred it in and followed it with a generous portion of milk.

Bobby looked up. “Mum?”

“Yes, Bobby?”

“I’d much rather have some Coco Pops.”

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    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    8 months ago

    A fun, comical read, Allan. Perhaps proof that children cannot be hoodwinked.

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    8 months ago

    This is so funny, Allan! I like all the little interesting details around the porridge tree as much as I love the last line where we are back to square one. Very clever! Did you make it up or was there a mother with that wonderful way to entertain her child?

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    8 months ago

    It is a very fun read, Allan. Nicely done.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Allan Neil
    8 months ago

    You’re welcome, Allan. Sorry for the delayed reply due to weather condition here in Mindanao that slow down the internet connection and damage the electricity post.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    8 months ago

    Although I do enjoy the occasional bowl of porridge, I’m with Bobby any day; pass the Coco Pops!

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