Bill's Little Girl

Bill was thirty when his wife died, and little Minna was four. Bill's carpenter shop was in the yard of his house, so he thought that he could keep house for Minna and himself. All day while he worked in his shop, she played in the yard, and when he had to be absent for a few hours, the woman next door looked after her. Bill could cook a little, coffee and bacon and fried potatoes and pancakes. When the woman next door said this was not the food for four-year olds, he asked her to teach him to cook oatmeal and vegetables, and though he always burned the dishes in which he cooked these things, he cooked them every day. He swept, all but the corners and he dusted every object; and he said that after he had cleaned the windows he could not see throgh them as weel as he could before. He washed and mended Minna's little dresses and mended her doll. He found a cat for her to play with.When she was old enough to go to school, Bill took her there every morning and called for her in the afternoon. Once he dressed himself in his best clothes and went to visit the school. But he could not understand the coloured paper and the designs and the games, and he did not go there again.Minna was six when Bill fell ill. On a May afternoon he went to a doctor. When he came home, he sat in his shop for a long time and did nothing. The sun was shining throgh the window in bright squares. He was not going to get well. The doctor had told him that he would be dead in six months.He could heard that Minna was singing to her doll which he had mended for her.When she came to kiss him that night, he made an excuse, for he must never kiss her now. He looked in her eyes and said: "Minna's a big girl now, she doesn't want father to kiss her." But her lips curled and she turned away sad, so that next day Bill went to another doctor to make sure. The other doctor made him sure.He tried to think what to do. He had a sister in Nebraska, but she was a tired woman. His wife had a brother in the city, but he was a man of many words. And little Minna... there were things known to her which he himself did not know - matters of books and pictures and the words of songs. He wished that he could hear of somebody who would understand her. And he had only six months. Then the neighbour told him that he ought not to have the child there, and him coughing as he was. And he knew that he had to decide.That day he spent in the shop. It was summer and Minna was playing in the yard. He could hear the words of her songs. He cooked their supper and while she ate, he watched. When he had put her to bed, he stood in the dark, hearing her breathing. "I'm a little girl tonight - kiss me," she had said, but he shook his head. "A big girl, a big girl," he told her.One whole night he thought. Then he advertised in a newspaper."A man with a few months to live would like nice people to adopt his little girl, six, blue eyes, curls. References required."

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    • Yeah, beautiful and sad...
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