Jack and Sam – The Mice at Work: Threading the Needle by Helen Beatrix Potter

The Mice at Work: Threading the Needle by Helen Beatrix Potter (Via Tate)

‘Mummy! What are you doing?’
‘Shush! Get back in there and go back to sleep, set a good example for your brother’ said Ms Mariela thoughtfully. You could tell she was talking while doing something meticulously. She had been concentrating on putting the thread through the eye of the needle for a little while and had become aggravated by the situation.
‘We can help you!’
‘We are not tired!’ Jack appeared from behind his big brother Sam.
Without turning her head back to the two boys, the mother closed her eye to concentrate better, while simultaneously holding the needle higher in the air. And she calmly replied: ‘Boys, can you smell cooked apples?’
The boys raised their tiny noses from left to right, and then right to left while agitating their whiskers.
‘Oh yes! What is it Mummy? Did you make a pie?!’
‘Pie!’ exclaimed Jack still hiding behind Sam.
‘That’s right’. ‘Ah! I missed it again’ ‘That’s right boys, I am afraid you can only have the pie if you get enough rest this afternoon. Now go back to bed. ‘.

Ms Mariela was a determined mummy. She had planned to finish that one last stitch which would complete the blanket/cover for her friend, Ms Bellita.
Ms Bellita was Ms Mariela’s long-time friend. Since last winter she had taken care of her, as Ms Bellita had caught a cold and had never seemed to recover from it. Dr Rabalo had come from the neighbouring village to check on Ms Bellita’s health, but he had not been able to cure the woman. She lived alone a couple of trees away from Ms Mariela, her children having left her for the big city of the country, and her husband had unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago .
Their voices echoed, sending their laughter back to the edge of the forest. Both could spend entire afternoons sipping tea and recounting memories from their past. Ms Bellita loved to hear about Jack and Sam’s latest mischievousness. She had come to adore the boys as if they were her own.

After a couple of attempts to divert their mother from sending them back to bed, the two brothers gave up. Sam looked back at his little brother, signalling to him that it was hopeless, they would have to nap until five.