Three Mothers

The Poor Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe

Poor old woman who lived in a shoe - she had so many children she didn't know what to do. Mind you, it was a pretty big shoe..more of a boot really and split level. Nethertheless with all those kids it got very crowded. Nor was she really that old - just prematurely old-looking from the burden of all those dependents.


Sadly, the people in the village resented her because she was a single mother...Why did she have so many children? they asked.


"Hasn't she heard of contraception?" the baker said contemptously.

"I've heard they all have different fathers" replied the candlestick maker snidely.


One day, the butcher's wife, carrying a fat pig, found her crying on a doorstep and asked what was the matter. The woman looked up at her with wet eyes and said weakly;

"I've got so many children...I don't know what to do. All my government aid has stopped because my youngest is now in school and I've had to go and get a job at the frozen pea factory. The kids are running riot and are neglected because I'm not there...five of them are crack addicts already."

"It's your own fault" the butcher's wife replied firmly. "You shouldn't have had all those children"

"Oh I know. I've been very foolish. I shouldn't have listened to Father O'Reilly and relied on the rhythm method...and I believed all those men when they said....well, never mind."

The butcher's wife grunted and averted her eyes.

"But it's not my children's fault I've been stupid" the woman continued..."why should they suffer...?"

Reflecting for a moment, the butcher's wife rubbed her chin and said sombrely, "That's just the way it is" and walked away with her pig.


The old woman (who was really only 32) went home feeling stressed and tired. The children scrambled all over her - squealing and making demands, so she gave them some broth without any bread, then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.



Old Mother Hubbard

Old Mother HUbbard was suffering from neglect. She had no food in the cupboard - not even a bone for the dog. Her ungrateful children were off forging careers in another state and what with the rising costs of fuel, food and services, her pension just didn't stretch far enough.


A proud woman, she went hungry for two days before she finally mustered up the spirit to visit the Salvation Army and plead for a food parcel - and then she only did it because she couldn't bear to watch the suffering in her dog's old brown eyes.


However, the food parcels weren't a long-time solution and it wasn't long before she was hungry again."Oh how I wished I'd had a career and paid into a superannuation scheme" she lamented.


The poor old woman had wanted to be there for her children, but when her husband ran off with an exotic dancer from a neighbouring village she was left without a penny. When her last child went off to college she tried to get a job but there was a recession on. No-one wanted a middle-aged, unskilled woman and she didn't have enough confidence in herself to overcome these obstacles.


"There's no money in motherhood" she was heard to mutter to herself as she snapped the lead on to the collar of her loyal companion and headed out for the Salvation Army again.


Mother Goose

Mother Goose had six children and twelve grandchildren. She once had a career as an air hostess, but had to retire early as the airline wasn't too keen on *women of a certain age*.


For a time she looked after her grandchildren while their parents worked and although she didn't have quite the patience for it and found it very tiring - she did it with a good grace. However even her grandchildren grew up and when that happened, she didn't know what to do with herself . So she became a writer.


Her forte was short pithy rhymes for children which she self-published through the internet. She wrote about people she knew, like her friend Mrs Hubbard and that poor woman who lived in the shoe.


While at first she didn't make any money, after a time..quite a long time...years in fact...her work began to catch on. Not that she cared that much about the money, as, owing to some fortuitous real estate investments and careful financial management, the Gooses were quite comfortably off.


Eventually, people starting linking to her quirky little poems and she found her work being twittered about and popping up on various facebook pages. There were even some YouTube clips where people had done cover versions of her rhymes. The whole thing snowballed to such a degree that entrepeneurs paid her large sums of money to fly around the world and give live recitals.


In Switzerland she met a top plastic surgeon who took years of her appearance and now her photographs were much in demand in the tabloid press. They appeared under headlines like World's Sexiest Grandmother and Mother Goose caught in Love Nest. Even though it wasn't true Mr. Goose got quite upset and it caused a serious rift between them.


So she ran of with a young unemployed gander and lived happily ever after (which wasn't very long because she was pretty old) in a pleasant little villa in the South of France.


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Comments 52 comments

Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

Funny, beautiful, brilliant, scathing, insightful, elegant, clever - your mother will be proud!I clicked every button and would have liked to have more buttons to click, Jane.

I loved this very much. thank you!


North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now)

I enjoyed this very much! I could see the stories linking back to the nursery rhymes.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

This was clever and funny, Jane, and very creative. Do hope you were able to get signed releases from all these Mothers before publishing. Wouldn't want them to sue.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Docmo, thanks for that very undeserved, but lovely praise! Y'know, I thought about doing fairytales but there's hardly any real mothers to be found in them- only step-mothers and wicked witches. Strange.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Thanks for blowing in North Wind!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Very good point drbj....thanks. I'd better call my lawyer asap.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 5 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Very creative. I loved it.


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Brilliant work,i like it


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Jane great work and an awesome idea! Loved it and voted up up up..:)


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Interesting view on mothers! Why do the children have to suffer? Ungrateful little rug rats.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

YOU have made me smile Thank you :-)


Terry.Hirneisen profile image

Terry.Hirneisen 5 years ago from Shenandoah Valley

Funny! Novel approach! Voted UP!


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Love it...

Is this your revenge against political correctness ?

So where next... a tale of a golden haired female who didn't care whose bed she slept in ?

Or off to the woods where a young maid runs away from home to live with seven deformed men !


Julie2 profile image

Julie2 5 years ago from New York City

I loved it! You have made three characters I grew up on interesting and so real. Brilliant!


Joshua Kell profile image

Joshua Kell 5 years ago from Arizona

I THOUGHT IT WAS AWESOME! LOVED IT, THANKS.


Loveslove profile image

Loveslove 5 years ago from England

Great...loved it well done


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

rmcrayne...thanks very much


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

crystalite..thanks!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Susan...much appreciated. Thankyou.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Lol Austin...she should have sold them off for scientific experiments!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hi De Greek...well you've made ME smile plenty of times! Thanks for reading.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Terry..thankyou. I really appreciate that.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Merlin, thanks...the possibilities are endless!! Have you ever read Prince Cinders? The feminist version of Cinderella...it's great actually.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Thankyou Julie...you know, I met some kids recently who have never heard of Hansel and Gretel. I couldn't believe that.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hi Joshua...thankyou. It's lovely to have you back.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Thanks Loveslove!


Julie2 profile image

Julie2 5 years ago from New York City

Jane, sad to say but I believe it! It isn't the same way as our generation growing up. We were brought up on all of those stories. We didn't have all of this technology to occupy our minds. We actually used our imagination.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Julie,

It is a pity. For one thing they're not going to get all those Shrek references!

I know some scientists believe young brains are actually being changed (..rewired) because of technology.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

well, Jane, always hard to know where to put the blame. The woman who lived in the shoe not only messed up her life but kept on doing it.

It is hard to come to grips with THAT kind of stupidity.

The men are of course also to blame.

The pope of 1964 could have done right by accepting forms of contraception for his people that actually do work but he didn't. There was stupidity there too.

Old mother Hubbard you can feel sorrier for and of course the dog.


Mike Marks profile image

Mike Marks 5 years ago

Jane, I join the praisers.... excellent tales with good messages from the economy to sticking it out as a hub writer... I think it may be tricky to put up socalled fiction pieces as Hubs and get away with it, but you succeeded...

I had sent years tryin to write an essay on how existence exists and creation began etc but the simplicity of the source kept escaping me as I tried writing it as a piece adult and sophisticated in its philosophy, religion and science... until a couple of weeks ago, when I was scheded to do some live reading to children, I rewrote it as a children's story and found just the context of simplicity the piece needed, and that simplicity actually makes it more comprehensibvle and accurate in what I was trying to communicate...

...decades ago in 1980 I was going to package some new mythology I was writing because I just thought the title 19 A.D. was cool, but by 1981 the title was already stale.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Rod, The Old Woman in the Shoe always reminds me of that scene from The Meaning of Life..."Every Sperm is Sacred".

I'm sure many people would see her as a member of the 'undeserving poor'. Maybe she had a low IQ and/or was peculiarly naive and uneducated. She did screw up her life but her children were victims of circumstance. Just as well she's only a nursery rhyme...;)


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hi Mike,

Nice to see you. How frustrating about 19 AD!

Your writing project sounds very ambitous and I can well imagine how complex and difficult it could easily become. It makes sense that it might work really well in a less convoluted form. That sounds like a real breakthrough.Sometimes the simple things ARE best.

Good luck with it.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Yes, I know what you mean. It makes me want to chew on wood and spit chips when I think of how crowded this planet is getting. Monty Python humor can really bite hard. It is the best. Now if only enough people get the picture. The pope of the day got it wrong in '64 and a lot of Catholics are still stuck.

Undeserving poor is right! Low IQ or poorly educated sounds correct.

Yes, her children are victims of circumstance and even if they have the brains they might not have the education to break out of the vicious cycle this idiot has put them into.

Yes, just as well she is only a nursery rhyme though there was an idiot woman on A Current Affairs a few years ago with ten children. I would have been happy to have seen her boiled in oil from what she had done to both her children and to the future of our world.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I recently watched that Dick Smith documentary on population growth in Australia and how we are already stressing out our resources. It is pretty scary stuff.

Oh, and the woman will 10 kids I have mentioned, well, there were 9 fathers. She wasn't and isn't the most responsible person in the world and social services have had to take up a lot of the slack for her.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Rod, I'm with you on population control...not 100 % sure about the undeserving poor bit though. There's already too much judgementalism and meanness about who *deserves* financial help and who doesn't. If she's an idiot she can't help it can she?

"Boiled in oil"..lol, that's a little harsh! Although I can't imagine why anyone would want to have ten children. Overall I don't hink ove-large families are a problem in Australia but in those coutries where it tis,perhaps there sohuld be government incentives to dissuade people from having less...eg; bonuses for small families etc. In terms of social policy, I'm more in favour of the carrot than the stick.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Pardon me for all those sloppy typos...jeeze.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I didn't criticize anyone for typos sloppy or otherwise. Not sure I am game to anyway. They sneak into everyone's work and I won't claim to be immune to those particular gremlins. Sorry if you thought I was or would ever criticize you in that direction.

Well I am probably being harsh but when I checked out that Dick Smith documentary I guess I got a little steamed at people not taking responsibility for themselves and their planet.

Check out the Murray-Darling area. Even with all the rain of late it is still a basket case from over use of river water for food production. There is a rising salt problem on farms in NSW and Victoria that is pretty bad.

Will we be able to continue to feed the population we have right now? Well throughout Australia only 6% of the land is good agricultural land and it is shrinking, not growing. How will we cope in 2020 with a much larger population?

Bonuses for small families sounds like a good idea here and elsewhere.

Don't be fooled by the size of Australia. Much of our country is desert.

I think the carrot does work better most of the time. Sometimes you are just so tempted to use the stick when someone is being incredibly stupid.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Rod,

It's okay to get steamed..;) God knows, overall we have made a mess of the Planet. I understand about Australia not being able to sustain a large population...but still, we have a low birthrate already, even compared to other developed nations.

Having said that...I too, wouldn't like to see our population get too much higher. What we have to do is stop consuming so much and sucking up reseources.Relative to our small population, we leave a huge carbon footprint.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I think we need time to put together a new game plan so our carbon footprint can get smaller. Population increase will lose us this precious time we very much need.

Our birthrate has gone up over the last five years to being comparable with that of England. That is fair enough.


speedbird profile image

speedbird 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Nice hub, keep up the good working you are doing. Voted UP and rated FUNNY


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Rod..I agree but look how the public has reacted to the carbon tax? Labour apparently is at an all time low..polls wise....and a large chunk of the opposition thinks climate change is crap.

I didn't realise our birthrate had risen. How did that happen..


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Thankyou speedbird and Brdlwh...appreciate the comments.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Our birthrate went up in part due to the baby bonus.

The carbon tax won't hit the big polluters so it hasn't much of a chance of being popular. Even if the big companies do get hit they'll just pass the cost onto consumers. We are about to face a really cold winter and it is understandable why the little guy or gal should be frightened.

Government projects advancing alternative power and providing companies with incentives would be better. As you have said before the carrot often wins over the stick. Population increase just gives us less time to get our act together.


Lee B profile image

Lee B 5 years ago from New Mexico

So enjoyed reading your hub and all the comments that followed, though I got a little lost at the end!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Ah, the baby bonus...yes.See the carrot does work!

Rod, I don't know about the carbon tax..yes I agree the big polluters are the one's who need to get hit...and of course, it has to be global. Somehow it all seems too little, too late. I suspect Prof.Fenner is right.

That shouldn't be an excuse to do nothing though.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Lee..thanks and nice to see you. Haha...and watch out for the Big Bad Wolf on your way home!


JohnBarret profile image

JohnBarret 5 years ago

Oh wow, you really did an awesome job.


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

This (these?) is such an excellent story, I read every word and enjoyed each one. If only we had been told these stories at our mothers' knees. I looked on you HubPage profile to find out more about you and your life, but was sadly disapointed. I'll just have to imagine that you are Mother Goose and, like me, living in France.


Lee B profile image

Lee B 5 years ago from New Mexico

Too late!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Ah...;)


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Johnbarret, thanks very much.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Les Trois Chenes..haha, no such luck! I'm more like Mother Hubbard..but I live in hope. Thankyou for the comment.

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