Cast No Stones

Rock throwing Mama (1)I loved stories about my Grandma Lizzie and the brothers who flanked her on either side, Clarence and Ed. They grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the late 1890s to early 1900s.  Grandma often complained that “Mama didn’t care what we did as long as she didn’t have to put up with us.”  However, in this one tale, told in Lizzie’s words, she appeared to have cared very much.

“Mama was making Clarence a fine new coat.  He was the oldest, two years older than me.  Ed was two years younger.  I guess we must have been about nine, seven, and five when this happened.  Well, anyway, Ed was mad because Clarence was getting a new coat and he was getting Clarence’s old one.  Clothes were always handed down from the big kid to the little ones.  There wasn’t money to get new things just because you felt like it.  Mama was still working on the coat; it needed buttons and buttonholes.  She had hung it on a chair back one night to finish it the next day.  We were out playing when we hear Mama calling us, mad as a hornet.  When we got to the house, Mama was in the back door, holding that coat up, shaking it at us!  It was muddy and had a big three cornered tear in the elbow of one sleeve!

‘Clarence, you little devil!  I’m gonna tear you up!  You got this coat out and ruined it before I even got it finished!

Shocked, Clarence defended himself, ‘Mama, I didn’t.  I never touched it. I’ve been outside all day!”

‘Then who did?  It didn’t tear itself up?  Did one of you other kids get this coat out and mess it up?  I know it didn’t tear itself and jump in the mud!’

‘No, Ma’am!’  Three more innocent kids never breathed.  Quizzing them again and again, they all stuck to their story, offering up protests of innocence.

In a spark of genius, she came up with a solution.  ‘Come out here with me.’  Lining the three up in the yard, she took a step back and picked up a big rock.  ‘I’ll just have to give you a test.  I’m going to throw this rock. Stand as still as you can.  Don’t worry, if you are telling the truth, it won’t hit you.  It will only hit the one who is telling me a story.’  With this, she drew her arm back as if to throw.  Clarence and Lizzie stood straight and tall, confident of their innocence.  Little Ed ducked and was caught in his lie.  You can guess the rest.”

I loved stories about my Grandma Lizzie and the brothers who flanked her on either side, Clarence and Ed. They grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the late 1890s to early 1900s.  Grandma often complained that “Mama didn’t care what we did as long as she didn’t have to put up with us.”  However, in this one tale, told in Lizzie’s words, she appeared to have cared very much.

“Mama was making Clarence a fine new coat.  He was the oldest, two years older than me.  Ed was two years younger.  I guess we must have been about nine, seven, and five when this happened.  Well, anyway, Ed was mad because Clarence was getting a new coat and he was getting Clarence’s old one.  Clothes were always handed down from the big kid to the little ones.  There wasn’t money to get new things just because you felt like it.  Mama was still working on the coat; it needed buttons and buttonholes.  She had hung it on a chair back one night to finish it the next day.  We were out playing when we hear Mama calling us, mad as a hornet.  When we got to the house, Mama was in the back door, holding that coat up, shaking it at us!  It was muddy and had a big three cornered tear in the elbow of one sleeve!

‘Clarence, you little devil!  I’m gonna tear you up!  You got this coat out and ruined it before I even got it finished!

Shocked, Clarence defended himself, ‘Mama, I didn’t.  I never touched it. I’ve been outside all day!”

‘Then who did?  It didn’t tear itself up?  Did one of you other kids get this coat out and mess it up?  I know it didn’t tear itself and jump in the mud!’

‘No, Ma’am!’  Three more innocent kids never breathed.  Quizzing them again and again, they all stuck to their story, offering up protests of innocence.

In a spark of genius, she came up with a solution.  ‘Come out here with me.’  Lining the three up in the yard, she took a step back and picked up a big rock.  ‘I’ll just have to give you a test.  I’m going to throw this rock. Stand as still as you can.  Don’t worry, if you are telling the truth, it won’t hit you.  It will only hit the one who is telling me a story.’  With this, she drew her arm back as if to throw.  Mama and Ed stood straight and tall, confident of their innocence.  Little Ed ducked and was caught in his lie.  You can guess the rest.”

I loved stories about my Grandma Lizzie and the brothers who flanked her on either side, Clarence and Ed. They grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the late 1890s to early 1900s.  Grandma often complained that “Mama didn’t care what we did as long as she didn’t have to put up with us.”  However, in this one tale, told in Lizzie’s words, she appeared to have cared very much.

“Mama was making Clarence a fine new coat.  He was the oldest, two years older than me.  Ed was two years younger.  I guess we must have been about nine, seven, and five when this happened.  Well, anyway, Ed was mad because Clarence was getting a new coat and he was getting Clarence’s old one.  Clothes were always handed down from the big kid to the little ones.  There wasn’t money to get new things just because you felt like it.  Mama was still working on the coat; it needed buttons and buttonholes.  She had hung it on a chair back one night to finish it the next day.  We were out playing when we hear Mama calling us, mad as a hornet.  When we got to the house, Mama was in the back door, holding that coat up, shaking it at us!  It was muddy and had a big three cornered tear in the elbow of one sleeve!

‘Clarence, you little devil!  I’m gonna tear you up!  You got this coat out and ruined it before I even got it finished!

Shocked, Clarence defended himself, ‘Mama, I didn’t.  I never touched it. I’ve been outside all day!”

‘Then who did?  It didn’t tear itself up?  Did one of you other kids get this coat out and mess it up?  I know it didn’t tear itself and jump in the mud!’

‘No, Ma’am!’  Three more innocent kids never breathed.  Quizzing them again and again, they all stuck to their story, offering up protests of innocence.

In a spark of genius, she came up with a solution.  ‘Come out here with me.’  Lining the three up in the yard, she took a step back and picked up a big rock.  ‘I’ll just have to give you a test.  I’m going to throw this rock. Stand as still as you can.  Don’t worry, if you are telling the truth, it won’t hit you.  It will only hit the one who is telling me a story.’  With this, she drew her arm back as if to throw.  Mama and Ed stood straight and tall, confident of their innocence.  Little Ed ducked and was caught in his lie.  You can guess the rest.”

15 thoughts on “Cast No Stones

  1. That was quite a gem. Those hand-me-downs and the heartburns are so real! One of these days, Linda, I’m going to request your mom to draw a few pictures for me too!

    PS: You have posted the text of the story twice.

    Like

  2. What a great idea… I’m going to have to try using that one on my cute little liars. 🙂

    FYI, I’m not sure if it’s just my viewer, but it looks like the story copied in your post; it shows up three times on my end.

    Like

  3. I love the story, and the illustrations are bright. These are done by your 80ish mom? That is wonderful. She is talented. You should consider writing a children’s book together.

    Like

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