Murdo Girl…The wise old woman

Today’s Cookbook Findings

Remember the story I found in my Cookbook? The one my son wrote in 1989. Well, I found the 2nd page of it and started to read what turned out to be a book report of sorts. Craig apparently had to read a story and answer “thinking” questions. When I first started to read it, I was irate. I would have called the school, but then I remembered the report was written in 1989, when my son was only eleven. You will see by the comments I made at the end of my review, that I changed my position.

The story is quite relevant, so I’m going to share a little of it with you.

Why were there no old people in the village? The young lord of the village ordered everybody over 71 to go to the mountains and die. He thought older people were useless.

What did the farmer do with his 71-year-old mother? He took her to the mountains to die, but on the way up she broke up small twigs and dropped them along the way so her farmer son wouldn’t get lost on his way back down from the mountain.

*MG’s translation..Son, you can’t even find a jar of peanut butter in a cupboard full of peanut butter much less make it back down this mountain..that is..without your mother.

Why didn’t the farmer leave his 71-year-old mother on the mountain to die? The farmer changed his mind about leaving his mother because he was too close to her and he could not think what it would be like without his mother.

*MG..Good answer my loving son. I probably would have added that it might get too dark before he got down from the mountain and he wouldn’t be able to see the twigs…or wild animals lurking about.

What did the farmer do with his mother when he got her back down the mountain? He just couldn’t let her die so he brought her back to his house and hid her in a hole he dug. The farmer knew if the young lord of the village found out his 71-year-old mom was hidden in a hole, the farmer and his mother would both be sent to the dungeon to die. (Craig spelled dungeon wrong, but that’s beside the point.)

*MG..wait a sec.. a hole? Doesn’t this village have someplace better for you to hide your 71-year-old mother? How big is this hole? Is the dungeon bigger?

This next question I don’t quite get. I only have Craig’s answer.

The farmer’s mother laughed when her son told her about the impossible task of making a rope out of ash because she knew how to make that very, very, easily.

*MG..Of course she did. The question is why do you need a rope made from ash? A cub scout badge perhaps?


How did the young lord figure out what was going on? The 71-year-old mother saved the village 3 times. The lord knew that the farmer was not that wise so he asked the farmer if anybody had helped him. The farmer could not lie so he told the young lord that his mother helped him.

*MG..I probably would have said “MY MOM DID IT ALL YOU IGNORANT YOUNG LORD!! Where is your Mother? That’s what I would like to know!”

What lesson did the young lord learn? He learned that old people are not useless, but they are wise.

MG* I probably would have told the young lord that my son is very, very, wise. He learned it all from his Mother the Queen.


*MG..I think this book or story should be mandatory reading for all 11 year olds. They should have to read it a 2nd time when they are 16.




1932 picture of the E.A. Thomas and M.E. Sanderson families. Mom is 2nd row, dark short hair and hat. Valerie’s Mom is the tall girl next to her with the bib overalls. Mom was 11, the same age Craig was when he wrote about the old wise woman. Uh oh..I don’t believe my Mother lied about her age when she was 12. She crossed out 12 and put 11. She probably did this after she became a wise old woman. Well at least she was consistent. She changed her DOB in Grandma’s family Bible too.



8 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…The wise old woman

  1. lifelessons February 22, 2017 / 11:55 pm

    Is Craig your son? Did he really write this story or was he retelling one he’d heard? If he wrote it, he was/is a genius!!


    • Mary Francis McNinch February 23, 2017 / 9:28 am

      Yes, Craig is my son. He read the story, then answered the questions the teacher gave him. I thought it was a cute story.


  2. sanjuan831 February 22, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    Wait- that looks like your
    Mom’s writing on the 1932 photo.
    Such a funny read. Thank you! (We even wear our crowns when on the phone.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch February 22, 2017 / 6:14 pm

      I don’t think that’s Mom’s handwriting, besides, she would have written 11 instead of having to change it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sanjuan831 February 22, 2017 / 6:43 pm

        True. I think this was one of my favorite blog posts besides the first MG ones, I mean. It combines so much with Craig’s report and your comments and it’s funny and cute and touching. Can’t explain it.


  3. sanjuan831 February 22, 2017 / 5:43 pm

    Fabulous! What a great book report. Craig sure could retell a tale! The pictures are lovely and I didn’t have a copy of that Thomas/Sanderson photo until the two Thomas boys gave me one in 2011. Your Mom’s age could be 11 but she’d be 12 later that year. Who wrote the names and ages on yours?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch February 22, 2017 / 6:11 pm

      I don’t know. It’s not Mom’s handwriting, but I would recognize her age crossing out anywhere. I don’t know how Mom got the picture.

      Liked by 1 person

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