The Potato Puppy
My four-year-old son, Shane, had been asking for a puppy for over
a month but his Daddy kept saying, "No dogs! A dog will dig
up the garden and chase the ducks and kill our rabbits. No dog,
and that's final!" Each night Shane prayed for a puppy, and
each morning he was disappointed when there was no puppy waiting
I was peeling potatoes for dinner, and he was sitting on the floor
at my feet asking for the thousandth time, "Why won't Daddy
let me have a puppy?"
"Because they are a lot of trouble. Don't cry. Maybe Daddy
will change his mind someday," I encouraged him.
"No, he won't and I'll never have a puppy in a million
years," Shane wailed.
I looked into his dirty, tear-streaked face. How could we deny him
his one wish? So I said the words that were first spoken by Eve,
"I know a way to make Daddy change his mind."
"Really?" Shane wiped away his tears and sniffed.
I handed him a potato. "Take this and carry it with you until
it turns into a puppy," I whispered. "Never let it out
of your sight for one minute. Keep it with you all the time, and
on the third day, tie a string around it and drag it around the
yard and see what happens!"
Shane grabbed the potato with both hands. "Mama, how do you
make a potato into a puppy?" He turned it over and over in
his little hands.
"Shh! It's a secret!" I whispered and sent him on his
way. "Lord, you know what a woman must do to keep peace
in her home!" I prayed. Shane faithfully carried his potato
around for two days, he slept with it, bathed with it and talked
On the third day I said to my husband, "We really should get
a pet for Shane."
"What makes you think he needs a pet?" my husband leaned
against the doorway.
"Well, he's been carrying a potato around with him for days.
He calls it Wally and says it is his pet. He sleeps with it on his
pillow and right now he has a string tied to it and he's dragging
it around the yard," I said.
"A potato?" my husband asked and looked out the window
and watched Shane taking his potato for a walk.
"It will break his heart when the potato gets mushy and
rots," I said and started getting out food for lunch,
"Besides, every time I try to peel potatoes for dinner,
Shane cries because he says I'm killing Wally's family."
"A potato?" my husband asked, "My son has a pet
"Well," I said shrugging, "you said he couldn't
have a puppy. He was so disappointed, in his mind, he decided he
had to have a pet..."
"That's crazy!" my husband said.
"Maybe you're right, but explain to me why he is dragging
that potato around the yard on a string," I said.
My husband watched our son for a few more minutes. "I'll
bring home a puppy tonight, I'll stop by the animal shelter after
work. I guess a puppy can't be that much trouble," he sighed,
"It's better than a potato." That night Shane's Daddy
brought home a wiggling puppy and a pregnant white cat that
he took pity on while he was at the shelter.
Everyone was happy. My
husband thought he'd saved his son from a nervous breakdown. Shane
had a puppy, a cat and five kittens and believed his Mother had
magic powers that could change a potato into a puppy. And I was
happy because I got my potato back and cooked it for dinner.
Everything was perfect until one evening when I was cooking
dinner, Shane tugged on my dress and asked, "Mama, do you
think I could have a pony for my birthday?" I looked into his
sweet little face and said, "Well, first we have to take a
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