Disclaimer: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, and Cyrene are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. This is just a work of fan fiction and not intended to infringe on the copyright of " Xena: Warrior Princess".

The characters Little Xena and Little Gabrielle were used with permission of Lúcia da Ascenção deNóbrega lunobrega@sol.com.br. If you have not seen her drawings or cartoon connection on The Australian Little Xena Information Page http://xenite.simplenet.com/index.html, I recommend it!

The story is mine. January 30, 2000

Violence: None

Subtext: Sorry not in this one. This story is for my niece and is suitable for all ages.

Authors notes: I just wanted to say thank you to Lúcia for providing me with a wonderful image that I can share with a very special little girl!

In this story I reference a scene about another trip to the wellÖ Please see Lúcia "Into the Well Again" at http://xenite.simplenet.com/xandg/well.gif

Iíd love to hearing from you. Please feel free to send me your comments good or bad. ricesue@mediaone.net

 

 

Little Xenaís Chores

A Little Xena and Little Gabrielle story

By Susan A.Rice

 

"Little Xena, have you gone out to the stable today and cleaned out that ponyís stall?" asked Cyrene.

"Pony!" says an exasperated Little Xena, "Mom, Iím a big girl. I donít ride ponies anymore. Little Argo is my horse." Little Xena turns to leave the room.

Cyrene smiles down at her child and says, "Alright but you, daughter, have not answered the question."

"What, I thought we settled it, Little Argo is a horse not a pony."

Cyrene looks up at the ceiling and shakes her head. She then looks back at her daughter as asks, "Did you clean out that poÖ horseís stall?"

"Oh, that question," says Little Xena. "IÖ"

"Hi" pipes a little voice from behind Cyrene.

Cyrene turns around and sees Little Gabrielle walking toward them. "Hi Cutie, how are you today."

"Fine, thank you. I came to get Little Xena. She told me that she could teach me how to use my Sais today," says Little Gabrielle.

"Yes, I sure did say that. Letís go Gabby. I have the perfect spot to practice," says Little Xena as she grabs Little Gabrielleís arm and starts heading for the door.

"Wait just a minute daughter," says Cyrene. "You have not answered my question, and I also want to know if you finished the rest of your chores."

"Uh Oh, sheís using that voice" thought Little Xena.

Little Xena looks at her mother and answers, "No Maíam. Iíll do it right after I finish helping out Little Gabrielle with herÖ"

"No Daughter, you have chores to do."

"But MotherÖ" says Little Xena.

"Daughter, did you just tell me you were a Ďbig girlí?"

Little Xena nods her head.

Cyrene smiles and says, "Well, daughter, big girls have responsibilities. Yours are your chores and that means you have to clean out that stall. You also need to help me clean out some of the rooms, get the eggs, and help me out in the kitchen."

"Thatíll take all day! When will I have time to go out and play with Gabby?!?"

"The more you talk about it, the longer it will take Little Xena. I suggest you get started now."

Little Xena walks off scuffing her feet and muttering, "I want to go and have fun, but nooo, Iím stuck doing all this stuffÖ"

Cyrene shakes her head as she watches her daughter go. She canít help but let out a sigh. She then notices that Little Gabrielle is tugging at her skirt.

"Sorry Cutie, but Little Xena is going to be busy for a while. Maybe you can go out and play tomorrow."

Little Gabrielle smiles at Cyrene and asks, "Cyrene, can I help with some of the chores? With the two of us doing it maybe we can go out and play today."

"Well, I donít know. Little Xena was really supposedÖ"

"Please Cyrene, I really want to help. Sheís my best friend and best friends are supposed to help each other right?" chirps Little Gabrielle.

"Your right and it would be nice if you could both go play outside. Alright, you can help with some of the chores Little Gabrielle."

Little Gabrielle starts jumping up and down. "Really? I can help? Does that make me a big girl too? What do I do first?" Little Gabrielle looked up at Cyrene waiting for an answer.

Cyrene smiles and says, "Really and yes, it does make you a big girl too. You can go out to get the eggs from the coup. Oh, and I seem to remember asking you to call me Mom."

"I forgot. OK, Mom, Iíll get the eggs," says Little Gabrielle as she turns and runs out of the Inn.

Cyrene just stands there chuckling.

****

Little Xena walks into the stable and hears Little Argo whiney a greeting.

"Hi girl! How are you today?" she asks while petting her nose.

Little Argo tosses her head and stomps her foot.

"You want to go out and play. Yah, me too, but I canít. I have to do my chores, starting with your stall. Come on, no sense in both of us staying inside. How would you like to go running in the coral with the others? Bet youíd like that, huh. Come on girl."

Little Xena walks Little Argo to the gate and opens it for the mare. Little Argo trots into the coral and starts prancing and jumping around. Little Xena watches her for a moment before she turns around to go back into the stable. As she starts walking that way she sees Little Gabrielle come running out of the Inn.

"Hey Gabby! Where are you going in such a hurry?" calls Little Xena.

"Your Mother said I could help you with your chores. Iím supposed to go get the eggs!" smiles Little Gabrielle. "This way I get to help you and be a big girl to, just like you!"

Little Xena smiles and says, "Thanks, but you donít have to do this Little Gabrielle. These are my chores. You should just go and have fun."

"Nah uh, Iím going to help you. Weíre friends and we help each other," Gabby pauses, "unless, youÖ" tears start to well up in Little Gabrielleís eyes, "Did you change your mind about us being best friends?"

"Aw Gabby. Of course weíre best friends. Please donít cry. I only meant you donít have to do this because we are friends. Iíd rather be outside having fun and going on adventures, wouldnít you?" asks Little Xena.

"Well, yah, I guess so," sniffles Little Gabrielle, "But I would rather be helping my best friend, instead of going on an adventure by myself. Besides, the sooner we get this done, the sooner we can go on an adventure!"

The girls start walking toward to stable. Little Xena turns to Little Gabrielle and says, "Youíre right. Hey, we can even make a game out of doing the chores! We just need a plan of attack. OK what did I, I mean, WE have to doÖ Thereís Little Argoís stall, collecting the eggs, rooms in the inn, and something in the kitchen. Since you are working on the eggs, when youíre done with that you can help Mom in the kitchen. Iíll work on the stall and then start on the rooms. We can race to see who finishes first."

"Gee, Little Xena, it sounds like you have a lot more than I do. Instead of racing each other, letís try to beat the sun. Do you think we can finish this before the noon-day meal?"

"Hmm, thatís cutting it close. Sure! We can do it. Letís go."

Once in the stable, Little Xena hands Little Gabrielle a basket. "Here Gabby, this is for the eggs. See ya later."

"Bye," says Little Gabrielle as she head outside and to the chicken coup.

Little Xena raked out the old hay from the floor of Little Argoís stall. Once this has been removed she emptied out the water bucket and made sure that there was fresh feed for when Little Argo returned. Now all she needed was some new hay for the floor of the stall. Little Xena did not see any in the lower hay bin.

"Well, I guess, Iíll just have to go up into the hayloft to get some. I bet I can get up there without using the ladder." She looked around and mapped out her route. She climbed up the fencing on one of the stalls and ran across the beam with ease. Just as she got to the end of the beam, she yelled, "ALALALALALA", and jumped into the air flipping up into the hayloft.

"That wasnít so bad," she said. "Now I just have to get a bale of hay down there and put some of it in the stall."

She tried to lift the bale of hay and realized that this was much heavier than she thought. She needed to figure out how to get this out of the loft. "Hmm, I canít lift it, Iíll have to go to plan B. Iíll push it." It still proved to be too much for Little Xena.

She sat down on the offensive hay. "I need a plan C," she said. "Ok, what do I have to work with up here any way?"

In the loft, she noticed several bales of hay, some clay bricks, and a couple of pitchforks. "I GOT IT!" yells Little Xena. She grabs one of the pitchforks and starts to wedge it under one of the hay. She drags one of the bricks over and wedges it behind the fork. She then tried to push down on the handle but it was still to heavy for her. She looked around and climbed up on one of the other hay bales and jumps on the handle of the pitchfork. She sees the bale start to move and then all of a sudden she is being launched into the air off of the pitchfork handle. Startled, she quickly tucks into a ball and flips several times before landing on the floor of the loft.

She looks at the bale of hay and says, "It would have worked if I was bigger. Maybe I can get Gabby to help me out." She jumps out of the loft and picked up the water bucket and headed to the well. She remembered the last time Little Gabrielle went to get water from the well and smiled at the trouble that she and her friend had gotten into. (Check out the memory http://xenite.simplenet.com/xandg/well.gif ) She quickly got the water and then went in search of her friend.

****

Little Gabrielle skipped out of the stable swinging her basket as she headed over to the chicken coup. She peaked in and saw many of the hens sitting on nests all around the room. Carefully, she pushed the door open and slipped inside, closing the door behind her. As she turned back around she was nose to beak with the largest rooster she had ever seen.

"Good Morning," she says brightly.

"Baucaw," replied the rooster as he turned one eye toward her.

"Iím just here to get the eggs and then Iím leaving. Is that OK with you?" she asked.

The rooster ruffled his feathers and then took a step back. Little Gabby moved further into the room and started to gather the eggs and add them to her basket. She had added about a dozen eggs to the basket when she started to hear a scrapping sound behind her and some very annoyed sounding squawks coming from several of the hens and the rooster. Little Gabrielle went to pick up two more eggs when the rooster started to chase after her.

Little Gabbyís eyes opened wide and started to run away from the rooster.

"Hey, I thought this was OK with you," she yelled as she headed for the door. She managed to get out the door before the rooster could catch her. She sighed because she only had the two eggs and the basket was still in the coup with the rooster.

She walked into the kitchen door at the back of the inn and saw Cyrene standing there.

Seeing the eggs in Little Gabrielleís hands, Cyrene says, "Hi Cutie, are those for me?"

"Yes," answers Little Gabrielle and hands them to Little Xenaís Mother.

"Thank you. Are there any more?" asks Cyrene.

"There will be," says a determined Little Gabrielle as she turns around to head back to the coup. "I just gotta figure out how to get them out and not get pecked by that rooster. Heís big, ya know and does not appear to like mornings very much. Is that why rooster crow in the morning? Because they are cranky?"

Cyrene chuckles and says, "I never really thought about itÖ Maybe they are cranky in the morning. Do you need help getting the eggs?"

"No, I just need a plan to get past the rooster. Iíll see you later Mom. Bye."

Cyrene watches as Little Gabrielle heads back outside. She smiles and checks her stores to see if she has all of the ingredients she needs to make a special treat for the children. She laughs, "I have everything except the eggs. And if I know that little girl, I will not be missing that ingredient for long."

****

Little Gabrielle carefully looks in the coup and spies the basket sitting in the middle of the room but did not see the rooster anywhere. She opens the door and starts for the basket when she hears, "Bau Bau Caw" behind her.

She turns and says, "Do you always sneak up on people when theyíre not looking?"

"Baucaw," answers the rooster as he tilts his head to the left eyeing her.

"Yah, well, I have a job to do here so if you donít mindÖ" she says as she starts to add more eggs to the basket.

Little Gabrielle always made sure she knew where the rooster was while she gathered the rest of the eggs. The basket now held more than three dozen eggs. Little Gabrielle picked up the basket handle and turned to the door and saw the rooster guarding the door.

"Look, I need to take these back to Mom."

"BauCaw," said the rooster and started to move toward her.

"IÖ IÖ Not my Mom. I mean Cyrene, Little Xenaís Mother. She said I could call her Mom," stammers Little Gabby.

The rooster continues to walk toward Little Gabrielle. It jumps in the air letting out a loud squawk and feathers start to fly everywhere as all the hens start to jump off of their perches. Little Gabby is running around trying to avoid the chickens, when the door to the coup opens.

Little Xena looks in and sees all of the birds running around and a wide-eyed Little Gabrielle, covered in feathers, starting to bolt for the open door with a very angry rooster right behind her.

Little Gabrielle runs past Little Xena and out the door carrying her basket. The rooster, in hot pursuit, flies out the door before Little Xena can close it again. Little Gabby heads toward the well and starts circling it with her feathered tormenter giving chase.

"Gabby, stay away from the well! Remember what happened last time," yells Little Xena.

"Yah, we had Nut Bread!" huff Little Gabrielle.

Little Xena runs over to the well and asks, "Need a hand?"

"Any time now." Little Gabrielle yells, "Ouch" as she the rooster finally catches up to her.

Little Xena grabs the rooster and holds on while it is wildly flapping its wings trying to escape. "Oh, heís real mad. What did you do to him?" she asks as she heads back to the coup.

Little Gabrielle put the basket down and walked with her friend. "All I said was Ďgood morningí, how was I supposed to know that it was not a good morning for him. Heís really not a morning personÖ um bird. You should let him sleep later, maybe that would help."

"Hmm, I donít know. Heís like this all the time. Usually, I get him out of the coup before I get the eggs. Sorry, should have warned ya," says Little Xena. "Could you open the door for me Gabby?"

Little Gabrielle opened the door and Little Xena tossed the bird back into the coup. Little Gabrielle quickly closed the door behind the startled bird. "Thanks Little Xena," she said as the headed back to the basket of eggs.

"No problem. Glad I could help you out. Say, how would you like to help me out for a minute in the stable."

"Really? Sure. What do you need?"

"Well, how have those flips of yours been coming along," asks Little Xena.

"OK, I guess, I did not get to practice them this week." Says Little Gabrielle as they entered the stable.

"Come on up here, we need to get a bale of hay down from the loft and itís going to take teamwork to get it down," says Little Xena as she climbs into the loft.

Little Gabrielle goes over to the ladder and climbs up. She sees Little Xena standing on top of a bale of hay facing another bale of hay with a pitchfork stuck partially under it.

She walks over to Little Xena and starts climbing up the hay bales. "So, what do you want me to do?" she asks.

"When I count to 3, we are going to jump off of this bale of hay and onto the handle, making that bale of hay fall into Little Argoís stall. Ready?"

"Sure!"

"OneÖ TwoÖ THREE!"

The girls jump off the bale of hay and land on the handle launching the other bale of hay out of the loft. Little Xena and Little Gabrielle hit the floor with a thud and start to laugh.

"We did it!" says Little Gabrielle.

Little Xena is looking over the edge of the loft. "We sure did and it landed right in the stall. Now all we need to do is spread it out and we are done."

Both girls scramble down the ladder and run into the stall. They start spreading the hay around and quickly finish the task.

"That was fun, but I need to get the eggs to the kitchen now," says Little Gabrielle.

"Come on," says Little Xena as she removes a piece of hay from her sleeve, "Iíll walk over with you."

As the walked past the well, they picked up the basket of eggs. As they walked up the steps, the door to the kitchen opened.

"There you are," said Cyrene, "I thought I was going to have to come looking for my eggs. Well, you seem to have managed pretty well, but all I really wanted were just the eggs Cutie, you didnít need to bring me feathers as well." Cyrene plucked a couple of said feathers off of Little Gabbyís hair. "Seems you both have some feathers and hay all about you. Well, come on inside. There are still some chores left to do."

Smiling, the girls scoot past Cyrene and enter the kitchen. "OK, so which of you wants to help me out in the kitchen?"

Little Xena asks Little Gabrielle, "Are we sticking to the plan?"

"Yah."

"Well, Iím off to clean up those rooms you mentioned Mother. Gabby said she would help you out in here."

As Little Xena heads for the door, Cyrene says, "OK, please change the linens, clean out the fire boxes and sweep the floors in the front rooms Daughter."

"OK. See you when youíre done in here Gabby!"

Cyrene turns to Little Gabrielle and watches her as she tries to remove some of the feathers and hay from her hair and clothing. "Come on over to the tub so we can wash up a bit before we start to bake."

Little Gabrielle grabs a chair and drags it over to the washtub and washes her hands. "Iím ready CyÖ I mean Mom." She then holds up her hands dripping water on the floor and proceeds to wipe her hands on her skirt.

Shaking her head, Cyrene walks over to Little Gabrielle and uses her apron to dry off her hands. "First thing Cutie, we need to get you your own apron."

"OK, but why do I need one?" ask Little Gabrielle.

"Well, to dry you hands for one thing. I just donít know why children always need to wipe their hands on their clothing."

"Oh, thatís an easy one. We are always getting dirty, so we wipe our hands off, so when Moms ask us if out hands are clean, we can say yes," Little Gabrielle smiles proudly. She looks at the apron Cyrene is putting on her with a puzzled expression.

"What are you thinking so hard about Cutie?" asks Cyrene.

"Well, I guess I donít understand. I canít wipe my hands on my clothes, but I can wipe them on the apron. Isnít an apron like clothing?"

Cyrene laughed, "You know Cutie, I never thought about it like that. Letís just say that an apron is a towel you can hang around your neck. Now, how would you like to learn how to bake something special?"

"Oh, could I?"

"Sure, we are going to make one of your favorites."

"Really?" asks Little Gabby as she starts to dance on the chair. "Yah! Weíre going to make Nut bread. Oh, hurry up, letís go!" She jumps off the chair and goes running over to the worktable and climbs up on the bench. "Iím ready."

"Well, here are the ingredients." Cyrene starts to point to various bowls and jars on the on the table. "This is flour, sugar, baking power, salt, milk, oil, the eggs you got for me, and theÖ"

"Walnuts! Can I have some please? I love walnuts."

"Sure thing, here you go dear."

"Hmm, snk oo," says Little Gabrielle around a mouthful of walnuts.

"Your welcome." Chuckles Cyrene. "Now letís get baking. Iíll make a triple batch while you make a single batch."

"Oh, canít I make a triple batch too?" asks Little Gabrielle.

"Well, I donít know, I wouldnít want any of it to go to waste."

"Please?" begs Little Gabrielle. "Iíll personally make sure it does not go to waste."

"Scamp, you are not about to eat two loaves of Nut Bread by yourself."

"Nah, Iím going to share it with Little Xena."

"Letís stick to one this time. Maybe next time, you can make more."

Little Gabrielle thought that over and nodded her head in agreement.

****

"OK, I have to change the sheets, clean out the fireboxes and sweep the floors. I need to get the fresh linens, the broom and the ash bucket," said Little Xena.

She went into the closet on the 2nd floor of the inn and found what she needed and went into the first room. She closed the door and then ran and flipped onto the bed. She grabbed the corners of the sheet and flipped backwards off of the bed pulling the sheet and the blanket with her. "Hey, this isnít half bad. Now I need to put the fresh sheets on the bed."

She grabbed a corner of the clean sheet and ran around the bed making it fly out behind her. "Wow, this is bigger than the kite Gabby and I played with. I wonder what I can do with it." Several ideas came to Little Xenaís mind but then she thought about what her mother would do if anything happened to her good linen and decided to wait for another day. She quickly put the linen and the blanket on the bed. She hanged the linens in both of the other rooms and brought all the dirty linens to the washroom.

She then came back to the first room and grabbed the broom. She twirled it around a couple of times like a staff and started to sweep the floor. Once she had a little pile of dirt, she scooped it up and put it in the hall trashcan. Again she did this in both of the other rooms then returned the broom to the hall closet.

Now it was time to clean out the fireboxes. She pulled the ash bucket over and opened the door to the box. She grabbed the little shovel and started to scoop the ashes out of the box and into the bucket. Her nose started to itch so she scratched it and continued with her chores. She went into the second room and emptied it out as well. "Wow," She said as she wiped her hand across her forehead, "This isnít so bad. One more room and then Gabby and I can go out and play."

She went into the third room. This one did not have a firebox but a fireplace. It was one of the larger rooms in the inn and was sometimes used by the family during winter evenings. Not only did it have a large bed but there were several chairs, 2 tables and a couple of benches. There were even a couple of rugs in the room. Little Xena looked at the rug and shook her head. She remembered the first time she had to sweep out the rooms and hid the dirt under the rug. That got one long lecture from her Mother about the right and wrong way to clean a room. She chuckled, "Never made that mistake again."

She started to empty the ash into the bucket, when she realized she could not quiet reach the back of the fireplace. She crawled it the fireplace on her hand and knees and sneezed from all the dust. She remembered to cover her mouth when she sneezed like her mother told her. Once she finished sneezing, she finished cleaning out the fireplace.

She put the shovel back into the ash bucket and proceeded downstairs to empty the bucket outside. She ran back up stairs and but the bucket away. She rubbed her hands together and noticed that they were covered in ash. "Better clean them off before Mother see that."

She ran back outside and got a bucket of water from the well. She quickly rinsed her hands and then wiped them on her pants. "I hope Gabbyís finished so we can go play," says Little Xena as she heads for the kitchen door.

When she opens the door, she saw Little Gabrielle covered with flour with a very content look on her face.

"Hi," says Little Xena. "Whereís my Mom?"

"She said something about heating up some water to take care of some mess."

"Yah, well, I can see what she means. Your covered in flour"

"Well, I may be covered in flour but what is that gray stuff all over you?"

"Huh? What are you talking about? I washed my hands before I came in," answered Little Xena.

Cyrene entered the kitchen at that moment and let out a sigh at the site of her daughter covered in ash and grim. "I take it you finished cleaning the rooms and you did the fireboxes last?"

"Yes Maíam and I even washed my hands when I was done. See," as she held out her hands for inspection.

Cyrene smiled "What I see are two very dirty little girls who need a bath."

Both of the girls turned to Cyrene with stricken faces and together said, "I donít want a bath."

"Nonsense, off with you both, the water should already be warm. Iíll be there shortly."

"But Mother, the chores are done and Gabby and I were going to go out and play," said Little Xena.

"Not looking like that your not. You are both taking a bath. Iíll be up with a change of clothing in a few minutes. Now march."

Little Xena left the room mumbling, "I donít want a silly bath. I want to go out and play. Weíre just gonna get dirty when we go out and play."

Little Gabrielle followed her friend up the stairs. "Iím sorry Little Xena. I wanted to be a big girl. I didnít mean to make such a mess. I really would rather be going outside and learning how to use my sais. I really donít want to take a bath either. Please donít be mad at me."

"Oh, Gabby, Iím not mad at you. This is all my fault. I let you help me with my chores and now we are both stuck taking a bath. If I had done them when I should have, neither of us would have to go into the tub." Little Xena sighed. "Come on, letís get this over with."

****

The girls entered the bathing chamber and saw the tub full of water and bubbles. Little Gabrielle skipped over and grabbed up a handful of the suds. She turned around and with a twinkle in her eye, put a handful of suds on her friendís head and giggled.

"Hey, what you do that for?" asked Little Xena.

"It looked like fun," answered Little Gabrielle.

Little Xena grunted and said, "Well, we better get in the tub before Mom comes in."

The girls undress and Little Gabrielle climbs into the tub. Little Gabrielle takes the soap and starts to carefully wash her face and immediately dries it on the washcloth.

She turns to Little Xena and asks, "Whatcha waiting for?"

At that moment Cyrene enters with a stack of clothing and some towels. "Gabrielle, here are some of Xenaís cloths that are a bit small on her. They should fit you nicely."

Cyrene heads for the door and says, "Iíll have lunch waiting for you when you are finished and the Nut Bread should be ready by then." She turns to Little Xena, "Get going. Into the tub with you."

"Yes Maíam," says Little Xena as the door closes.

Little Xena listens by the door until she can no longer hear her Mother. She turns back and sees Little Gabrielle playing with her old wooden ducky and smiles. "Hey Gabby."

"Yah?"

"Want to see my imitation of a catapult?"

Before Little Gabrielle could answer, Little Xena runs and leaps into the air. As she starts to come down into the tub, she brings her kneeís up and hugs them with her arms. SPLASH! Water is flying everywhere and when she emerges, she sees suds all over Little Gabrielleís face.

Little Gabrielle has her eyes shut tight saying, "Ow, ow, ow."

"Gabby, whatís the matter? Did I hurt you?" Little Xena asks with concern.

"I got soap in my eye. Can you give me the washcloth?"

Little Xena hands her the washcloth and watches as Little Gabrielle carefully wipes her face.

Meanwhile, Little Xena starts to wash her hair. When Little Xena is finished washing her hair, she notices that Little Gabrielle still has relatively dry hair. She asked, "Hey, donít forget to wash your hair."

"You still have stuff all over you face, hereís the washcloth, try scrubbing."

Little Xena finished her bath and then looked back at Gabby, "Hey, you still havenít washed your hair. Come here. Iíll help you."

Little Xena moves closer to Little Gabrielle and asks, "How on earth did you get batter in you ears?"

"Donít know. Itís a kid thing. It just happens."

Little Xena soaped up Little Gabrielleís hair and said, "OK, Gabby, you need to rinse your hair."

"OK, Iím ready, my eyes are closed," answered Little Gabrielle.

"Ah, just dunk your head under the water."

"No."

"Why not."

Little Gabrielleís eyes start to tear up as she looks at Little Xena. "I canít."

"Come on Gabby, itís easy," says Little Xena as she dunks her head under the water. She comes back up and wipes her face, "See, nothing to it."

"How did you do that?" asked Little Gabrielle. "Every time I put my head underwater I start to choke and cough, and then I donít feel to good."

"Gabby, do you hold your breath when you go under water?" asked Little Xena.

"Hold my breath?" repeats Little Gabrielle, "Why would I hold my breath?"

"So you could go under water without choking?"

"Um, no, I never held my breath under water. Is that how you did that? You held you breath?"

"Yep," answered Little Xena. "Didnít you ever go swimming before in the lake?"

"No, Mother said I was to little to go very far into the lake, so I just stayed real close to the shore."

"Iíll ask Mother, next time we go to the lake, if you can come with us? Iíll teach you how to swim, OK?"

"Sure, that sounds great but that wonít be for a while yet. We still have plenty of snow outside."

"True, but we can practice in the tub. Go on Gabby, just hold you breath and dunk your head under the water. Itís easy."

Frightened green eyes looked back at her friend. In a shaky voice she said, "OK, Iíll try." Little Gabrielle then takes a deep breathe and quickly ducks her head under the water and comes right back up.

"Keep your eyes closed Gabby, you didnít get all the soap out and you donít want it running into your eyes again," says Little Xena. She watches Little Gabrielle and laughs, "You can breath again if you want before you go back under water again."

Little Gabrielle letís out a big exhale and breaths in another big breath before she goes back under the water to finish rinsing her hair.

When she comes back up, she wipes her eyes and letís out her breath and smiles, "I did it! Wow, I really did it. Iím really getting to be a big girl today. First I get to help with the chores to show Iím respÖ respinsÖ response"

"The word is Ďresponsibleí," says Little Xena.

"Yah, that word, and now I know how to go under water."

Little Xena laughs at the change of mood in Little Gabrielle. "Well, Gabby, I hope you always find doing chores fun."

"Me to, but you know what, Iíd really like to go and play right now."

Little Xena smiles and says, "But we can play!"

"How? Weíre taking a bath."

"Yes, but we can really practice how to swim or we can have a water fight."

"A water fight? How do you fight with the water? How can a fight be fun? What are you talking about?" asks Little Gabrielle.

"This," says Little Xena as she starts to splash her friend. Soon both girls are splashing each other and their giggles can be easily heard up the hall. By the time the girls finished playing in the tub, the level of the water in the tub was greatly reduced.

A voice came from the other side of the door. Cyrene said, "Well girls, now that youíre all clean, you can get out of the tub. Itís time for lunch."

"Aw, we were just starting to have fun," calls Little Gabrielle.

"There will be other days to take baths. We need to go to the kitchen and get the Nut Bread out of the oven."

Gabby immediately hopped out of the bath and wrapped herself up in a towel. "OK. Iím ready to check on the Nut Bread." And dashes out the door. A towel clad Little Xena is close behind her friend carrying their clothing.

"Mom, there is something you should know about Gabby and Nut Bread. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING gets in Gabbyís way if there is Nut Bread around." states Little Xena.

"Iíve noticed. Well, letís get you dressed and then find her and get this tunic on her before she gets into any trouble." says Cyrene with a smile.

"Mother?"

"Yes Daughter?"

"Thanks" says a towel wrapped Little Xena as she hugs her.

"What on earth is that for?" asks Cyrene.

"For making Gabby feel like a big girl. It really means a lot to her."

"Your welcome Little One. Come on now, finish dressing and Iíll make sure we save you some Nut Bread," says Cyrene as she walks down the hallway with the outfit she had for Little Gabrielle.

****

Cyrene stood by the door watching Little Gabrielle as she watched the loaves in the oven. Little Xena caught up to her and looked at her friend. "Yep, thatís my Gabby."

Cyrene cleared her throat and held up the garments for Little Gabrielle.

"Whoops, forgot those. I just didnít want my first Nut Bread to burn." She allowed Cyrene to put the tunic over her head and then put on the leggings. "Thanks Mom."

"Youíre welcome. Now go on and sit down. Iíll give you lunch and then you can try the Nut Bread."

They ate their lunch and then Cyrene brought over the Nut Bread. "There you go children."

Little Xena started eating the Nut Bread but noticed that Little Gabrielle had not taken a bite out of her piece yet. "Whatís the matter Gabby? Donít tell me youíre not hungry. Are you feeling OK?"

"Iím fine, how does it taste?"

"It tastes great! Just as good as moms!"

"Really?" asks Little Gabrielle as she takes a bite. "Hmmm, it does taste pretty good doesnít it? Hey, I made my first Nut Bread!"

"Yah sure did Gabby. Thanks and thanks for helping me with my chores today."

"Anytime, but next time, you can get the eggs."

"Thatís a deal Gabby!" says Little Xena.

With the chores done, Little Xena and Little Gabrielle spent the rest of the day having fun.

The girls ran for the door, never hearing the surprise yell of Cyrene as she entered the very messy bathing chamber. "Next time, Iíll make sure to include cleaning the bathing chamber as one of Little Xenaís Chores!"

 

 

The End.

Good Night Niece Nicole!

Thanks for reading this. I hope you enjoyed this story and will share it with that special small person in your life! Please feel free to send your comments to me. - Sue. ricesue@mediaone.net

 

 

One Nut Bread Recipe:

3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

1 and 2/3 Cups Milk

ľ cup cooking oil

ĺ cups chopped nuts

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahr. Combined the dry ingredients (except the nuts) in a bowl. In a separate bowl combined the egg, milk and oil. Add this to the dry ingredients and then add the nuts. Add this to a greased loaf pan (9x5x3 inches). Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let is cool for about 10 minutes and then remove it from the pan. Let if cool for a bit longer on a rack. Enjoy!

I wish I knew where I got this recipe from but it was on an old yellow piece of paper in my recipe box.

 


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