‘Cos I was only little

When Christmas is over and the sounds of the city quieten and there is no one around, then there is little to do but lie on one’s bed and think of days long gone. I did. And now I have to make a confession.

I have been told, that I did not complete my early angelic childhood without on at least one occasion being actually bad. But I was very young.

The incident that I need to tell was a day of supposed infamy in our family. I will attempt to portray the said incident with the total objectivity that comes from old age and a certain degree of forgetfulness.

It was about 1947 or 48 and we had a little farm just south of Melbourne. We did not have a car but my father bought an Army disposal motor-cycle. It was an Indian. Every day my father rode his motorcycle up to Melbourne where he taught. But when the weekend came he was a farmer – of sorts.

We had quite an idyllic life but I must get to the confession. It was summer and the hay had been cut. No tractors were involved, only an old draught horse dragging a mower behind…..


……..and then the next weekend the hay would be raked and then the hay would be gathered onto a cart and heaped up into a stack.


                      There was no baler, the hay was just piled up in a big stack in the yard. It was a wonderful stack but we didn’t play near it – it was too important.

There were other jobs to do and one was clearing the rubbish from the creek and making a pile and when it was dry it would be heaped in a pile and burnt. We all helped.

Did I mention I was only little. Anyway near the haystack was some untidy straw lying around and so I collected some of it and built a little rubbish heap of my very own. I went over to Daddy’s fire and I got a stick with red coals on the end and took it back to my little rubbish heap and I blew on the stick and it made my little rubbish heap start to burn. It burnt quite well actually. In fact it crawled along the ground, burning little bits of loose hay as it went until it reached the haystack.

And it burnt the haystack down.

And I got sent to my room without dinner because mummy and daddy were very cross with me.

But you must try to remember that I was only little.

The photos are from Mr Google’s collection.

17 thoughts on “‘Cos I was only little

      • Pleased to hear it; nothing like a good wallop, never did any harm. An old Jewish saying ( not that I have that much time for their stuff; didn’t they wite the bible? Look at the trouble that’s caused)
        The father who loves his child chastises his child.
        Forget the exact translation but you get the idea.

      • My dad used to tell us to get whatever we thought would hurt the least. I worked out that a blackboard ruler was better than a leather strap; it stung for a while but did less damage. There was a choice.

      • You were lucky. Our head master had the thinnest of thin canes and it would whistle through the air as it came down to strike the at the bare backside, but mostly the hand, which was worse.

  1. I’ve played and got in trouble for many things… however never with fire.
    My only child father didn’t have a lot of experience with children and facilitated us kids getting in trouble… a lot!
    He gave us spray paint to only spray a board. We got done and then did the house! 😲
    Or he gave me plaster and I filled in the brake lights on the car. 😣
    Dad was usually the one that went to bed without supper. I was just little. 😉

  2. Good story that reminded me of one of my own. I was about 10 and sent to the local shop to buy a box of matches. Like all young boys I liked flames and on the way back home went into a field to strike a few and have a little fire. As I was about to strike the first on the sandpaper strip on the side of the box I suddenly realised that if I did so then it was a certain giveaway that I had been playing with fire. I found a stone and used that instead. I thought I was so smart. After a while I went home and handed over the matches with no telltale marks on the side to betray me. I thought I was so clever, how could I possibly be found out? Then my mum opened the box and inside there were only twenty or so matches when there should have been 50. WHOOPS!

    Anyway, your Christmas might be over but we have still got a few hours to go – CHEERS!

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