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Koketso’s favourite jersey

Author

By Patricia de Villiers

Illustrator

Illustrations by Vian Oelofsen

Monday is always a big wash day in Granny’s house. Every Monday, early in the morning, Granny takes out the big tin washtub and puts it on the table in the yard. Then she boils water in the kettle. She has to boil lots and lots of kettles to fill the washtub right up to the top.

Then Granny adds soap powder and stirs the water with a big wooden spoon until it becomes frothy and bubbly. And then she puts all the sheets and pillowcases, and the tablecloth and her own large underwear into the washtub and pushes them down under the water with her big wooden spoon and then stirs them around and around and around.

When everything is clean and rinsed, Koketso helps her granny to peg the heavy, wet washing on the clothesline.

One cold Monday morning, Koketso looked at what she was wearing.

“Mmm,” she thought, “my white socks are quite clean, but my blue shoes are dirty. My pink dress is clean, but my bright stripy jersey has got this morning’s breakfast all over it! Let’s see – egg, tomato sauce, milk, a bit of banana and LOTS of crumbs. I love this beautiful, warm jersey of mine, but it does need a good wash!”

“Granny!” she called out. “Can I put my stripy jersey and my blue shoes into your washtub?”

Granny chuckled, “No, my angel, this is a HOT wash. You really mustn’t do that!”

Koketso didn’t understand. Why shouldn’t she put her jersey and shoes into her granny’s washtub? So, when Granny had gone to the shop to buy some potatoes and onions, Koketso ran into the yard. She took off her blue shoes and her bright stripy jersey, picked up the big wooden spoon and pushed them into the washtub with all the other washing.

Everything was very, very hot and heavy. The soap bubbles made Koketso sneeze, but eventually she managed to push her clothes down to the bottom – deep, deep, under all of the sheets and pillowcases, and the tablecloth and Granny’s large underwear.

“There,” she said to her jersey and shoes, “now you’ll get all clean and fresh.”

When Granny came home, she noticed that Koketso was wearing just a thin dress and had only socks on her feet.

“Koketso,” she said, “it’s a cold day. Why are you wearing those? Do you want to catch a cold?”

“Oh, Granny,” said Koketso, waving her hand in front of her face as if it was a fan, “I’m so HOT. I’m not cold at all.”

Then she skipped down the path and waved to her granny. “Bye, Granny,” she said. “I’m just going to see Pinky.”

“Now just you wait a minute …” said Granny. But Koketso didn’t hear her because she had already disappeared around the corner.

On her way to Pinky’s house, Koketso started to feel really cold. The wind was blowing through her dress, and the road was like ice under her feet. She wrapped her arms around herself and ran all the way to her cousin’s house.

“Pinky!” called Koketso jumping up and down on Pinky’s doorstep. “Pinky, let me in, I’m FREEZING!”

Pinky came to the door. “Are you mad, Koketso?” she said. “Why don’t you have any winter clothes on?”

Pinky’s house was nice and warm.

“Come in, Koketso,” said Pinky’s mother, Koketso’s Auntie Sarah. “You’re just in time for some fresh bread and jam.”

Koketso enjoyed herself so much at Pinky’s house that she forgot about Granny’s washing. Suddenly she remembered and jumped up off her chair.

“Oh no!” she said. “I was supposed to help my granny hang out the washing. I must go home RIGHT NOW!”

“Well, you can’t go dressed like that,” said Auntie Sarah. “At least put these on.” And she gave Koketso a great big, brown cardigan that came down to her knees, and a pair of old slippers.

When Koketso got home her granny was waiting for her with her arms folded. She was very cross. All the washing was hanging on the line, and right at one end was a pair of dripping blue shoes and a tiny teeny little jersey just big enough for a baby.

Koketso’s mouth fell open. “But,” she stuttered, “but, but, but, I don’t understand. That looks like my jersey, but it’s not my jersey.” And she felt the tears come to her eyes. “Oh, Granny,” she wailed, “what’s happened to my jersey? I want my old jersey back!”

Granny looked at her. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Koketso,” she said. “You can’t put woolly things into such hot water. They shrink if you do that. That’s why your jersey is so small now.”

Early the next morning when Koketso got up, she found that Granny had stuffed her blue shoes with newspaper and put them close to the heater. They were still damp and steaming, but at least they were still their normal size! Her jersey was dry and folded up on top of the pile of Granny’s clean washing. But it was very, very small.

Koketso went outside in Auntie Sarah’s big, brown cardigan and slippers to sit on the doorstep. She spread the little jersey on her lap. “I’m sorry, stripy jersey,” she said, “you were so pretty and soft.” And she cried a little bit.

“You look nice and warm in this cold weather, Koketso,” said a voice. It was old Uncle Koos who was pushing his shopping trolley down the road. “I’ve got someone here who nearly froze last night.” And old Uncle Koos opened his coat to show her that he was holding a little shivering dog.

“Oh, Uncle Koos,” said Koketso, “that dog hasn’t got enough hair to keep it warm. Maybe it needs a nice woolly coat.”

Then she had an idea.

“It can wear my old jersey!” she said “It’s much too small for me now.”

The jersey fit the little dog almost perfectly.

“That’s wonderful, Koketso,” said Uncle Koos. “Look how pleased the little dog is. I’m going to name her after you. Now her name is Ketso.”

Koketso laughed. “Ketso,” she said. “I think that’s a nice name for a dog!”

The little dog wriggled and licked old Uncle Koos on the nose.

“She seems to like her name too,” said Uncle Koos, “and she loves her bright, stripy, woolly coat. Come on Ketso, my little dog, let’s go and find some breakfast!” Uncle Koos waved to Koketso as he walked off down the street.

“Good idea,” said Koketso and she went inside to find her granny, and some breakfast.