Short Stories

A Sister's Christmas Gift by Marta Perry

Chloe watched as her elder sister, Lydia, heavily pregnant with her third child, effortlessly settled a dispute between her two little boys and sent them off happily to do their chores in the barn on this cold December day.

“I don’t know how you manage them so easily,” she said as the door banged behind the boys, leaving Lydia and Chloe alone in the warm farmhouse kitchen, redolent with the aroma of the snickerdoodles they’d been baking. “You could negotiate peace treaties between warring countries.”

“Ach, it’s nothing,” Lydia said, laughing. She put one hand on the table, as if she needed something to prop her up. “Settling quarrels comes natural to a mammi. And Amish kinder must learn early that we don’t settle disputes by fighting.”

Chloe nodded as she hurried to take another tray of cookies from the gas oven before Lydia could bend over. Lydia might feel her gift was normal but Chloe wasn’t sure how natural she’d be at anything to do with being a mother.

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A Pleasant Valley Christmas by Marta Perry

“Have you talked to Daad about it yet? Matthew, Leah’s oldest stepson, was a gangling eighteen now, a far remove from the child she’d met in her schoolroom so many years ago.

“Not yet,” she said, feeling guilty. “Tomorrow is Christmas. I think it best to wait until after the holiday to bring it up, don’t you?”

Matthew’s straight brows, so like his father’s, drew together. “The job won’t stay open forever. Joseph will be wanting an answer.”

“Ja, I know.” And they both knew how Matthew’s daad was likely to respond to the idea that his oldest son should become a junior partner in Joseph Beiler’s machine shop. Daniel had his heart set on the boy taking over the dairy farm he’d worked so hard to build up. “But he’ll wait until after Christmas, surely.”

Matt’s face set in his stubborn look, again much like his father’s. “I should talk to Daad myself. I’m a man now, ain’t so?”

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