The Tale of Morton and Naomi
In case you missed the previous posts, Morton and Naomi are patterns from Sewing Tales by Kerry Goulder. Just after I started making Morton I found out that Kerry is having a Sewing Tales for the Holidays contest. How could I resist?! In this story Morton and Naomi meet and become friends on Valentine’s Day. The Over in the Meadow Landscape Rug, Topsy-Turvy Story Quilt, and a There’s No Place Like Home Pillow from my book, Sew Fun, all come together to set the scene.
The Tale of Morton and Naomi
It was the coldest winter Morton had known, and he had known a lot of winters in the garden behind the big house. “It’s a good thing I have my sweater,” he thought. “Now if only my neck wasn’t so cold.” When Morton was resting he could pull his head inside his cozy shell, but when he was out and about his neck got cold. And Morton liked to be out and about. You never know what you might find if you were looking. New strawberries to nibble in spring, an ice pop left by one of the children near the playhouse in summer, a tomato dropped to the ground in the fall. Even in winter there were things to find.
It was a bright cold morning and Morton was puttering about the snowy garden. He was thinking about Valentine’s Day. Through the window into the house he had seen the children have their annual Glitterfest several days earlier. The grownup had come to the back porch to shake out the glitter from the cloth they used to cover the table. The garden near the house sparkled from the excess glitter. Morton even had a few sparkles stuck to the underside of his shell. He was sure Valentine’s Day must be today as the two children had gone off to school with boxes spilling red and pink paper and sparkly things. Humans! Morton thought in frustration as he tried to rub the sparkles off. Silly holiday.
Truth be told, Morton was lonely. He had no friend to share Valentine’s Day with. His bird friends had all gone south for the winter. The rabbits and chipmunks were hibernating. Even the humans who tended the garden were inside. An occasional deer came passing though but they paid no attention to Morton except to sniff his sweater as if they were going to take a nibble and then wander away when they realized it was not to be eaten.
Morton was feeling sorry for himself, what with his cold neck and lack of company, when he spied something blue under the leaves. What was this? It was a long thin fuzzy strip.
“Maybe this will keep me warm,” Morton thought. He was just trying to pull it free from the leaves when he heard a voice shouting.
“Surrender my scarf!”
Morton looked up to see a young gnome in a fluffy cape brandishing a sword. It was a long silver sword with a hook on the end.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “I was trying to keep my neck warm.”
He paused and then said, “My name is Morton.”
The gnome lowered her sword and Morton realized it was not a sword at all but a walking stick. The gnome looked back at Morton.
“I’m Naomi,” she said. “I like your sweater.”
“Thanks,” said Morton, “It keeps most of me warm, but my neck is cold.”
“I can make you a scarf of your own,” said Naomi.
“Really?” replied Morton, “You would do that for me?”
“Of course,” said Naomi.
She sat down on a nearby rock and tilted her head, looking quizzically at Morton for a few minutes. Then her face brightened.
“What you really need is a turtle neck!” she cried.
Naomi opened her bag, pulled out a ball of yarn and began to crochet, using the hooked end of her walking stick. Morton settled down next to the rock and waited patiently, his head on his arm, watching Naomi work the hook.
After a while he asked quietly, “How did you learn how to do that?”
“Crochet?” Naomi responded without looking up from her work, “I taught myself.”
Morton nodded quietly. He liked Naomi. He liked her no nonsense attitude. He liked the way she hummed softly to herself as the hook went back and forth looping the yarn. He found it comforting and after a while he fell asleep.
Morton woke to find Naomi standing over him with a fuzzy crocheted tube.
“Here you go,” she said, pulling the turtle neck over his head.
Morton felt the chill in his neck subside and a coziness surround him.
“Thank you so much,” he said to Naomi. “But why would you do this for me? You don’t even know me.”
Naomi smiled. “Making things for others is the best part of making,” she said.
“Well,” said Morton, “then I must make something for you.”
So while Naomi sat patiently on the rock, Morton got to work. Slowly, he collected small stones and pebbles, pushing them into place with his nose.
Naomi tilted her head and watched Morton. She liked Morton. She liked his gentleness. She liked the way his forehead wrinkled as he concentrated on pushing the stones into just the right place. Morton worked carefully until finally he stepped back. There on the ground was a perfect heart made from stones.
“Happy Valentines Day, Naomi,” Morton said.
Naomi clapped with joy and laughed, “Oh thank you Morton! Happy Valentine’s day to you too.”
After that Morton and Naomi became fast friends and spent many days in the garden together. In the spring they searched out new lettuce shoots, in the summer they sat under the shady leaves of the giant hosta and napped, and in the fall Naomi climbed the fig tree to knock a ripe fig to the ground while Morton waited nervously below and fretted about her safety. And every winter on Valentine’s Day, Naomi crocheted Morton a new turtle neck to keep him warm.