What kinds of animal gifts would children receive in a fantasy deiselpunk setting?
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I had stepped in manure again.
"She should be happy with those tomatoes," I spat.
"Stop eyeing my basket and see about those eggs," my sister Seya said. "Before Nanny Cook starts wondering what else she can think of to keep us busy."
"It doesn't matter anyway, Father will be back from the yard sales soon," I grumped.
Nevertheless I tromped over to the hen house. A Nanny obeyed is a Nanny sated after all. It’s just that it wasn’t even my job to get the eggs.
My job, now that I was ten, was to help Father with the animals. And I didn’t mean collecting eggs from smelly and stupid birds. I was meant to be helping Father with the horses.
It was only because it was the first yard sale since Seya’s and my birthday that I wasn’t with him.
Lance and Dustin had had to go with Father in the old truck, taking any room I may have squeezed into. Lance, to help with the horses no doubt; and Dustin, to fix the old truck when it broke down on the way back. Father had been teaching me to do that as well. I smiled as I thought of missing out on that chore.
As I peeled back the old wire mesh door of the hen house in preparation of stepping in more manure, I heard the distinct belch of the old truck struggling up the drive.
“They’re back! They’re back!” Seya yelled in delight, her basket of tomatoes forgotten as she ran through the muck to the front of the house.
“Seya!” I bellowed. “Wait for me!”
What I saw when I sprinted around the side of the outhouse will no doubt stay with me for the rest of my life. I imagine now it must be similar to the emotion that Mother tells us we must feel when we kneel in Father Nate’s rickety old church.
I found myself standing next to Seya as she too looked on in awe. She gave a nervous giggle and clamped her hand over her mouth.
We looked at each other. We looked over at Father, slowly dusting his cap as he smiled down on us.
“Well?” Lance exclaimed, his arms wide in an exaggerated gesture. “Well Seya? Well Jonnz?”
“Which...which...which one is mine?” I asked.
Dustin and Lance bellowed in laughter and even Father chuckled.
“The one with the wings son. Although you could ride the one with the horn, you’d soon get sick of the ribbing you’d get! And so would I.”
Father walked to the tray of the old truck and patted the side of my horse, “Unicorns are for girls, lad, and a Pegasus for boys.”
My pegasus. My chest swelled and my eyes roamed it’s wings furled against it’s body.
Seya’s hand rested on my shoulder and I turned to her.
“You know why I don’t mind mine doesn’t come with wings, Jonnz?” Seya piped up suddenly.
“Why?” I asked, in innocence.
“Because you’re going to spend all your day picking up horse manure all across the county!” She laughed and ran to the arms of our Father to hug him. “Even up in trees!”
Everybody laughed with her. No doubt Nanny Cook would want me to get some eggs while I was up there.