The Country Child by Alison Uttley
There was a parcel addressed to Mr, Mrs and Miss Garland. Susan had never been called Miss before… With trembling fingers Susan and Margaret untied the knots, for never, never had anyone at Windystone been so wasteful as to cut a piece of string.
There were three chocolate eggs, covered with silver paper, a wooden egg painted with pictures round the edge, a red egg with a snake inside, and a beautiful pale blue velvet egg, lined with golden starry paper. It was a dream, Never before had Susan seen anything so lovely…
This perfect blue egg! There was never one like it. She put it in her little drawer in the table where her treasures were kept. In the egg she placed her ring with the red stone, and a drop of quicksilver which had come from the barometer. She closed the drawer and went off to tell anyone who would listen, the trees, Dan, the clock, Roger, Duchess or Fanny.
But what a tale to tell the girls at school! She wouldn’t take it there or it might get hurt, a rough boy might snatch it from her, or the teacher might see her with it and put it in her desk.
‘Mother, may I ask someone to tea to see my egg?’ she asked, fearing in her heart that no-one would come so far.
‘Yes, my dear,’ and Margaret smiled at her enthusiasm. ‘Ask whoever you like.’
A HAPPY EASTER, PASSOVER, HOLIDAY SEASON TO ALL READERS
This is all going to go wrong in the most charming way. The word gets round the classroom, and soon the entire female half of the school is coming to tea to see the egg: many of them have gone home at lunchtime to get dressed up for the event.
But, strangely, Susan’s not wholly sympathetic mother turns up trumps, rises to the occasion. She would be a natural hostess if she didn’t live in the middle of nowhere, and she provides a sumptuous tea for 50 children of all ages – using up farm supplies that should either be sold, or last for months. A good time is had by all.
Margaret, Susan’s mother, is always referred to like that – no Mama or Mummy here - and is never the subject of any great raptures: she is a bit too fond of cleaning, and very busy as a result.
The wonderful present is from Susan’s godmother, someone Susan does feel a lot of affection for.
More entries from this book here and here.
The picture is Rolling Easter Eggs by Edward Atkinson Hornel, from the Athenaeum.