by A.N. Tolstoy adapted by Kathryn Bingham, and used in the Family Service on 1st October 2017turnip

Grandpa liked turnips. So in the spring he planted his turnip seeds and asked the angels of the elements to help them grow. He asked the angels of the earth to bless the soil and the angels of the sun to bring warmth and light, the angels of the water to bring rain and the angels of the air to bring fresh winds to keep his garden full of life. All through the summer he carefully looked after his crop, thanking the angels, the fairies and gnomes for all their help. He always stood at the same spot in his garden to say thank you and he began to notice that the plant nearest to where he stood was growing bigger and stronger than all the others!

As the months passed, it was finally time to being harvesting his turnips. Oh he was looking forward to his turnip stew! Today was a very special occasion when all his friends, family and neighbours were going to give thanks for all the wonderful food that had grown that year at the annual harvest supper. Grandpa decided it was time to pick his very special turnip so that he could make everyone some turnip stew. By this time the turnip really was quite enormous.

Proudly he went to the turnip, quietly saying thank you once again to all the spirits of the earth, the water, the sun and the air for helping such a wonderful turnip to grow. He began to pull on the turnip. He pulled and he pulled with all his might. He mopped his brow and he huffed and he puffed ... but ... he couldn’t pull up the enormous turnip.

Never mind he thought. I’ll go and ask Grandma to help me. So Grandma placed her hands around Grandpa’s waist and together they pulled on the turnip. They pulled and pulled with all their might. They mopped their brows and they huffed and they puffed ... but ...even working together, they couldn’t pull up the enormous turnip.

Never mind they thought. We’ll ask the man in the garden next door to help. He always looked so sad so maybe it would cheer him up to help pull the turnip out. So they asked the man to help. He placed his hands around Grandma’s waist and Grandma placed her hands around Grandpa’s waist and they pulled and pulled with all their might. They mopped their brows and they huffed and they puffed ... but ... still they couldn’t pull up the enormous turnip.

Never mind they thought. We’ll ask our other neighbour to help. So the neighbour came and placed her hands around the sad man’s waist and the sad man placed his hands around Grandma’s waist and Grandma placed her hands around Grandpa’s waist and they pulled and pulled with all their might. They mopped their brows and they huffed and they puffed ... but still they couldn’t pull up the enormous turnip.

Never mind they thought. We’ll ask our grandchildren to help. So they asked all their grandchildren. Now the older grandchildren looked at what was going on. They scratched their heads and had a little think. ‘I know’ one said ‘let’s dig the soil from around the base of the turnip’. So they got their spades and they dug and they dug and they dug. ‘Now let’s have another go’ they said.

So the grandchildren placed their hands around the neighbour’s waist and the neighbour placed her hands around the sad man’s waist and the sad man placed his hands around Grandma’s waist and Grandma placed her hands around Grandpa’s waist and they pulled and they pulled with all their might. They mopped their browns and they huffed and they puffed ... but still they couldn’t pull up the enormous turnip.

Now the grandchildren scratched their heads again and had another little think. ‘I know’ said one ‘let’s get the soil nice and wet and squelchy. So off they went and fetched a few watering cans. Squelch, squelch, squelch they went as the water seeped into the soil around the turnip. ‘Now let’s have another go’ they said. So the grandchildren placed their hands around the neighbour’s waist and the neighbour placed her hands around the sad man’s waist and the sad man placed his hands around Grandma’s waist and Grandma placed her hands around Grandpa’s waist and they pulled and they pulled with all their might. They mopped their brows and they huffed and they puffed. And finally ... finally ... with an enormous heave and a great big squelchy plopping sound, they DID manage to pull up the enormous turnip.

The turnip fell onto Grandpa, Grandpa fell on top of Grandma, Grandma fell on top of the sad man, the sad man fell on top of the neighbour and the neighbour fell on top of all the grandchildren! They all laughed and laughed and laughed even the sad man, who said how much he had enjoyed helping! Together they carried home the enormous turnip and cooked it for the harvest supper. Grandpa thanked everyone for all their help, especially for the great ideas from his grandchildren.

‘I just couldn’t have pulled it up without each and every one of you’ he said.

And everyone agreed that they had never tasted such a wonderful turnip stew before!