Ma looked at the empty cupboard and burst into tears. Jack was desperate to try and cheer her up. ‘Don’t worry Ma’, he said. ‘At least we’ve got milk to drink. Let’s go and see Daisy’.
Daisy the cow lived in a shed in the garden. Jack loved Daisy very much. The village was small and there weren’t any other children his age to make friends with. In fact, Daisy felt like his only friend. Every morning, Jack carried a wooden pail into the shed, sat on a little stool and milked her.
Once, the milk had filled the pail right to the brim – but now Daisy was getting old and weak. Every morning, she produced a little less than the day before...
Ma stood and watched as Jack sat down to milk Daisy...
Just two drops of milk fell into the pail. ‘Keep going, we need much more than that,’ said Ma.
‘I’m sorry, but that’s all there is,’ replied Jack. ‘I’m afraid that Daisy’s milking days are over.’
Ma looked like she was going to cry again. ‘No food, no money and now no milk!’ she wailed. ‘What are we going to do?’
As Daisy chomped on the grass, Ma and Jack watched in silence. ‘There must be an answer to our problems,’ thought Jack. ‘But what can it be...?’
Ma had been thinking too. ‘There’s only one thing we can do,’ she announced suddenly. ‘We will have to sell Daisy.’
‘We can’t do that!’ cried Jack. ‘She’s my friend!’
Daisy gave such a big moo, it was as if she was agreeing with Jack. ‘I’m sorry,’ replied Ma, ‘but we need the money for food. Tomorrow I want you to get up early and take her to the market. You must sell her for as many gold coins as you can.’
That night, Jack felt so sad he couldn’t sleep. Poor old Daisy! She belonged with him and Ma, not a stranger! And what if her new owner treated her badly? Jack tossed and turned with worry, until at last he began to feel dozy. He had just one small hope as he fell asleep. Maybe, just maybe, Ma would wake up in the morning – and change her mind...