It was a gloomy, grey day in early fall. But there was a bright side to it! The school was cancelled and instead the children piled up in a big bus, which took them to the farm fields right outside the boundaries of the city. It was a day to help the collective farm pick the last harvest of cucumbers. It was wet and cold, but it did not matter much, because the kids were excited to skip school and spend the day together, outside.
The instructions from the collective farm worker who was assigned to supervise the children were strict and clear: “Take metal buckets and begin collecting the cucumbers. Leave behind large, overgrown ones, because they are too big to be used by anyone. Only collect the medium and small sized cucumbers. Once the bucket is full, bring it back and empty it in a large box.” The supervisor stood there, counting the buckets of collected cucumbers to increase productivity. It felt like a competition!
The cucumbers were cold and wet. The leaves of the plants were prickly. The buckets full of cucumbers were heavy. Why didn’t she take the gloves her mother suggested earlier this morning? Why is the time moving so slowly? What to do with the large cucumbers? Just leave them behind? This just did not sound right. Making sure that neither the collective farm supervisor nor the teacher saw them, the kids smashed a few big cucumbers against the huge rock. The cucumbers exploded everywhere, fresh smell and cold juice landing on the kids’ faces. This definitely gave a great feeling of satisfaction and added some entertainment to otherwise boring day. But the supervisor noticed it soon, so the secret fun activity was abruptly interrupted.
It was just the beginning of the day. How will they survive the rest of the boring day? The big, overgrown cucumbers – some looking as big as chunks of tree trunks – were still there. Peeking through the leaves, waiting to be picked up. What to do? Then another idea. Why not hide the big cucumbers in the middle of the bucket, between the small ones on the bottom and the top? Then, the bucket would fill in fast – super fast! – and the productivity would increase, too. Surely the supervisor would be happy! Another great moment of fun and entertainment. But then caught in the act again.
Scolded and shamed, the girl and her friends went back to picking the cucumbers. Still a few more hours left and a large field ahead of them. The big, overgrown cucumbers everywhere, staring at them. Not letting them pass by. Surely, there is another way to use them. What will it be?
And children continued to explore new solutions.