Jack,

You were pretty straightforward throughout the whole thing, but the thing about you I have always wanted to know. How old are you, really? You act like a child, and your mother treats you like a child, but you look to be at least in your teenage years. You also on several occasions tried to convince your mother you were a "man." Are you or are you not? – 4everYoursEmma

Dear 4everYoursEmma,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me. I'm sorry I couldn't respond to you earlier, as I was quite busy milking Milky-White. It's so hard to believe that not long ago, she was as dry as dust!

Now, I believe you asked me how old I am. As a matter of fact, I am fifteen years old. I, personally, feel that I'm a man now and old enough to be treated like one. However, like you pointed out, my mother does treat me quite like a child, no matter how many times I try to tell her that I'm a man now. It looks as if no matter how old I ever get, I'll always be "a little boy in my mother's eyes," as she likes to say. I'm not sure exactly why she insists on treating me like this, but I do have one idea. You see, years ago my father left home, for what reason I don't remember anymore and my mother does not want to remind me. He never came back. Ever since then, Mother has acted very overprotective of me; always telling me what to do, never listening to anything I have to say, talking about me as if I weren't around and refusing to take me seriously. She also lost her beauty around then and as we became poorer, she became more desperate and ruthless in her fight not to starve. I think that is why I sometimes act a bit like a child- I've never really had a man's experiences, although I've tried to convince Mother I'm ready to give them a try. I don't have much sense because I haven't had much opportunity to develop it- Mother rarely trusts me with anything! As a matter of fact, I'm surprised she sent me out to sell Milky White when it was obvious she thought she'd be able to do a better job of it herself. Even when I finally saved us from poverty with the hen and the gold pieces, she still underestimated me. She probably thought I'd only had a bit of dumb luck. So, I think I am old enough to be a man, but I'm really not one yet. I don't really know how to be, but I know I could learn. Still, things could have been worse; I could have had Rapunzel's mother!

Thank you for your question; I just hope I was able to answer it!

-Jack.