(This is a story I wrote years ago, slightly edited.)
Once there was a milkmaid who went from farm to farm looking for a job. Again and again she was told, “No, thank you, we don’t need a milkmaid.”
When she came to the very last farmhouse, the milkmaid was so desperate for a job that she told the farmer and his wife, “I can do something no other milkmaid in the world can do.”
“And what is that?” asked the farmer.
“Well,” replied the milkmaid, “I can make bad cream good again.”
“I never heard of such a thing!” exclaimed the farmer’s wife. “Nobody can make bad cream good again!”
“Nobody except me,” said the milkmaid.
She was hired.
One morning, the cream was bad. It pulled the farmer’s wife’s chair right out from under her. Fortunately, the farmer was able to catch her before she was hurt.
“Well,” said the farmer, “now’s your chance to prove that you really can make bad cream good again.”
The milkmaid was worried, because, if the truth must be told, she had no idea how to make bad cream good again. However, she had no choice but to try.
“That was very naughty,” she said severely. “I want you to apologize at once.”
For answer, that bad cream stuck out its tongue.
“I thought you said you could make bad cream good again,” sniffed the farmer’s wife.
The milkmaid answered, “Some cream is more difficult.”
As the day wore on, that bad cream grew worse and worse. It blew soap bubbles with the farmer’s best pipe. It opened the knickknack cabinet, and smashed a vase that the farmer’s wife had treasured for years.
“Shame on you!” scolded the milkmaid. “Now you just go stand in the corner.”
But, of course, that bad cream did no such thing. Instead, it ran outside and began pulling up the gardens, both flower and vegetable, which the farmer and his wife had planted.
The milkmaid decided to try bribery, and promised to buy the bad cream anything it wanted, if only it would be good.
For answer, the bad cream pulled the farmer’s wife’s washing off the clothesline, and threw it into the pigsty.
And so it went all day. The cream grew naughtier and naughtier, until at last the milkmaid had to admit that she couldn’t make bad cream good again.
She was fired.
The milkmaid went upstairs to her bedroom and began packing. The cream followed her.
“Somebody got fired! Somebody got fired! Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, somebody got fired!” the cream sing-songed tauntingly.
That, as the saying goes, was the last straw. The milkmaid was furious.
“That does it!” she said, and she picked up her hairbrush, sat on the bed, turned the bad cream over her lap, and gave it a good spanking.
“OW! OW!” yelled the cream. “Please stop! OW! I’ll be good! OW! I promise! OW!”
The milkmaid took the cream downstairs to reconcile with the farmer and his wife for its bad behavior. The cream apologized meekly, and promised to behave from then on.
So the milkmaid kept her job after all.
After that, the cream was good, most of the time!
And that is how whipped cream was invented.