Sophia had a big problem. She loved to bake.
You don’t think that’s a problem? Well, let’s take a look at the numbers.
In one day, Sophia baked 60 cupcakes, 48 cookies, 3 giant wedding cakes, and enough éclairs for everyone in her village to have two.
It took Sophia only three days to fill the kitchen with pastries. It took only three more to fill the sitting room, the bedroom, and even the porch!
Sophia knew she had a lot of baked goods on her hands. (She lives in her house. She’s seen the piles.) So, every day, she brought a huge basket of desserts to the village center to give away. She was popular. Villagers would spot her walking and shout:
“Helloooo, Sophia! Any snickerdoodles in your basket?”
“Sophia, I love your caramel-cream cupcakes. Did you bring any?”
“Any pies with you today? I am craving pie.”
Because Sophia baked so much, she usually had what people were in the mood for. “Please enjoy your dessert,” she would say, “courtesy of Super-Sweet Sophia!”
Sophia kept this up for weeks. Baking, sharing, eating, repeat. But she always seemed to bake more than she could give away. And as time went on, it seemed as if her friends wanted desserts less and less often.
“That’s OK,” she said. “I’ll just make different sweets.”
Sophia experimented with new flavors and textures—84 crème brûlées, 120 mini fruit tarts, and one 12-layer cake.
No one wanted any.
She tried another tactic. “I’ll bake only the classic desserts everyone loves,” she said. And she did—108 chocolate-chip cookies, 144 brownies, and 168 vanilla cupcakes.
But people weren’t loving them today.
“Is it chocolate they want?” She baked 276 chocolate-frosted chocolate cupcakes filled with chocolate pudding.
Nobody took one.
“What is going on?!” Sophia cried, throwing up her hands (as well as the cupcakes that were in them). The villagers looked uncomfortably at one another. In the silence, the cupcakes plopped to the ground like large squishy raindrops.
“Look,” Dave, the blacksmith, finally said, “we’re stuffed!”
Sophia was shocked. “I thought you loved the treats.”
“Oh, don’t worry. We did,” Dave said. “But too much of a good thing is still too much.”
Sophia slowly nodded. Then she turned and walked home.
Over the following days, Sophia donated what food she could to the local shelter. She cleaned the house from top to bottom. She didn’t bake a thing.
Eventually, life was back to the way it was before her baking days. Sophia sat in the kitchen and sighed. “I haven’t baked in so long,” she said. “It must be out of my system now.”
She glanced at her mixing bowl gleaming on the counter.
“Who am I kidding?” she exclaimed. “I miss baking so much! What will I do?”
Just then, someone knocked on Sophia’s door.
It was the queen’s steward! “Good morning,” he said. “Are you Super-Sweet Sophia?”
“I am,” Sophia replied.
“Wonderful! The Winter Festival is tomorrow. But the queen’s bakers are sick with the flu. I’ve heard you can bake in big numbers. Could you bake at least 300 desserts by morning? If you help, the queen will offer you a position as a royal baker.”
Sophia couldn’t have stopped her grin if she tried. “Did you say 300? Easy as pie!”
They shook hands, and the relieved steward left Sophia to her work.
Sophia couldn’t believe her luck. Her—a royal baker! Just think of all the desserts she could create! Still grinning, she reached for her mixing bowl and tied on her apron. “OK,” she said. “Let’s get baking.”