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Friday, March 09, 2007

The Boy With No Candy - a children’s story

Category: Issue 6, Short Story Winners

In the land of beautiful children there was much merriment and play. All the children would hold hands and dance around the beautiful flowers. And they would sing songs and play games. And they would eat the fruits and nuts from the never-ending bowl, and they would all bring candy to share with one another as a treat. They dressed in beautiful colorful clothing, and they all wore new shoes.

One day a new boy came to watch them play. But his clothes were all raggedy and torn and dirty; and he was not good-looking like all the other little children were. They saw him as they danced and played their games, but no one said anything. They could tell that he was different, not like them; and that was a surprise to them, to see someone who was different, not beautiful or wearing pretty clothes. They seemed unsure of what to do, but they thought if they just ignored him and didn’t look at him or his dirty clothes then maybe he’d go away. After a while the new boy went away.

But the next day he came back and watched the beautiful children playing again. The children all saw him there standing quietly by himself, and then one of them said “do you want to join us?” “Yes” he replied. Then another child spoke up. “Did you bring candy?” she asked. Her name was Morita, and she wasn’t as smart as some of the others, but she made up for it by carefully memorizing all the rules. That way if someone forgot or didn’t follow one of the rules, Morita would quickly remind them; and that made her feel like she was just as smart as the others.

“I have no candy” said the new boy. “Then you can’t play” replied Morita “those are the rules.” The new boy watched them for a while and then went away again. Some of the other children were not so sure of how Morita had handled this, but they didn’t say anything because she was the one who always reminded everyone of the rules. And no one wanted to challenge her, because then she might find some rule that they had broken. So it was best to leave her alone.

The next day the beautiful children were all playing again, all dancing and singing around the beautiful flowers. And again the new boy came to watch them, quietly standing by himself a short distance away. And as the children saw him there again, they were no longer surprised by his presence or by his ugly tattered clothes or even by his homely appearance. They stopped singing and playing for a moment and looked at him. They were uncertain of what they should do. But finally one of them said “why don’t you bring some candy? Then you could play with us.”

“I don’t have any” replied the new boy. “Why not?” asked another of the beautiful children. This seemed to interest all the children, and they walked toward the new boy, trying to find a way to understand him. “Why do you wear such ugly clothes?” asked one of the beautiful children as they came nearer. “Yeah” said another child “and why are you so…” then she stopped herself in mid-sentence and blushed but hastily added “why don’t you get some candy from your mother?” “Or your father?” asked another child. “Or bring some from home” said another.

As they surrounded the new boy they were surprised now to find out that not only was he not a good-looking child, and that his clothes were even uglier and dirtier than they had appeared in the distance, but also he didn’t smell good. In fact he smelled bad, and this was something very strange to the beautiful children. They had never known a child to smell bad, and all they could think of was that it was somehow like the garbage that people threw out. That was what the new boy smelled like to them. The beautiful children didn’t know what to make of this, but one of them asked “why don’t your parents take better care of you?”

“I don’t have any” replied the new boy. “Where’s your father?” asked one of the boys. “I don’t have a father” said the new boy. “Why not?” they asked. “I never did” he said, unable to explain it to them. “Well then, what about your mother?” asked one of the girls. “She’s in prison” said the new boy. It seemed to the beautiful children that the new boy was nothing but problems and troubles, but being children, they persisted, trying to find the bright side to things. “So who do you live with” they asked him “where is your home.” “I don’t have one” he said. “I used to live with relatives, after my mom went away; but the occupational army killed them and then bulldozed our house.”

The beautiful children were not familiar with geo-political issues, but they were an optimistic bunch of kids. “You can come and stay with us” said one boy. “Yeah” said a little girl “and my mom can be your mom.” “And my dad can be your dad” said another. “And you can take a bath” they told him “and get some clean clothes.” “And bring some candy” said Morita. The new boy was amazed by their responses. “You are all so good” he told them “so generous and kind; but you must understand, no one could ever give back all that has been taken away from me.”

Posted by Mikael Covey on 03/09 at 05:24 PM | Permalink
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