What do you think?
The first part of this story is about two small boys. Let me tell you a little about them. They could have the same names as you or else very different ones. I don’t know as they couldn’t tell me.
They were both about nine years of age. They were friends but, sadly, both were orphans. In case you do not know, orphans are children whose parents have both died. These two boys lived in a very poor part of a large country. They now had no home, no one to look after them, no one to provide clothes and no one to prepare any food.
During each day they picked up bits of material, paper, metal and such like on the large rubbish tip nearby. They put these into a big plastic bag they had found. By evening, just before it became too dark to see, they shared the load as they helped each other to carry the bag into the nearest street.
A man who lived in that street was very kind, and, though he was also poor and had little food for himself and his family, he usually agreed to take what they had collected and would give them both a small plate of cooked rice to eat. They had no fun, no toys, no play, and no one to love them. They had only days and weeks of walking on other people’s rubbish to try to find something they could exchange for food. So, they lived from day to day.
I say ‘lived’ but I do not think it could be called proper ‘living’, do you? They had no possessions. If you looked you would see quite clearly that they had nothing at all.
Yet, these two boys had something very special, something that no one had given them. Even in their distress, they had love and kindness in their hearts. They cared for each other and each worked for food for his friend as much as for himself. Each one watched so that there were no snakes, rats or dogs to harm the other. They shared everything that they had. They helped each other. They stayed together and never argued or fought.
For some people even having everything is never enough. They always want more.
But for these two boys, though they had nothing yet, in a very different way, they had everything.
In most countries in the world there are people who are rich and people who are poor, but in some countries in the world there are people who are very, very, very rich and some who are very, very, very poor.
In the same country as the two boys, there lived a very, very, very rich man. He was like a king and lived in a big palace, which had over one hundred bedrooms, most of which were ornately decorated and furnished, but empty. He had not seen many of the rooms for years. The palace had large grounds. Even if the weather was very hot and dry his lawns were watered and the fountains flowed. At night, his grounds were lit with lanterns to make a spectacular and magical sight. He had many servants. He had a lot of friends who were also very rich.
Even in the kitchens of the palace there were a lot of people, some would prepare the food and some, who were more skilled, would cook. Can you believe that sometimes, for special occasions, he would have two sets of cooks, so that if the food was spoiled in the cooking by one set, the other could provide the food? Why? Well, he always liked his food to be the best that could possibly be provided and it must be cooked to absolute perfection. He fed his servants well and they all were very pleased to work for him and, he gave work to many.
He had everything anyone could possibly want. He had food in abundance, yet, should there be a small mistake in any food that was prepared, even for one meal, it would not be eaten at his table.
I have to ask a question. Why, in any country, are there children who have nothing to eat and no one to care for them, while there are adults who have so much in excess that they have not only a lot to spare, but also a lot to waste?
That answer lies in people’s hearts.
I do not judge this rich man, no, not at all, as I do not know him. It is not bad to be rich. What he does with his money and what he eats is for him to decide. He could help many, as many rich people do, or he could ignore others who are needy. It may be that, by being so fussy about his food, he gave another twenty or thirty cooks work which allowed them to feed their families. Who can know and who can tell?
He has ‘choice’.
We all have choice.
You have choice. Wherever and whoever you are, you choose how you behave. You see, it is how we behave, whether we are rich or poor, which is most important. The best way to behave is to be kind.
But, you know, even as I looked around, I could find no true beauty in the amazing, big, and ornate palace, nor in the brightly coloured silks and satins in the rooms, nor in the green lawns and fountains, nor in the perfect food of the very, very, very rich man.
Yet, I saw a glimpse of pure beauty, like a small light, shining in the hearts of those two small boys. They had absolutely nothing and lived in the most desperate way, but even in those circumstances they showed care for and kindness to each other every day.
If you can picture those two scenes, what do you think? If you were one of the two boys, or the very, very, very rich man, what would you be like?
This story, and others, along with poems, songs, and many pages of interest eg unusual pets, growing vegetables for children can be found on my website, especially for children at Primary School Poems