In honor of International Children’s Day, I decided to share a children’s story I wrote. Don’t forget to be a child at heart and celebrate the beautiful spring days!
Once upon a time, in a town that has long been gone, there lived a people, looking pretty much like us except for one little detail: their hearts were visible, on the outside, attached to their bodies.
People living in this country were evaluated according to the worth of their hearts. Most of those hearts, you see, were made out of metal. “Most” does not sound exactly right, as there was in fact only one person who did not have a metal heart: a wooden girl. Among all those people with hearts of precious metals like gold or silver, our little Woodie—that’s what we’ll call her, since no one bothered to learn her name—was an ultimate outcast.
It is important for you to know that those metal hearts did not reflect the beauty or purity of their owners. Having a golden heart instead of a silver one was purely a coincidence; yet it was always a source of pride to possess one. Now you know why it was so hard for Woodie to live in that town, because even “those low-ranking bronzies” would make fun of her: “Who would ever have a wooden heart, you little freak? Surely you are a disgrace to our people. “
Little Woodie would cry and cry, but there was none to comfort her. I’m sure some of the townspeople were sympathetic toward her, yet they did not dare to be of any help. The Mayor strictly forbade them to be “friendly” with “that wooden girl,” since he did not want her to infect other people. She was given a small cabin on the outskirts of the town. She was not allowed to leave and go elsewhere, as anyone would be able to figure out where she came from. People from all the other towns envied this blessed town and paid a lot of money to see the houses there, but seeing her would change everything—at least that’s what the Mayor thought, and so Woodie was allowed to go out only during an off-tourist day of the week.
Despite these mistreatments, her wooden heart was still alive, but it was becoming crustier with every passing day. She was not hostile toward the town that was ashamed of her, but beneath that crustiness, her heart was fragile and sad. Very sad. Little did she know that life in the city was about to change, and her own life was about to be happier than she could have possibly imagined.
The changes started to occur with rumors that the Mayor was ill. Apparently, to make his golden heart look more beautiful and shiny, he used adornments that were toxic to his body without realizing that he was killing himself. The town dwellers were horrified by this turn of events. They started to worry about their own lives. When it became clear that the Mayor was too ill to continue in his position, the people of the city unanimously chose his son, Richard, to be the new mayor. This well-bred, golden-hearted young man had been educated at one of the best schools in the country. When he learned that his father was sick, he rushed back to the town, ready to take responsibility for the place he had spent his childhood in.
One of his first actions after assuming his new post was to cancel the general tourism days during which every house in the town had been open to visitors. He gave those who still wanted to do this permission to continue, but he knew that this appearance-based existence was slowly killing the townspeople.
Then, one day, Richard saw Woodie. It was the first time he had seen a person like her, and he seemed astonished at this secret the town had been keeping for so long. His heart broke for her after he learned her story, and he ran to her to apologize. Woodie did not know who this young man was, but it was the first time anyone had ever cared for her. She started crying, and as the tears dropped onto her heart, one of the crusty pieces fell off and revealed a green sprout! It was a miracle! But miracles, you see, happen with every act of kindness. Richard’s good nature had initiated this one.
From that point on, Woodie was the favorite of the town. As she received love from the people around her, that wooden heart started to bloom with happiness and joy. Certainly, it was easily damaged compared to the others’ hearts, but it was also mendable. With every restorative gesture, her heart looked less and less plain. The crustiness and gloominess were no longer to be seen. As Woodie laughed, a delicate fragrance of flowers filled the room, as if her heart carried spring within itself. She was not only joyful, she was radiant.
When the time came for Woodie to step into the other world, neither she nor Richard was in poor spirits. It had been a beautiful journey, and they had been very lucky to travel together. After she passed away, her dear husband took her heart and planted it on a hill, where it sprouted and grew to become the lilac tree that sends forth her fragrance to envelop our beautiful spring evenings. Next time you pass a lilac tree, make sure to say hi to Woodie. I’m sure she’ll be very happy.