The Poison Berry
“I hate you. I hate you.” Little Leo’s hands are covering his ears. He is jumping up and down, repeating the same words, again and again to the frightened girl in front of him.
“I don’t do anything, Leo.” The girl murmurs with a scared look on her face. Her lips are trembling, and her cheeks are flushed red. The impact of Leo’s harsh words is there in her eyes — tears.
“I HATE YOU. Go away, ugly-Kelly.” He yells again and the girl standing in front of him moves back with a sniffle.
His mother has been watching his temper tantrum for a minute now and then she stands up and pull Kelly away from Leo.
Kelly’s eyes are red and her pout is big.
“Leo, honey? What’s the matter?” His mother pats his head. He points at Kelly and starts bouncing again.
“She is the matter. She is not my friend.” He replies with a stubborn frown.
“Bye auntie.” Kelly, the girl in pink frock waves and walks away, still sniffing.
“Leo, come here and sit.” The boy obeys with a sulk.
“Why are you screaming at Kelly?” Instead of beating him and yelling at him, she smiles at him gently.
“Because I hate her.”
“Do you want to hear a story?” His mom pulls him close. He nods enthusiastically and leans his head over her shoulders.
“Once upon a time, there lived two squirrels – Bill and Board. While Bill squirrel was kind and generous, Board was rude and hurtful. One day Bill asked Board ‘Board, I am going to go on a journey to my grandparent’s house. Do you want to join me?’
“‘Yes I will go with you.’ Board agreed. The two friends started their journey. They first crossed a tall mango tree. In the tree, there lived an old crow. ‘Two squirrels, so young and lively, can you bring me nuts and fruits to eat?’ Bill agreed to bring the food, while Board sneered. ‘Why should I help you, old crow? I hate you.’” His mother stops. Leo looks at her with his small eyes.
“Who do you like most, little boy?”
“Bill.” The boy answers and leans his head on his mom’s shoulders. “What next?” The boy asks with interest.
His mother continues, “The old crow was happy when Bill brought it food and presented bill with a bag of peanuts. The two squirrels continued the journey and this time they crossed a dessert. The dessert was hot and under the ground, a sick rodent lived. When the rodent saw the squirrels it asked, ‘Two little squirrels, will you bring me a little water?’ Bill helped the rodent, while Broad taunted, ‘You are going to die. Why do you need water?’
“This continued and now Bill had a bag filled with gifts from various animals, while Board had nothing. They stayed and ate at the grandma’s house. ‘Why don’t you have any gifts, Broad?’ The Grandma Squirrel asked. ‘I don’t want to help anyone. I hate them.’ Board answered.
“‘Do you like to eat this?’ The Grandma showed a poison berry. Broad laughed, ‘Why would I eat something that makes me die?’ The Grandma said, ‘Then why are you eating hatred? When you hate people, your heart dies every day. It becomes black and no one will like you back. They will hate you if you hate them. That is the reason why Bill has so many gifts and you have none. The impact of cruel words… Is severe on yourself, later.’”
“She then shows him the strawberries. ‘Do you like it?’ Board nodded. ‘Love and kind words are like the strawberries. Pleasant and good to eat. It will enrich you and sweeten your soul.’”
His mother looks at him. “Do you like the poison berry, little boy?” The boy shakes his head, “Do you want to die eating it?”
Leo stands up and runs away. He reaches Kelly’s house and finds the small girl in the garden.
“I am sorry Kelly. Let us play together.”