Esmeralda, a wizened old lady, stamped her foot and screamed.
‘I don’t want to live here. ‘It’s too dark and dingy. Build me a new house.’
Happy and Willing, her daughter and son, heard her order and looked at each other in horror. Over the years she had set them many difficult tasks but this was the hardest.
‘What a lot of work that’ll be,’ said Happy.
‘It’ll take years,’ said Willing, ‘but we must try.’
The next day they set about learning how to build a house. Happy went to the council to get permission for the new house and Willing started drawing up first plans. At the end of the day they told their mother all about what they’d done.
‘I want my new house now, not next year!’ she shouted at them.
Happy and Willing went away feeling sad but soon Happy said, ‘Don’t worry Willing, mother will be over the moon when she sees the new house.’
At this Willing smiled.
‘I’ll put in some extra big windows so she’ll have lots of light,’ he said.
The next day they told Esmeralda all they had achieved.
‘I’ve managed to get a good architect who will draw up the detailed plans,’ said Happy.
‘And I found a builder who’ll do the building,’ said Willing.
‘You’re both so slow and incompetent,’ moaned Esmeralda. ‘Why was I burdened with such dim-witted children?’
And so it went on. Every day Happy and Willing worked hard to sort out their mother’s new house and every evening she said unkind words to them, but in spite of this they carried on until the new house was ready.
‘Come mother,’ said Happy. ‘Your new house is waiting for you. It’s beautiful and has wonderful bright windows.’
‘It’s about time,’ said Esmeralda ‘I’ve waited long enough.’
She stood up and shuffled along the path to her new house. Happy and Willing were very excited. The house looked beautiful. It was bright and spacious and they had decorated it with care. Anyone would be pleased to live there but when Esmeralda saw it she didn’t smile.
‘I’ve waited all this time for this. Is this the new wonder house that you’ve both wittered on about for the last year? Why it’s cold and horrid. I hate it. The windows are so big everyone will be able to look in.’ she said.
Happy looked across at her brother. ‘Was that a tear that glistened on his cheek?’ she thought.
‘Why mother, I know just the thing that will put things right. Just wait here,’ she said.
And with that she linked arms with Willing and guided him out of the beautiful building they had created together.
‘Where are we going? asked Willing.
‘Brother we’ve done everything we can to make our Mother comfortable and content, but nothing has worked. Now it’s time to let her keep her own company for a while.’ Happy pulled an envelope from her bag, ‘We are going to travel the world with these tickets and see all the places we’ve never seen.’
Willing looked at the tickets carefully and then as all the misery they had shouldered for so long, fell away; they both smiled and ran away into the distance.
So, dear reader, if someone does you a kindness, smile and say thank you. Don’t close your heart and allow misery to reign, for the children of kindness may disappear like a raindrop in the sunshine.