When Thing and his parents lived in the cave, it was their custom to paint pictures on the walls about what they had done that day. The cave was covered with stories; some new, some from many years before, and Thing would spend hours looking at them.
When Thing’s father left and then his mother, Thing continued to paint the pictures on the wall, knowing that someday they would return and see how he had spent his time.
Then one day - and Thing was sure if it was because of the sadness that came to visit him from time to time - he didn’t feel like painting on the wall anymore and so put away the brushes for good.
Instead he found a little animal that lived at the back of the cave and he told it all the stories of the day he had just spent.
“And the teacher said that I was the best in the class for listening,” and if the little animal was interested or if it wasn’t, it was hard to tell as it scurried about the dark parts of the cave looking for food.
Then one night, when the sun was setting, and the little animal was nowhere to be found, Thing found a pen and paper and started to write his stories down. Because he knew that when his family returned he would be able to read those stories to them.
One day when Thing got home he realised that nothing much had happened to him that particular day and he wondered what he could write about. That was when thing decided to make a story up in his head about a pretend day.
The story started ‘One day…’, because Thing felt that was how all stories should start. It told of the day that Thing came home from school and he found that his mother and father were waiting on him. They hugged and held him and promised him that they would never leave. Thing loved that story and decided to take it to school with him so that he could read it when he was feeling sad.
At break, he sat in a quiet corner where he would disturb no one and he took out his story that started ‘One day….’ and he read it all the way through. It was just as he was putting the story away that it was snatched from his hands.
“Lookie here what weird kid has written. Aw, he misses him Mom and Dad. Well ain’t that a shame,” and the kid ran off with the story, laughing and joking.
Thing went to class and said nothing. At the back of the room, two kids who had now got hold of Thing’s story, were laughing and repeating some of the words that Thing had written.
The teacher went to find out what was the source of all the noise and took the story from them. She returned to her desk and read it.
“Does anyone know whose this is?” Holding the paper up.
The boys pointed to Thing.
“This is really very good, Thing, very good indeed. Come and see me at the end of the class. “
At the end of the lesson the kids all left except for Thing, who assumed that he was to be punished for writing a story.
“I think this is brilliant, “ said the teacher. “And in future I should like to read any stories that you have.”
Thing thanked the teacher. She asked if she could take it home to read again and then she held his hand and said:
“I know those boys were laughing at your story but it is only fear. They are scared of activities that they can’t do themselves. There is bound to be some stuff that they can do, that you can’t. That is life. However, just because people laugh or criticise what you do, doesn’t mean that they are right and you are wrong; if everyone did the same things, thought the same way - what a boring world it would be. As long as there is one person who attempts or believes something different, then that immediately means that there are at least two truths - they are not right and you are not wrong. “
And with that, Thing walked away happy and was already thinking of another story he would write that evening.
bobby stevenson 2013