Friday, June 17, 2011


Once, there was a little girl whose parents loved her very much. They loved her so much, in fact, that they worked very hard to protect her from all the things about her that were bad. Over and over they corrected those bad habits and punished her so that she would learn to only be the good version of herself.

By the time the girl reached twelve, her parents had made much progress with her. So much progress, in fact, that she was allowed to work outside of her home and, when going out of town, they felt very comfortable letting her stay home while they and her younger sisters went away for a weekend. Making sure to leave her with careful instructions and money to purchase food, away they went for a merry break, waving goodbye as they drove away.

Once alone, however, the girl began to remember stories she'd heard of things that could happen to children without their parents and her fear of the dark, previously quieted by the parents' warnings rushed back. All houses make noises and, as the sun sank lower in the sky, she became more and more aware of ones she'd never noticed before. Before evening could set in, she had formed a plan so that she could have some company for the night. Another family lived nearby with three little daughters who, although some years younger than her, were often quite friendly to the girl. She decided to invite the oldest of these girls to her home and, for the young neighbor's help with household chores, shared with her some of the money her parents had left her. The night passed quite pleasantly, with the two girls sharing food and watching movies.

By the time her parents had returned home, the girl had forgotten her fears and was looking forward to seeing her family again. As they brought in their luggage and remarked on how clean the home was, her parents' smiles faded, hearing the tale of what she had done with the money they entrusted her with. They knew that all of the badness they had worked so hard to remove from her character was making a reappearance and, quietly, it was decided that the girl's mother would discuss this with the girl alone.

When the time was right, and the girl's sweet younger sisters safely away, her mother spoke to her, to discover exactly what she had done while they were away. "What did you do," she asked, "to the neighbor child? Why did you need to give her the money we trusted you with?" The girl, frightened of both her bad nature resurfacing and her mother's angry disappointment, averred that she had done nothing but simply wished not to be alone for the time they were gone, a statement that was clearly not true and that her mother swept aside immediately, determined to root out the evil in her child. Again and again, she sought the details of her daughter's wrongdoing but was finally forced to unwillingly abandon her questions as the willful child turned to tears and silence.

She remained, however, watchful for further signs of wrongdoing until, with patience and effort, it became less and less necessary. For, with time, the girl became able to take over what her parents had begun. They congratulated themselves, then, on their success and were able to breathe much more easily.

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