Miriam was a jealous little girl. Her family was rather poor so her parents couldn’t afford new toys. She would often feel envious of the other children’s dolls and pretty dresses. She felt that her own toys were drab and not as shiny which made her feel even more resentful towards the others. She’d often even say unkind (and often untrue) things to the others just to make herself feel better.
When Sally brought along her beautiful doll who wore a blue frock and had blue eyes, all the girls admired the pretty little thing. Not Miriam! She said to Sally, “What an ugly doll! I wouldn’t touch her!”. Sally felt shocked and hurt.
When Dora wore a new white skirt, Miriam spitefully dropped ink from her fountain pen on it, pretending like it was an accident. That was a really bad thing to do! Dora said in dismay, “Oh! How my mother will scold me now! She’d asked me to be very careful and not to spoil the skirt!”
When Dilan brought his new little pug puppy, she laughed unkindly and said, “That’s the ugliest pup I’ve seen!”. Dilan went red with anger, for, he thought his dear little pup was the cutest thing on the planet.
Saying these unkind things didn’t feel good to Miriam. She often felt bad when she thought about the things she said to the others. But she couldn’t help it! She felt that if she admired what the others had, she’d feel even more envious. She didn’t want to feel worse about not having nicer toys herself.
The other children gave Miriam a wide berth. No one played with her. During recess, they didn’t include her in any of the games. They did not like her at all! Who likes people who say unkind things to them?
Though she put on a brave front and acted as if she couldn’t care less, Miriam secretly wished they’d be nicer to her. She really wanted the others to like her! She felt lonely while playing all by herself. How she wished she was able to play with the new toys the other children had!
One day, Miriam’s mother came home earlier than usual from work and found her looking rather sad.
“What’s wrong, darling”, her mother asked.
“It’s nothing”, said Miriam, brightening up seeing that her mother was home early.
“Please tell me. I know something is off. What’s going on?”, said her mother, seating her daughter on her lap.
“The other children don’t like me, mummy. No one plays with me. They have so many toys that I really like too”, she murmured, her eyes downcast.
She waited for Miriam to give more details. None came. Her mother was a tactful woman; she sensed a certain hesitancy in her demeanour about talking more. She knew that it was wise not to make her daughter uncomfortable by asking more questions when she was already feeling so down.
Instead, she said, “You know, Miriam, you can always share your things with them. Whether or not they are friendly towards you, you can be friendly towards them. Who knows, they might want to be friends with you then!
Remember, you can receive only when you give. Be nice to them. Be kind to them. Be open hearted and share. You’ll see that people will start becoming warm towards you too.”
She stared wide-eyed at her mother. “Really, mummy, if I’m nice to them do you think they will let me play with their toys?”, she asked.
Her mother said, “Something even better will happen, dear. You’ll make new friends. That’s way more important than toys”.
Miriam wasn’t a bad child at heart. She loved her mother very much and took her words seriously! So the next morning, she went to Sally and said, “Sally, I’m sorry about the unkind words I said about your pretty doll. I shouldn’t have said that. I know that you love to draw. I’d like to give you this yellow pencil as an apology. It’s a little old, but it’s nice and sharp.”
Sally shook her head. She was still hurt by what Miriam had said about her doll! But this gesture did make her heart a little warm. Miriam felt a little bad but she just smiled at Sally.
She went up to Dora and said, “I’m sorry that I spilled ink on your white dress, Dora. That wasn’t nice of me to do that. I’ll never do that again!”. Dora, being a very forgiving girl, smiled at Miriam and accepted the apology.
Later that day, she found Dilan and said to him, “I’m sorry, Dilan, for making fun of your little pup the other day”. Dilan was taken aback because he’d not expected Miriam to apologize to him. “It’s alright”, he said. “The next time you bring him, will you let me play with him?”, she asked. He nodded and said, “yes, if you promise to be nice to him. I love him very much!”.
“Oh I will, I definitely will!”, said Miriam earnestly. Dilan smiled at her. Miriam felt thrilled!
Slowly, Miriam turned into a new person. She was nicer to others, had compliments to give, smiled easily, and shared her own toys and belongings whenever possible. Slowly but surely, the others started liking her and even playing with her. They said, “Why, Miriam is a nice girl! She’s definitely turned over a new leaf!”. Miriam was thrilled.
But do you know what made her the happiest? Somehow, miraculously, her jealousy first reduced and then was gone. Now whenever she sees someone get a new toy, she feels happy for them! And she makes sure that she’s nice and always shares in an open-hearted manner…because that’s when she feels like she has a lot to give and doesn’t feel the need to feel jealous! Isn’t that nice?