Salim was a hardworking little pixie. You would find him working away in his little paint shop day and night. He tried to be as efficient as possible; he had a little red magic timer that would tell him when the time for a particular activity was up! And he’d jump right into the next activity without wasting so much as a moment! He had about twenty tasks to do in a day that he’d write on a blackboard behind his desk before he left his paint shop at night. Next to each task, he’d draw a little square box. His task list read something like this:
- Paint Billy’s toy red
- Write a thank-you note to Mrs. Edlemann
- Paint Mr. Sam’s wooden table
- Varnish Eddy’s floor
Each time he finished a task, he’d put a nice, large tick mark in the box against it. His chest would swell with pride each time he did that! It gave him great satisfaction when he checked off all twenty checkboxes at the end of the day.
“Good job, Salim!”, he’s say to himself. “Very good job indeed. You worked hard today and finished all the twenty tasks!”
However, if the timer went off before he completed a task, he was unhappy. His ears would droop and he’d tell himself. “Go faster, Salim! You can’t fall behind! Get this toy car painted in 10 minutes instead of 20! Don’t drag yourself so now!”. The days he completed 19 out of the 20 tasks, he would be miserable. He’d trudge back home feeling like he had failed himself. Funny fellow, wasn’t he?
But mind you, Salim got a lot of work done every day! But he wasn’t happy because he didn’t have any fun and was often tired working so hard. People liked the quirky little pixie because he was humble, hardworking, and did a magnificent job. They’d often invite him to stay for tea or a snack after he’d helped them with some paint job.
One day, as he finished helping Mrs. Fairweather with painting her fence, she said, “Salim, why don’t you join my husband and me for a cup of tea? I’ve made some apple cinnamon tea cake too which I think you’d really enjoy!”
Salim’s eyes lit up in delight. But then he remembered all the tasks he needed to finish and shook his head saying, “That’s lovely of you to offer, Ma’am. Unfortunately, I have lots to do today and I won’t be able to stay”.
Mrs. Fairweather smiled sadly. The poor little pixie pushed himself just too hard, she thought!
“Here, at least take this tea cake with you. It will keep your energy up as you go about your business”, she said, pressing a piece of cake in his hand.
“Thank you, Mrs. Fairweather”, said Salim gratefully, already hurrying out of the house to do his next task.
Salim’s friends, Jake and Lily, felt bad for him.
“Poor Salim works so hard”, said Lily. “He’s always on the go, working and working! He never has any fun. He has a harried look on his face so many times. It makes me sad.”
“Yes! He should learn to relax just a little bit and have more joy in his life. We should help him”, said Jake.
Lily’s eyes lit up. “Oh, do let’s trick him into joining us for a day at the river! We’ll have so much fun! We can splash water on each other, have a nice picnic, and play board games!”, she said.
“That’s a great plan!”, said Jake. “But how do we get Salim to join us? He does so like his work and hates getting away from it even for a bit.”
Lily furrowed her brows thoughtfully. “He’ll have to think of this as an important work to do. That’s the only way he’ll come! But how do we spin this as ‘work’?”
“I know how!”, exclaimed Jake excitedly. “Salim looks up to the Druid, doesn’t he? He goes to him for advice all the time! What if we speak to the Druid to set Salim the task of taking a day off? He can ask Salim to report back on how it impacts his mood. That way, Salim will dutifully take this task on! He will also have to acknowledge how good this will be for him!”
“That’s a very clever idea, Jake! Teehee, I can’t wait to try this on him! Let’s go find the Druid!”, said Lily. Off they went to the Druid’s home at the bottom of the tallest Eucalyptus tree in Pixieville. The Druid was a funny old man who wore a long purple robe and had beard and hair that touched the floor!
“Hello, Druid”, said Jake once they were inside the Druid’s cozy little home. The Druid was busy studying a large book called Healing secrets of unicorn horns. How exciting!
“Well, hello there, Jake and Lily”, said the Druid looking up and smiling at the two pixies. “How may I help you today?”, he asked.
“Hello, Druid! Jake and I have the most splendid idea! We have observed that poor Salim works so hard but never has any fun! We think that with your help, we would be able to get him to take a day off to play with us by the riverside! We’ll have a nice picnic, play in the river, and play a few board games! We think it will do him a lot of good”, said Lily breathlessly in her excitement to share the idea with the Druid.
“Hmm. That’s a very good idea indeed. How do you propose that I help with this?”, asked the Druid feeling excited about the plan too.
“We’d love for you to set the task for Salim to take a day off! Ask him to tell you how he feels at the end of a day of having fun with us. That would both force him to take a day off and have fun as well as admit to you that is did him a world of good!”, said Jake almost jumping up and down with excitement!
“That’s a clever idea! Well done, little pixies! I will call for Salim right away and ask him to take a day off. He respects me and never turns my suggestions down. So I’m sure that he will say yes to this!”, said the Druid.
“Thank you, Druid! We’ll talk to Salim tomorrow once you’ve had a chance to speak with him”, said Jake. Lily and he scurried off to plan the fun day!
The Druid sent fluffy the rabbit to bring Salim to him. Salim hurried over, curious to hear what the Druid had to say to him.
“Hello, dear Druid. Did you want to see me?”, asked Salim.
“Come in, Salim! Yes, I wanted to meet you. I have a task for you”, said the Druid, peering over his spectacles at the eager little pixie in front of him. “I’d like you to take this Saturday completely off to spend the day with Lily and Jake. You’ll be going to the riverbank to play and have a nice picnic!”, said the Druid.
Salim stared at him, astounded. “But, Druid, I will not be doing any work at all, in that case. I have a lot to get done and can’t afford to waste a moment!”, he said.
“Ah, you see, Salim. This is work. I want you to take it seriously! I want you to report back on how your mood is at the end of Saturday. So make sure that you are having fun properly!”
Salim thought the Druid was being eccentric. But he didn’t want to disappoint him. So he agreed to this weird task he had to carry out. He went home to plan how he’d work hard at having fun! How funny he was!
Saturday dawned bright and clear. Salim met Lily and Jake at the riverbank as agreed. The sky was deep blue and they could hear birds chirping. Flowers bloomed on trees by the river. He had brought a large basket of muffins, strawberries, samosas, and a flask full of tea. Lily had brought a large chocolate cake, some biscuits, and a large pot of coffee. Jake had brought some sandwiches and a mug full of fresh lime juice. My, what a spread they had! They chose a shady spot beneath a large elm tree to put their things.
After a fun breakfast of muffins, biscuits, and coffee, the three little pixies ran to the river and jumped right in! The water was deliciously cool. How they laughed and laughed as they splashed each other with water! Salim hadn’t been in the river in ages and he thought his face would start hurting with smiling so much!
Once they were done playing in the river, around noon, they had a scrumptious lunch of sandwiches, strawberries, and fresh lime juice. My, weren’t they hungry after playing in the river for so long! They were astonished at how many sandwiches they each managed to wolf down! Then they played board games until tea time. That was so much fun! Salim laughed so much that his little pointy hat kept falling right off!
After board games, they had a large piece of the chocolate cake each, two samosas apiece, and tea. How lovely it was! They talked about a lot of things! Lily spoke about the new plants she was growing in her garden and Jake told them about his cousin’s new sweet shop. Salim felt wonderful listening to the others and for once, not having to think about his own work. He told them about the interesting things he’d painted such as little Lisa’s beautiful dollhouse.
Finally, at 6 pm they packed their things and walked back home. What a blast they’d had! Salim was smiling ear to ear. On his way home, he stopped by at the Druid’s. “Well”, asked the Druid, “How was your day? How do you feel?”, he the Druid.
“Oh, Druid, it was the most marvellous day of my life!”, exclaimed Salim, still wearing his broad grin. “I feel like a new person. Lily, Jake, and I have decided to have fun every Saturday! I’m already looking forward to next week!”
“Very good, little pixie! Very good indeed”, said the Druid, feeling very satisfied that Salim had at last learnt to have fun.
As he lay in his bed that night, Salim thought to himself, “I really should have fun every day! I feel like a different person when I am smiling and not thinking about all the tasks I need to finish. I think I will reduce the number of tasks I do in a day to half. That way, I will be able to have time to spare for fun activities too!”.
These days, Salim goes around Pixieville with a broad smile on his face. Instead of hurrying from one task to the next, he takes time to chat a little with people. Whenever Mrs. Fairweather asks him to have tea, he graciously accepts. What’s more, he has started inviting people over for tea every now and then. Isn’t that nice of him? He really is turning into a happy little pixie!
As they say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. I would say, “Some work and some play makes Salim a happy pixie!”. Wouldn’t you agree? 😀