The Little Boy

The Little Boy

From Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition

The Little Boy

Don’t expect anything original from an echo.

~Author Unknown

Once a little boy went to school.

He was quite a little boy.

And it was quite a big school.

But when the little boy

Found that he could go to his room

By walking right in from the door outside,

He was happy. And the school did not seem

Quite so big any more.

One morning,

When the little boy had been in school a while,

The teacher said:

“Today we are going to make a picture.”

“Good!” thought the little boy.

He liked to make pictures.

He could make all kinds:

Lions and tigers,

Chickens and cows,

Trains and boats —

And he took out his box of crayons

And began to draw.

But the teacher said:

“Wait! It is not time to begin!”

And she waited until everyone looked ready.

“Now,” said the teacher,

“We are going to make flowers.”

“Good!” thought the little boy,

He liked to make flowers,

And he began to make beautiful ones

With his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said,

“Wait! And I will show you how.”

And she drew a flower on the blackboard.

It was red, with a green stem.

“There,” said the teacher.

“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s flower.

Then he looked at his own flower,

He liked his flower better than the teacher’s.

But he did not say this,

He just turned his paper over

And made a flower like the teacher’s.

It was red, with a green stem.

On another day,

When the little boy had opened

The door from the outside all by himself,

The teacher said,

“Today we are going to make something with clay.”

“Good!” thought the little boy.

He liked clay.

He could make all kinds of things with clay:

Snakes and snowmen,

Elephants and mice,

Cars and trucks —

And he began to pull and pinch

His ball of clay.

But the teacher said,

“Wait! It is not time to begin!”

And she waited until everyone looked ready.

“Now,” said the teacher,

“We are going to make a dish.”

“Good!” thought the little boy,

He liked to make dishes,

And he began to make some

That were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said,

“Wait! And I will show you how.”

And she showed everyone how to make

One deep dish.

“There,” said the teacher, “Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s dish

Then he looked at his own.

He liked his dishes better than the teacher’s

But he did not say this,

He just rolled his clay into a big ball again,

And made a dish like the teacher’s.

It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon

The little boy learned to wait

And to watch,

And to make things just like the teacher.

And pretty soon

He didn’t make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened

That the little boy and his family

Moved to another house,

In another city,

And the little boy

Had to go to another school.

This school was even bigger

Than the other one,

And there was no door from the outside

Into his room.

He had to go up some big steps,

And walk down a long hall

To get to his room.

And the very first day

He was there, the teacher said,

“Today we are going to make a picture.”

“Good!” thought the little boy,

And he waited for the teacher

To tell him what to do

But the teacher didn’t say anything.

She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy,

She said, “Don’t you want to make a picture?”

“Yes,” said the little boy.

“What are we going to make?”

“I don’t know until you make it,” said the teacher.

“How shall I make it?” asked the little boy.

“Why, any way you like,” said the teacher.

“And any color?” asked the little boy.

“Any color,” said the teacher,

“If everyone made the same picture,

And used the same colors,

How would I know who made what,

And which was which?”

“I don’t know,” said the little boy.

And he began to make pink and orange

and blue flowers.

He liked his new school,

Even if it didn’t have a door

Right in from the outside!

~Helen E. Buckley

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