Period 40 – Laziness
Once upon a time there lived a young girl called Meena who was very, very lazy. She did not want to do any work at all. Whenever her mother called her to help with household chores, she pretended that she had not heard her.
Meena’s mother was disgusted with her laziness and prayed to the Lord, “ My Lord, let Meena understand how bad it is to be lazy!” Hearing her mother’s prayer, Meena laughed aloud, “Mummy, how silly you are! How nice it would be if none of us ever had to work! You don’t even now what to pray for. Let me pray instead!”. Then she closed her eyes in mock devotion and prayed, “ My God, let me have no occasion to ever work at all. Let all my work be done automatically without my having to do anything!
God was shocked to hear her prayer. He felt Meena needed to be taught a lesson. So he appeared in her dream that night and said, “Meena, your wish is granted. Hereafter you won’t have to do anything at all. All your work will be done automatically.” Meena was overjoyed to hear this.
The next morning when she woke up, she remembered her dream. Was it only a dream or will it come true? She climbed out of her bed wondering whether her dream would come true. But this dream did! The moment she got up from her bed. The bedsheet rose up in the air, dusted and neatly folded itself, and settled back on the bed. “Oh! My dream is coming true!” thought Meena in great excitement. As she walked towards the bathroom, the toothpaste tube opened by itself and the toothpaste came out and spread itself on her toothbrush. Then ,the toothbrush rose in the air and flying to her teeth, cleaned them perfectly. Next ,a thin jet of water rose from the tap and rinsed her mouth. How wonderful! Meena did not have to do anything at all, except keep her mouth open.
THer homework finished by itself. Her shoes and clothes cleaned themselves. Meena was in ecstasy. Hot water was ready for her in the bathroom without her having to carry it. Amazing! She thought. When she started to bathe, hot water rose by itself and fell all over her. Meena screamed as the hot water scalded her back. “Not so fast. Not so fast. Wait until I mix some cold water,” she cried out in vain. The hot water continued to rise and wash her. Crying in fear and pain, she rushed out of the bathroom. She wasn’t even clean, but she did not dare go back to the bathroom and finish her bath. Meena reached out for her clothes, but an ugly torn, old frock jumped out of the cupboard and draped itself around her. Meena hated that old frock. “Not you, not you,” shouted Meena and tried to pull the frock off. But no, the frock would not come off. Poor Meena was in tears. How could she go to school in such shabby old frock! Her classmates would laugh at her. But she was helpless.
When she came to the dining table for breakfast, Meena’s mother was surprised to see her in the old frock. “ What made you wear that frock?” she asked. Meena grew red in face. She could not admit that her lazy wish not to work had come true, but it was giving her pain not joy. She bent her head and started eating. But no, she did not have to eat at all. The rice, the dal and the sambhar and the chutney all got mixed up with one another and formed round balls. Before she could stop them, the balls rose one by one and entered her mouth.She liked eating her food separately, enjoying the different tastes, but today there was no chance to enjoy food at all. The balls flew up into her mouth so fast, that she had no time to even chew her food. Choking, she souttered, “Hey! Stop. Let me chew at least.” But there was no stopping the food. It flew like tennis balls straight into her mouth if it was open; otherwise it struck her on the nose, on the chin or on the cheek, smearing her whole face. Unable to swallow all the food balls, she stretched out her hand for some water. The glass of water suddenly shot up striking her on the teeth, splashing the water on her face, her and clothes.
“What is the matter with you today?” shouted her mother angrily. “Can’t you eat your food in a decent way?” Meena was speechless. She got up and left the table in helpless tears.
While combing her hair. there was more trouble. She usually took half an hour to do her hair in two beautiful plaits, tying the end with ribbons. All her classmates envied her rich, dark naturally curl hair. But today the comb rose by itself, combed the hair and knotted it into a bun at the nape of her neck like the hair of an old woman. Meena was horrified. “That’s not the way, I make my plaits,” she cried and tried to undo the knot and plait her hair in the usual way. But no, the knot wouldn’t open! Poor Meena had to start for school looking lie a miserable old hag. She cried all the way to school and her face was red with weeping by the tie she reached. Her friends were surprised at her strange appearance. “Why are you looking so odd today?” her classmates asked, but what could she say? She dared not tell them that her wish to be lazy had come true, with such disastrous consequences!
Her misery was not over yet. When the bell rang and the class started, she found herself unable to write notes. The notebooks opened by themselves, and the ink pot danced a jig, sprinkling ink on her text books. Her pen scribbled on all the pages by itself. “Don’t do that. You are spoiling my note,” she whispered in a scared voice. Her teacher noticed Meena’s restlessness and scolded her for not being attentive in the class. The maths teacher was very angry because instead of sums, the pen wrote a song in her maths copy. She shouted at Meena, “Stand on the bench till recess!” Meena was the cleverest student in her class, and so far had never been punished in any class. Today she had to stand on the bench while the whole class looked at her and smiled. What a shame!
When it was time for recess, she was so ashamed that she could not meet any of her friends. She ran all by herself to a lonely corner, and sat near the pond. Brooding over her predicament, she stretched her hand out to theclear water. Immediately the water rose up and splashed all over the place, wetting Meena thoroughly. Shivering in her wet, old frock, she tried to sit on a swing in the playground. The moment she sat, the swing moved so violently to and fro and swung so high that Meena was terrified. “Not so high, not so high. Stop! Please stop.” It rose higher and higher. Meena felt so dizzy that she could not hold on to the swing and fell down, scraping her knee badly.
Now. Meena understood why her mother said that laziness was wicked. If she did not work by herself, and allowed things to work automatically, she could neither enjoy herself, nor play, nor eat, nor dress properly. Meena realised that she had been very wicked. She closed her eyes and sincerely prayed to God, “Oh God! Please let things be as before. I promise not to be lazy any more.”
God was satisfied that she had learnt her lesson at last. He withdrew His boon. Now things stopped happening automatically. Meena was relieved and grateful to see that she could do her work by herself once again. God had answered her sincere prayer. Now she always hard and takes good care to never be lazy.