The Nicest Gift Of All

The Nicest Gift Of All

A Story by Margaret



            Today was going to be great. Mary’s mother had a wonderful surprise planned, a trip to the amusement park and a picnic lunch. Patty, Mary’s favorite cousin, would be coming along as well. The girls would both be nine within a day of each other. Patty’s birthday was today and Mary’s was tomorrow. But today would be a shared celebration.


            Mary jumped out of bed and ran down the stair with great enthusiasm. She couldn’t wait till Patty arrived. She was becoming quite impatient�"which was normal for Mary.


            When Patty finally arrived, Mary was delighted. Mary’s mother packed a picnic lunch and they left. On the drive to the amusement park, the girls chatted back and forth. “There’s the park,” the girls screeched in unison. Mary’s mother just smiled as she parked the station wagon. Patty, like Mary in many ways, had no idea what the word patient meant. Arriving at the ticket booth, Mary’s mother paid the admission fee and they walked into the amusement park.


            Mary looked around the park, getting more enthusiastic with every passing moment. She glanced at her cousin Patty, but she just walked quietly beside Mary. She seemed to be in a world of her own. Mary, on the other hand, couldn’t decide what to do first. It all looked so exciting. The girls followed Mary’s mother as they walked around the park. Mary suddenly stopped at the site of the roller coaster. “Mother, asked Mary, can patty and I go on this ride first, please?” Mary’s mother replied maybe a little later as they continued their walk around the amusement park.


There were many booths filled with stuffed animals and other wonderful prizes. Mary saw a colorful parrot at the balloon game booth. “Oh Mother, can I try to win this parrot. Please mother,” Mary begged.


Mary’s mother nodded and gave each of the girls a quarter for the game. Patty stood next to Mary as they tried to break the colored balloons. “I sure hope I can break two of them,” said Mary. Mary began to jump up and down as the dart hit the blue balloon. Patty threw her first dart, but she missed. Mary was becoming overly anxious as she threw the second dart�"she missed, but so did Patty. “Well, one more dart left, better slow down and concentrate,” Mary thought to herself. Mary took her time with the third dart, knowing how badly she wanted to give the Parrot to Patty for her birthday. She aimed the dart at the purple balloon and let the dart glide through the air toward the intended target. “I did it, Patty. Mother did you see that,” Mary squealed wildly. Patty threw her final dart and missed. Patty felt awful.



            The man asked Mary what animal she wanted. Mary told him the colorful parrot. He told Mary it was a Macaw, and he told her to enjoy it. Mary showed Patty the parrot, but Patty just turned her head. The girls walked around to find a picnic spot. Mary’s mother directed the girls to the spot below the shade tree and set out the blanket and the girls sat down. Mary placed the parrot on the grass beside the blanket. The girls ate their lunch in silence.


            The girls quickly finished their snack and were off to the rides. While on the roller coaster, Mary remembered she didn’t have her parrot. She turned to Patty and asked, “Patty, have you seen my parrot?” “I thought you had it.” “No, I must have forgot to grab it after lunch.” “It’s only a toy Mary.” “I have to find it, Patty. I have to, “ Mary cried frantically.


            The ride ended and the girls quietly walked toward Mary’s mother. Mary asked her mom if she had seen the parrot, but her mother sadly said no. Mary began to look for the parrot, following their footsteps back to the tree where they had lunch, but no luck. Mary began to cry uncontrollably. She looked and looked for what seemed like hours, and still no parrot. She walked toward the balloon booth and stopped for a moment, tears streaming down her eyes. The man who worked the booth remembered Mary and asked her what was wrong. Mary told him what happened, and he assured her not to worry. He walked over to the prize shelf and took another parrot down and handed it to Mary. “I can’t possibly take this parrot, Mary told the man, I didn’t win it.” “I understand how you feel, and I must insist that you take it, “ the man said kindly. “Thanks you so much, sir,” Mary said as she smiled and turned away. Mary spotted Patty and her mother by the merry-go-round and quickly ran toward them. “I see you found it, “ Patty said thoughtlessly. “No, I didn’t find it, the man at the balloon booth gave me another one.” “Oh!”


            The girls rode the merry-go-round, the ferris wheel, and the whirlybird before it was time to go, Mary tried talking to Patty on the way home, but Patty ignored her.


            Mary’s mother parked the station wagon in the garage and entered the house. Patty sat in the kitchen, while Mary ran to her room. She took the parrot and placed it in the cardboard box she had hidden in her closet and wrapped it ever so carefully, placing a fancy pink bow in the corner and taped the card to it.


            Mary walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table next to Patty. Mary’s mom gave them a little snack , a chocolate bar and a glass of milk, to tie them over until dinner.


            Mary asked Patty to come with her for a minute. Patty looked over at Mary’s mother who nodded her head and reluctantly went with Mary. “Happy Birthday, Patty,” Mary smiled and handed the box to Patty.


            Patty began to cry as she opened the gift. She knew now how wrong to act the way she did today. “Oh Mary, thanks you,” she sobbed.   Patty put her arm around Mary and told her she was sorry for being hard to get along with this afternoon. Mary told her she understood.


            The girls hugged each other tightly and promised they’d never feel jealously toward one another again. The girls ran down the stairs arm in arm to help Mary’s mother prepare for the party.



The End


© 2009 Margaret Knuff

   All Rights Reserved


© 2010 Margaret

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That was great - with a superb moral!!!

Posted 13 Years Ago

Phew, I thought Patty, being jealous, threw away the first parrot. Glad she didn't!

It's a nice story. I wonder, though, what happened to Patty in the first place--you mentioned she was all quiet. I could hardly imagine a kid in an amusement park being quiet if there's nothing wrong with her.

Posted 14 Years Ago

How often we misunderstand the actions of others. If only we could look for the best in the people who surround us. I was hoping after getting the second macaw, they would find the first one. Then both would have one. Sort of like O'Henry's "Gift of the Magi."

Posted 14 Years Ago

This is a delightful story with a good moral to it too. I really enjoyed reading it.

Posted 14 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on December 9, 2009
Last Updated on January 4, 2010

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