Train of tales Children

A dream come true

Shalu’s hands shook as she peeled away the tape. “Just rip it away,” Samit suggested.

“I couldn’t do that!” Shalini said, shocked. “What if I tear the wrapping paper?”

“So what?” Samit said. “It’s only paper!”

A happy memory

How could her brother say that? Specially about this green and gold wrapping paper? If stored carefully, it would stay fresh for years, a happy memory of her birthday. But when she tried to tell Samit this, he said, “Sometimes, Shalu you are so sill...”

He stopped abruptly and Shalu guessed it was because Amma had frowned at him. “Go on,” Samit said, trying to sound eager, “open your gift!” But Shalu knew that, behind his smile, he thought she was silly to care about the wrapping paper. How could her brother have changed so much? In the past, Samit had helped open her gifts carefully so she could save the wrapping paper. All those papers were spread out under Shalu’s mattress, rustling every time she tossed and turned.

“Open it!” Samit’s voice jerked Shalu out of her thoughts. She looked at her gift and felt excitement curl slowly in her stomach. What a big box it was! Suddenly eager, she pulled away the tape and the wrapping paper fell apart with a rustle. For a moment Shalu stared, too stunned to react. “Shalu,” Amma asked anxiously, “you like it, don’t you?”

“Oh, yes,” Shalu smiled hugely. “It’s what I’ve always wanted!”

“The Castle of Your Dreams” read the words on the box. Above a picture of a large castle, complete with a tower and a drawbridge, it said, “More than 10,000 blocks! Hours of fun!” Shalu’s heart thundered. How long she had waited for this! But Amma hadn’t thought that Shalu could build her own castle. “It’ll take you days to put together,” Amma had warned. “And a lot of patience!”

To prove her wrong, Shalu and Samit had built a castle. Of course, it hadn’t been as fancy as this one. They had use cardboard boxes and built one with a drawbridge that could actually be pulled up. Shalu knew that they had been able to build it only because of her brother, who had researched castles, drawn detailed plans before they began and known what to do and how. Shalu had followed him, gluing things and painting the cardboard to look like worn grey stones.

Their hard work had been worth it, Shalu thought, gazing at the box. Amma and Papa were convinced she could complete this build-it-yourself project. The only problem was that, in the time between asking for the castle and getting it, Samit had changed. He was no longer her full-of-plans, always-happy-to-help brother. Instead, he had turned into a gruff stranger, too busy to play with his younger sister.

What, Shalu wondered, was the use of a castle when she had no one to build it with?

To be continued

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 8:02:10 PM |

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