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Short Stories for Children of All Ages: Is it a happy ending?Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading”

Is it a happy ending?

The vulture in the skies, and the jackal on the ground, are very much the same thing. They both feed on putrefying remains, which other animals who are braver hunters, abandon after appeasing their hunger. This common taste for every disgusting thing unites them.

But we must not bear them ill will for it. These and other similar animals, like the condor, which belongs to the family of the vulture, or the hyena, close relative of the jackal, are essential to life. If it wasn’t for them the putrefying flesh or the dying animals would contaminate nature and would cause epidemics.

Very well, but still they are disgusting.
In our story, the vulture and the jackal together followed the trail of an old weak zebra. They were betting:
“It will be today,” said the jackal.
“It will be tomorrow,” said the vulture.
“Either way we’ll feast for a month,” concluded the jackal.
The old zebra was falling behind and the rest of the herd started walking slowly so as not to lose her.
A little zebra, granddaughter of the ill zebra, cheered her up: “Have courage, grandmother. We are nearly at the river.”
“I won’t make it,” the old zebra complained. “The sickening smell of the jackal is around me. I can feel it.”
At a distance, on guard, the jackal said to the vulture:
“The old zebra is talking about me.”
“What is she saying? Is she praising you?” questioned the bird.
“Oh yes, indeed!” answered the jackal smiling wickedly.

The zebra leaned her head against the soil, giving in. She glanced around with resignation, as if saying goodbye. That’s when she caught sight of a little cactus crowned with a violet flower, with full thick petals. She summoned her granddaughter.

“Go and pick up that flower for me. But mind the needles.
The little zebra brought her the flower between her teeth.

“Blessed flower,” the old zebra said, grinding it up slowly, and swallowing it afterwards, while her tears kept rolling down her muzzle.

“Why are you crying, grandmother?” asked her concerned granddaughter.
“Because I am happy,” answered the zebra.

Then she explained that it was a very rare flower and that it had wondrous qualities. It could give the dying a new life, it could give strength to the weak and health to the ill ones. Fortunately, she had found it when she was resigned to die.

The old zebra jumped up as if she was young. She skipped, trotted, galloped and ran so much that the little zebra could hardly keep up with her.

“Are you seeing what I am seeing?” asked the jackal very much astonished at what he, from a distance, had observed.
“I am and I can hardly believe my eyes,” said the vulture. “We’ve been tricked. This story shouldn’t end like this.

“Maybe not, but the person who wrote it had to make a choice. A happy ending for old and young zebras can’t be a happy ending for jackals and vultures.

That’s the way it is in life!
A. Torrado

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