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Kindergarten

Once upon a time, there were a hundred children in a kindergarten. Ninety-four of them were mainly yellow or black or brown, and most of their part of the big room was all dirty and horrid and smelly. The other six children, who were mainly white, lived in a small corner that was all clean and nice and smelled of roses. The ninety-four children in the dirty part were very scrawny and raggedy, not much more than skin and bone, to be brutally frank. The six children in the nice, comfy corner looked very well fed, to put it very politely.

Every day one hundred hot meals and one hundred bags of toys were delivered to the kindergarten so there would always be enough for everybody. Or at least that’s what all the children were told.

But for some mysterious reason that no one could fathom, seventy-two of the hot meals and seventy-two of the bags of toys went to the six “special” children every day, so that they had twelve hot meals and twelve bags of toys each. Perhaps that was why they were just a teeny-weeny bit on the chubby side.

The remaining twenty-eight hot meals and twenty-eight bags of toys were divided up between the other ninety-four children. This meant there was never enough to go round, and perhaps explains why most of these children were so skinny and sick looking. It also led to lots of rather nasty squabbles.

The six special children’s corner of the room was behind a glass wall. You could look in, but they couldn’t look out, because their side of the glass was a mirror. When they weren’t eating or playing with their toys, the six children spent most of the time looking into this mirror, admiring themselves for being the greatest and most special and freest children who had ever lived in the kindergarten.

We don’t know about the greatest, most special and freest part, but they were certainly the fattest.

When they weren’t fighting or scrabbling for not enough food and not enough toys, the other ninety-four children pressed their noses up against the glass wall, watching the six fat children have such a lovely time and looking more and more like balloons that might burst at any minute.

This went on for five hundred years.

Then one day, one of the skinny children found a small chink in the glass wall, and chucked a pebble through it that scratched the leg of one of the fat children, who burst into tears.

The six fat children were very shocked by this for nothing like it had ever happened before. For the very first time ever, they peeked out through the little hole in the glass wall and saw all the skinny raggedy multi-colored children, some of whom were clapping their hands and jumping up and down.

The six fat mainly white children looked at each other in puzzlement: why do they hate us?

No one had the slightest idea.

David Stansfield is the author of eight books, one of which, Got A Couple of Minutes? includes this little story. He can be reached at davidestansfield@icloud.com

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David Stansfield is a former PBS writer-producer and the author of “Take Nothing For Granted,” a thriller set against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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