Guddu hated fairy tales. Even though his parents told him such spectacular and funny stories, he still couldn’t sleep peacefully, having terrible nightmares.
He woke up every morning with great regret, his eyes still swollen, and went to school. His classmates teased him because he sometimes fell asleep in the middle of class. The teacher, concerned about such a strange situation, talked to Guddu’s parents.
“We don’t know what to do anymore!” Guddu’s mother confessed to the teacher.
“Have you ever tried telling him bedtime stories?”
“Yes! Every night when he goes to sleep, but it always seems like he hasn’t rested.”
The teacher thought for a moment and had a great idea, “I know a very peculiar person who might be able to help you!”
The teacher pointed them in a direction. The parents, accepting the recommendation, sent Guddu that same afternoon to the indicated address.
That night, Guddu dreamed that he slept in a big cotton field, where birds sang, and a cool breeze enveloped him.
Luckily, it was close to his home, so the boy walked there alone. It was an old house with huge windows. Guddu peeked into one of them and could see that there were many books scattered everywhere, and they all seemed to be full of dust.
“What a messy person.” Said the boy with contempt.
“Excuse me?” A voice coming from his right side startled him, “Have a little respect, please.”
It was an old woman sitting in an old rocking chair by the door. She was wearing a beautiful, striking yellow robe that contrasted with her wrinkled dark, almost black skin. Guddu wondered how he hadn’t seen her when he arrived.
“How can I help you?” The old woman asked him, looking with her tired light blue eyes, over the boy’s head.
“I’m looking for Mrs Sharma. I need her to help me sleep.” The woman laughed, and the boy was startled, “Why don’t you look me in the eye?”
“I’m a blind woman, dear.”
Guddu was annoyed at this and exclaimed, “And how are you supposed to help me? I thought you could tell me stories, but I see you’re the one who needs help.”
The woman kept looking over the boy’s head, with sad, knowing eyes, sketching a slight smile.
“Sit down next to me,” the woman indicated to Guddu, “I want to ask you a favour.”
Guddu was not amused by the lady’s suggestion, but he obeyed, sitting down on the stairs. The woman took a small book she had hidden in her hands, and handing it to the boy, said, “Please, read it to me.”
Guddu, surprised by the request, thought it was a joke until he noticed the expression of joy that began to form on Mrs Sharma’s face. He felt a little uncomfortable but began to read anyway.
Minutes passed, and as the reading became more interesting, the boy read with more excitement. Guddu was very immersed in the action. He could experiment with joy, suspense, and action. In the middle of the story, when everything was getting better, Mrs Sharma said, “Stop! It’s getting late for you to go home.”
“What? Oh no, the best part is coming.”
“I know. But tomorrow is another day.”
Guddu sulked a little and, getting up, placed the book near Mrs Sharma, who was still sketching a faint smile. The boy walked away and went home.
That night, Guddu dreamed that he slept in a big cotton field, where birds sang, and a cool breeze enveloped him. In his dream, he could see Mrs Sharma, but she looked younger, with her long flowing hair, and her eyesight was no longer blind. Her eyes looked with great joy at the beautiful sun, so Guddu could notice her beautiful brown eyes, which contrasted with her black skin.
The boy, upon waking up, realized that he was crying. He had never dreamed, let alone something so beautiful. He was instantly saddened by how he had treated Mrs Sharma the day before, so he decided to go back that day and apologize.
Guddu’s face was beaming. His parents noticed the joy on their son’s face and knew that he had finally had a good night’s sleep.
The teacher, seeing him, also noticed the change and was not surprised because he knew Mrs Sharma could help him.
In the evening, Guddu plucked up his courage and went to the old woman’s house. She was sitting in the same place as yesterday, looking at nothing, smiling. Guddu sat down next to her and, with tears in his eyes, said, “Forgive me for treating you with indifference and disrespect, Mrs Sharma.”
The old woman smiled and nodded her head, showing her forgiveness, and handed the book to the boy, who sat happily reading it aloud.
Guddu had a lot of fun sharing and reading stories to Mrs Sharma in the evenings and dreaming of fantastic and magical worlds at night. Guddu realized the joy and peace he received from helping others in whatever they needed.