The Sweets Salesman

Ten-year-old Paulie had a loving family, lived in a nice house, had toys and everything he wanted. At school he made friends easily. There was only one thing about him that people disliked: he complained about everything. 
On one occasion, Paulie was playing in his neighbour Mario's backyard and they decided to pick up mangoes. The mangoes were so ripe that their mouth watered. 
They climbed on the mango tree and began to pluck the mangoes. They had picked up enough, but Paulie decided to get one last mango which was at the tip of a branch. Mario warned his friend: 
- Paulie, don't! It's dangerous! The branch may break! ... 
He hadn't still finished speaking when Paulie plummeted from above with a cry: 
- Help! Help! ... - Paulie screamed, but it was too late. He was on the ground. 
Mario's mother, on hearing the noise, ran to help the boy who cried on ground. She soon realized that he had broken his leg. As Paulie's mother was out, she picked him up in her arms and took him to the nearest hospital. The doctor, after examining it carefully put a cast on the broken leg. 
Paulie returned home weeping and lamenting his luck. From that day on, he would only complain about that fall and his broken leg, which bothered him greatly. 
One day he went out for a stroll and on a street he saw an overjoyed boy sitting in a chair and selling candy from a tray. 
- Who wants to buy coconut candy? They are delicious! Taste it! ... 
Passing by the small stall, Paulie stopped, interested. The seller, seeing the boy, offered: 
- Would you like to try a piece? Try it! It is delicious! - and he got a plate with pieces of coconut candy so that Paulie could help himself. 
The boy picked up one piece, put it in his mouth and was delighted. 
- You are right! It is delicious indeed! And there are many flavours! ... 
- Yes! There is the traditional white coconut candy. But I also have toasted coconut candy, or with passion fruit, or strawberries. 
They began to talk, introduced themselves to each other, and the coconut candy salesman, noting that Paulie was in a cast asked what had happened. What a mistake! Paulie began to moan about his luck, telling how he had fallen from the mango tree. 
The boy, whose name was Bernard and was fourteen years old, smiled and considered: 
- That was nothing, Paulie. Soon you will be fine again. 
The boy, who considered himself the unhappiest person in the world, replied: 
- You say that, Bernard, because it isn't you! For two months I'll be carrying the weight of this cast and needing these crutches. Do you know what it is not to be able to walk properly? 
- No. I don't know because I could never walk - Bernard replied, smiling. 
Paulie, surprised with the boy's words, asked: 
- What do you mean? You can't walk? ... 
Bernard took a deep breath and said: 
- No. I don't know what it is like to walk. While still a baby I had a disease that left me with no movement in my legs. So  I  live  always  on  this
Surprised, Paulie realized that by only thinking of himself, he hadn't noticed that the boy was in a wheelchair. 
Embarrassed, he apologized to Bernard, who laughed: 
- Don't worry! I live very well this way! I have a normal life. I study and in my spare time I help my mother by selling the candy she makes. We are poor and it is from them that we make a living. Working makes me feel good. I feel useful. Besides, I like talking to people. I have many friends! ... 
Seeing that Paulie had his eyes moist, he consoled him: 
- As for your problem, don't worry. Time passes quickly and soon you will be fine to do everything you did before. 
The boy nodded his head in agreement. He walked around the stall and said: 
- My problem no longer exists, Bernard. You gave me a great lesson today. Would you like to be my friend? Can I give you a hug? 
Opening his arms, the young man snuggled the boy to his chest, moved: 
- Paulie, I'll be very glad to have you as a friend. 
They said goodbye and the boy returned home. His mother noticed that he was different, not complaining about anything, and asked: 
- You must be tired, for sure. What happened, dear? 
- No, mom, I have never been so well. It happened that today I met the most extraordinary person I have ever known. You'll like him. After Jesus, he's my best friend! 

(Psychographed by Celia X. de Camargo on 01.07.2013.)


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