Not her daughter . . . after all

Today, Anna was too angry. Early in the morning, before school, she had asked her aunt whether she could go for the school picnic. Anna’s parents were both dead, and she lived with her aunt, Mrs. Lynn Laurence, her uncle, Mr. Harry Laurence, and her cousin, Marie. Marie and Anna studied in the same school. Anna was in the eighth standard, while Marie was in the fourth standard. About two days ago, Marie had fallen off her bicycle, and bruised her legs and hands badly. She had also suffered a big cut on her forehead. Now Mrs. Laurence was convinced that Marie could not go for the picnic with her class. So she was determined not to allow Anna to go too, as then Marie would feel bad. This was certainly unfair of Mrs.Laurence, but she favored her own daughter, Marie, over Anna. After Anna’s parents had died due to diarrhea and cancer, she had been adopted by her aunt. Her aunt did not like her, but as Anna had no other relation, she only let Anna live with her so that people didn’t think her unkind.

 

Apparently, Anna was ill-treated. She knew that her aunt did not like her to stay with Marie and her. She was furious now, as she sat fuming in her room. “It’s Marie’s fault if she can’t ride her bicycle carefully. Why am I being punished for it?” Anna related her problem to her uncle, who pretended to sympathize with her, but after all, Marie was his daughter, and not Anna. And he knew this.

 

On Tuesday morning, Anna and Marie sat down to breakfast. Even though it was Anna’s favorite meal, pancakes and honey, still she didn’t notice it. She was in a very bad mood. The picnic was on Thursday, and all her friends were going. In school, Janice, Emily, Sara, and Mia, her classmates had all teased her. A tear of hatred and rage rolled down her cheek. “What’s the matter, Anna?” said Marie, who actually liked Anna. Marie had meant the words lovingly, but all Anna remembered then, was that she was not allowed to go for the picnic because of Marie. “Don’t pry into my business. It’s you who is the main problem behind my troubles.” snapped back Anna. Marie was offended.She really hadn’t meant to be irritating, or even cause problems for her cousin, who she loved with a deep, sisterly love.

 

Mrs. Laurence, too, heard Anna’s harsh words addressed to her daughter, and was angry. She always believed that Anna had no right or freedom to say anything she felt, or any offending words to anyone in the house. She thought that she was doing a great favor by letting Anna live with them.

And now she shouted- “Oh, you ungrateful girl! Dear Marie is kind enough to have made friends with you. And is this how you thank us all for our great kindness?” “What great kindness?” screamed Anna at Mrs. Laurence. “Do you mean to say that this is kindness? You don’t permit me to even have a little fun with my friends on the picnic, just because your daughter rides a bicycle like a baby! You care too much about her silly feelings! Do you think I don’t know the difference between kindness and cruelty?” And sobbing, Anna ran upstairs to her room.

 

Marie had not known this. She hadn’t even thought that Anna would be punished because of her. She felt bad, even more than she would have felt on seeing Anna going to the picnic leaving her at home. “Why did you do this, Mamma?” said Marie to her mother. “Do you know how Anna feels, and how jealous she thinks we are? Please let Anna go, Mamma, and don’t worry about me.” Marie smiled, and something struck Mrs. Laurence’s heart. She smiled too.
On Thursday, Anna went to the picnic with her friends. More than the fun, she enjoyed a certain feeling in her heart. When she returned from school that day, she hugged her uncle, her aunt, and Marie, which little act silently wove a thread of love, which bound their hearts together forever.

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