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The Land of Smiles
by Chandana Banerjee

Neel was a small boy who had everything that a child of his age could wish for. He had loving parents, a little sister and lots of pets. His playroom was filled with many toys, books and games and he led a very good life. But surprisingly Neel was never happy. He spent his time brooding about trivial matters. His family and friends tried to cheer him up but nothing could bring a smile on his face.

One day Neel went for a walk in the woods and he walked for a long time worrying about his �so-called� problems when suddenly he saw an unusual sight. There were many tiny creatures shaped like smiles moving about the place. They were laughing and talking at the top of their voices.

�Welcome to the Land of Smiles,� they chorused together. Soon all the smile people surrounded Neel and started talking to him.

�Why don�t you have a smile on your face?� remarked a naughty little smile.

�Now don�t pester him,� ordered the Big Bright Smile and gently asked Neel, �Why is it that you never laugh and smile like other children?�

Neel started crying and poured out all his problems. The Big Bright smile was very wise and he knew that Neel was luckier than other children and had every opportunity to be happy. The main problem with the boy was that he didn�t want to be happy. The Big Bright smile thought for some time and then he got an idea.

He took Neel to his home in the heart of a huge tree. �You see, all smiles live deep within the trees where everything is pure and magical,� explained Big Bright Smile.

They were greeted by lovely Mrs. Smile and their 3 sons: Merry, Boisterous and Wonderful Smile.

�Neel, since you don�t have a smile you can choose anyone of my sons,� said Big Bright Smile.

The little boy liked the youngest one the best since he was of his own age. So Big Bright Smile stuck Wonderful Smile on Neel�s face with magical glue and chanted a magical verse:

�Smile in sorrow, smile in pain. Smile when troubles pour like rain, smile when others hurt your feeling. For smiles you know are very healing.�

�You look very cute with your new smile!� exclaimed Big Bright Smile. �But remember�Wonderful Smile is very naughty and if you don�t show him off much, he�ll pinch your lips. So smile as much as you can.�

Neel thanked the Smile family and said goodbye to all the smiles in the Land of Smiles. Back home everybody was surprised to see such a wonderful smile on Neel�s face. He became a very happy boy and his smiling face made others smile too. He was very popular with his friends and was known as �The boy with the Wonderful Smile�. Quite true, isn�t it?    

15-May-2005
 
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