“…it was about having faith and believing in magic…”
Many years ago I went to the cinema with my young son to see a film called “The Little Princess”. The story derives an element of magic from the wise but silent Indian fairy godfather who watches over Sarah, whose Indian tutors have instilled in her a sense of decency and self-respect strong enough to carry her through even the most trying situations.
One of these situations was when Sarah and Becky (a little servant girl) were condemned to live in the attic of a very cruelly run boarding school for girls in England. Becky was despondent (not surprisingly having lived a life of hardship and poverty) and felt there was no hope, everything looked grey, there was nothing to eat and they were both very cold.
One day Sarah escaped through the attic window and took a stroll around the market place below, where she came upon people struggling to make a livelihood amongst much poverty. She was hungry and cold and decided to buy a bun from the bakers with all of the small amount of money she had. The bun made her mouth water and she couldn’t wait to take a bite, when she glanced across at a rose seller in the street. She was a small, frail woman holding a baby in her arms, with a young child at her side who was looking longingly at the bun that Sarah was about to devour. On the spur of the moment Sarah handed the bun to the young child. The child ate it as if it was the first and last scrap of food she would ever eat. The mother smiled warmly, thanked Sarah and offered her one of her best roses in exchange.
Sarah took the rose back up into the attic and soon fell asleep. When she and Becky woke the next morning, the attic was adorned in the most beautiful decorative shades of colour, textures and contrasts and there was a banquet of food on the table fit for a King. It was then that Sarah really did believe in magic – created through one act of kindness.
This film took me to places that I hadn’t visited for quite some time and reached deep within, leaving an overwhelming sense of happiness and well being.
On leaving the cinema I walked with my son along the street to find my bus stop, when I out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a young man huddled in a doorway clutching a small, scruffy looking dog, with a sweet face. The man just stared aimlessly at the ground in front of him and I knew I had to give him some hope, just like someone had given me hope only a few moments ago while watching that film. So I did something crazy, on the spur of the moment I threw a £20 note (my whole week’s grocery shopping money!) into his cap that was being held down steadily by the scruffy little dog’s paws. The young man looked at me in disbelief, got to his feet and thanked me over and over again, until I disappeared out of sight.
Days later, family and friends said I was a fool and that he was probably very rich or would spend the money on drugs. But that young man had lost faith in all of humanity – it was written all over his face – and he just couldn’t believe that in the height of Tory consumerism during the 1980s that a person with not much money themselves, could do that.
It wasn’t about the money – it was about having faith and believing in magic…
By S.O. from Birmingham, England. Kindly contributed to Zen Moments by the author.
Photo: Secrets by I.Fawaz
Children’s Books from Zen Moments Bookstore:
by Tove Jansson
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“…Tove Jansson infused the Moomintrolls and their whole universe with the experiences of her own family, who seem to have been a very bohemian, artistic, tolerant and warm lot. This makes the books great reading for kids from an early age as they invoke a wonderful sense of fun and silliness as well as acceptance and openmindedness.”
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