THE GREAT GIFTS: A story about bullying and harassment in school

Once, a group of schoolchildren were on an outing. Almost all of them were playing ball; except Monty, who was seen as a bit of a fool – only good for poking fun at. He didn’t like fights, or sports, or anything really. He wouldn’t even defend himself when they started hitting him! He was so strange, that not even on that day of the outing did he play football with the others. The one time he kicked the ball that day, it ended up over in a little cave. When they went in to get the ball, they found a wooden chest containing an enormous book. The book was giving off a magical shine. The children ran to give the book to the teacher, who was fascinated by it. They all agreed to read it in class in the coming days.

The book was called ‘The Great Gifts’, and it recounted wonderful tales about great inventors, artists, wise writers, explorers, and treasure hunters. With each story the children became more wide-eyed, and they were enchanted by all those characters with special gifts.

They finally reached the last page of the book, which spoke about the origin of those great figures. The teacher read:

-“There’s a place in heaven called the fountain of hearts, where, prior to birth, each heart is assigned its special gifts. They use a little bit of everything to make normal people. But, now and again, something goes wrong, and some hearts end up much emptier than normal. In those cases, the hearts fill up with a last gift which makes the person exceptional. They can lack many other qualities; in many ways they will be different from everyone else, and they may well be seen as strange children. However, when their special gift is discovered, their achievements will become part of books like this one.”

When the teacher closed the book there was a long silence in the classroom. While the children were all thinking about their own gifts, Monty came out with one of his bizarre comments:

-“And if you get a heart transplant, and they give you a pig’s heart, will you take on a pig’s qualities?”

he asked, in all seriousness.

Everyone wanted to burst out laughing, but, looking at Monty, they understood that he was exactly one of the special cases, as the book had described. They felt ashamed of every time they had laughed at his clumsiness and funny quirks. From that day forward, never again did they try making fun of Monty. Instead, they all worked together to try to help him discover his special gift. His gift turned out to be an incredible artistic talent. Monty became the most famous painter of his era.

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