From The Curse

written by Nancy Mitchell

"Are you cursed?" The teacher asks the child, who shrugs, "I don't know. What's the curse?" The teacher shakes her head, and speaks softly, so the child doesn't hear, "Mindless children! Never know anything!" The child hears what the teacher says and blurts, "I'm not mindless!" The teacher raises her eyes to the ceiling before responding sarcastically, "Maybe in your case. But, you don't know what the curse is, so you have no idea whether you have it or not! Ignorance is a fate that imprisons many minds." 

The child frowns, "So, I’m ignorant?" The teacher looks at the child, "You will be, if you don't make the effort to find out!" Then adds philosophically, "I can see why a person could stay stuck, if all they knew was what they were used to." The child is perplexed. "So, how am I supposed to know? Tell me." The teacher smiles, "It wouldn't be wise of me to tell you. You need to do this for yourself." Then, the teacher holds up her palm and blows air, " "Poof! Just like like that," wiping her hands together, "the curse consumes you — You don't want that, do you?" The child shakes head. "No." The teacher continues, "Then, it's your responsibility to find out. Knowledge is always the key." The child looks at the teacher quizzically. "Where do I find this knowledge?" The teacher raises one finger, "I'll be right back." The child waits quietly, pondering on their conversation and what this curse could possibly be. Images of shriveled hands and bulging eyes come to mind. It must be awful, but my eyes don't bulge and my hands are fine, examining hands closely. It must be something else, but what? What can be so terrible that it's called, "The curse?" And if you get it, can you get rid of it? I hope so! I'll ask the teacher when she returns. I really want to know.

The teacher returns shortly with a book, which she hands to the child, "Inside, you'll read a number of stories that give you clues as to what the curse is." The child takes the book. "Clues?" the child asks. The teacher responds, "Yes, if you figure out the clues, you'll know exactly what the curse is and how to cure it." The child looks puzzled, "I'll know?" The teacher answers, "Yes, you should." The teacher senses concern, "Worried you won't figure it out?" The child nods. The teacher smiles, "I think you'll be ok. You're bright, clearly you want to know and that's good! Knowledge only comes to those who appreciate it. I have no doubt that with your desire to know, you'll figure it out. Once you know what the curse is, and whether you have it or not, the key to correcting it will be revealed to you. That's why it's good you want to know!" Then, her expression becomes sullen. "It's different, though, for those who remain ignorant. Not knowing they are cursed keeps them stuck, ignorant to its effects, which, unless changed stays with them their whole lives. Those poor ignorant souls often have the greatest minds, finest  talents, and are the nicest people with wonderful personalities!" She adds, “Yet, the curse buffoons them, so they are  —Poof! Doomed.” She sighs, leaving the child who opens the book and turns to read the first story. 


Chapter  1. The Unwanted 

This story is about a little girl, who has the gift of being an artist. She loves to draw and paint pictures of everyone and everything around her. The Principal at her school thinks her art is unusual for a child her age and decides to recognize this talent with a school-wide art exhibition, hanging her paintings on the school walls. Of course, the girl is thrilled. Now, she has an exhibit she can show her mom! As much as she loves art, this little girl wants more than anything to be loved by her mother. 

She can't remember her mother holding her or displaying affection like she sees other mothers and daughters enjoying. She wishes she and her mother laugh as they do, and doesn't understand why their relationship isn't close. Despite her efforts to have a relationship, her mother ignores her. The art exhibit has given her new hope. Her belief is that "somehow" this art exhibit will please her mother and make them closer.

On the day of the exhibition, the girl walks around the school to examine the many paintings. Much to her surprise, several of her paintings had ribbons— blue, red, and white. They were categorized for first, second, and honorable mention. She couldn't believe it! Now she is even more thrilled to show off her artwork to her mother. As she waits for her mother to come to the school, she imagines her mother smiling at her, wrapping her arms around her, and hugging her because she's so proud of her. In her mind, they are delightfully happy to be together. Her vision is interrupted by the familiar voice of her mother! She opens her eyes expecting to see a smiling face and is quickly disappointed to see the usual expression of disdain on her mother's face.

"What's wrong, Mom? Aren't you happy to see my paintings? Many of them got ribbons!" The girl adds excitedly.

"I don't want to see them! I don't care about your paintings." Her mother tells her rudely, before shoving a hand-made doll into her arms. "Here, I can do art, too!" Then, she walks away. 

The little girl is crestfallen, taken aback by her mother's reaction. She stares at the black button eyes of the handmade doll. I don't want a doll! I want a mom, who loves me!

After that, she tries harder to please her mother. Since her art doesn't make her mother happy, she gives it up, giving away the paints and brushes. Who needs art, if my mother doesn't like it? She figures it's more important to have a mom, who loves her than to express herself  through art.



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