Once a swarm of bees had put up their hive in a tree that stood on the bank of a river. They remained busy collecting honey all the day. One day a bee felt thirsty and went to the river. As it tried to drink water, the water carried it away. So, it was about to drown.
Fortunately, a dove was sitting on the branch of a tree.
She saw the bee in trouble and immediately went for it's rescue. She plucked a broad leaf from the tree, flew to the bee and dropped the leaf near it. The bee mounted the leaf, dried it's wings and flew away to safety.
After few days, the dove was caught in a big danger. She was sitting on the branch of a tree when an archer aimed at it. She thought of flying away but a hawk was hovering above her head. She could see her death nearby.
Luckily, the bee came there. Seeing the dove in danger, it stung him. The arrow went off but missed it's aim and hit the hawk instead and killed it. Thus, the dove was saved from death.
Beth was smaller than the other children in her class. In fact she was smaller than most of the children in her one-teacher rural school. It was embarrassing that some of the five and six year-olds were taller. Even her own sister, who was two years younger than she was, and had just started school, was wellas tall.
Barry, a large red headed boy in her class, teased her, but not unkindly. He often called her Shorty or Little-un. She didn't like him much. He was too big and he always seemed to be there. And it is as well he was, when a ferret-faced sixth class boy, who had forgotten his lunch, decided to have Beth's instead.
'She don't need it,' he sneered. 'Doesn't look as though she eats anyway.' He held Beth's lunch box out of her pleading reach.
Other children gathered around but none was brave enough to attack the bully, verbally or physically, until Barry coming from nowhere launched himself at him, clutching his legs and landing him like a sack of potatoes on the ground. Beth's lunch flew into the air and Barry, deftly catching it, bowed and presented to her.
Years passed, and although Beth and Barry went to different high schools they tended to move in the same circles, share many of the same friends. Barry no longer called Beth Shorty, but now said she was petite. She rather liked this. She rather liked Barry and Barry was realizing that he more than just liked Beth. They wrote to each other when Barry went to Agriculture College and went out together whenever he came home. They didn't bother much with their friends; they liked to be alone.
It was on a lovely sunny afternoon, when they were walking through the park, that they met Ferret-face. Seeing their clasped hands, he sniggered.
'Still protecting Shorty from the world, eh Barry.'
Barry saw red, but this time Ferret- face was ready, and took off like greased lightning.
Beth grasped Barry's arm. 'Let him go. Im not worried. Anyway I'm not short. I'm petite.' She laughed as she looked up at Barry.
Barry put his arms around her and hugged her close. 'Of course you are and I love you. I think I've always loved you. Beth do you . . . ?
Beth wriggled free.
Of course I love you. I can't imagine life without you.'
'But Beth,' He stammered a little. 'I mean like, do you love me enough to marry me?'
'Of course I will. After all 'one good turn deserves another.' She giggled, but the ardour of her kiss left no room for doubt in Barry's mind.
© Colleen McMillan