Once upon a time, there was a very mean and very grumpy little girl named Henrietta. In fact, Henrietta was so mean and grumpy that the children at Greenvale School called her Henrietta Grumpy Pants.
Of course, Henrietta knew this because she happened to be as equally as smart as she was grumpy, and she was very grumpy. None of this bothered her though because she had one of the very best friends that a grumpy young girl could ask for. Her name was Polly, and there was only one word to describe Polly; a word which had almost been waiting forever to describe this very girl, and that word was ‘lovely’.
No one could understand why Lovely Polly chose to be friends Henrietta Grumpy Pants. Perhaps it was because Henrietta Grumpy Pants always had the best lunches. Or, maybe it was because Henrietta Grumpy Pants paid Lovely Polly to remain close to her. Some wondered if maybe the girls were friends because no one really chooses their friends in the first place, but that couldn’t possibly be true!
One day, Henrietta Grumpy Pants was in a particularly grumpy mood. “Hmpf!” said Henrietta, “I am NOT wearing those pink shoes to school! Not today! Not ever!” It was Henrietta’s’ birthday, and, while most children wake up feeling particularly joyful on their birthdays, Henrietta Grumpy Pants had woken up quite literally on the wrong side of the bed and hit her head on the wall of her bedroom. To make matters worse, she had been given a pair of pink sneakers from her grandmother as a birthday present. “If you think I am wearing these… these… things… then you are out of your mind!” Henrietta Grumpy Pants had exclaimed.
Knowing how hard Grandma had tried to find these shoes, her mum tried to make a deal with her. “If you wear your new shoes, Henrietta,” her mum explained, “I will let you eat not one, but two bowls of ice cream. One for dinner and one for dessert.”
Henrietta looked at her mother for a moment in deep thought. “Hmpf!” she said again and began tying on her shoes.
Lovely Polly met Henrietta Grumpy Pants at the school gate, just as she always did. She told Henrietta Grumpy Pants that her hair looked particularly shiny today, just as she always did. She made sure Henrietta Grumpy Pants had finished her homework and asked if she needed any help with her maths, just as she always did, and, just as she always did, Lovely Polly waited for Henrietta Grumpy Pants to start explaining all of the reasons why she was so very grumpy on this particular day. “How was your birthday morning, Henrietta?” asked Lovely Polly.
“Well, where do I begin?” said Henrietta Grumpy Pants. “This morning, I woke up, hit my head and then my Grandma gave me these… p…. p….” Lovely Polly looked up at Henrietta Grumpy Pants who seemed to be struggling with her words. “These p… pretty shoes!”
Both girls looked at each other, amazed at what had just come out of Henrietta Grumpy Pants’ mouth. She went to speak again. “N… n… n… nice dress Lovely Polly!” Again, both girls tried to understand what was happening since the last time Henrietta Grumpy Pants had said anything particularly nice about anyone was when she had congratulated Sweaty Sam on making a teacher run out of the classroom due to his smell.
Lovely Polly asked Henrietta Grumpy Pants what she thought of their classroom teacher, Mr Pilotmast. “He’s wonderful!” Henrietta Grumpy Pants shockingly commented. The girls stood for a moment and seemed to realise the answer to this riddle at the same time.
“It’s the shoes!” both girls exclaimed. Henrietta Grumpy Pants immediately sat down and began to untie her shoes, eager to get back to her grumpy self. Lovely Polly knelt down in front of her.
“Wait”, said Lovely Polly. “Why can’t you leave the shoes on just for today? There are so many things I want to ask you!” Henrietta looked up at Polly.
“You are my best friend, Lovely Polly, and I am forever grateful, but if I wear these shoes, I am no longer me, which means you are no longer you. My Grandma meant well to find these shoes for me, but this is not how things should be. Other people may not like who I am but I only ever want to be me.”
Being as lovely as she was, Lovely Polly began helping her forever grumpy friend untie her shoes and take them off forever.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.