the brave boy

The Brave Boy- Children’s Corner

The brave boy

Nazneen Mukhtar GulamhusseinThe columnist Nazneen Gulamhussein Mukhtar (Arusha, Tanzania) is the headmistress of Yaadgare Murtazawi Madressa, She is a mother to five children and loves writing and reading. She always wanted to inspire children – her favourite audience. Writing has been her passion for as long as she can remember and believes that effective learning takes place through storytelling.

Ali was feeling sad and lonely. He didn’t know what to do. The boys all thought he was a coward, but the truth was the others were always teasing old Mr Salman, and he did not like to be a part of their team. He knew it was not good to tease elders. Allah(swt) would not be happy with him. Mr Salman was a poor fellow, he was middle-aged and wore thick lenses, he had had an eye problem for a very long time, as long as Ali could remember.

“Ali is a coward! He is a scared cat!” said Anwar.

“Ali is no fun!” said Abbas.

“Ali has no guts! He is a wimp!” said Safdar, and it went on and on.

That was all because the boys had put spiders in Mr Salman’s shoes and Ali had refused to be a part of their game. Before this incident, they had put some stones in his way and the poor man had tripped and fallen badly! Ali did not like to do mean things and laugh about it. He was a kind and understanding boy.

When he went home he talked about it with his Father. Mr Ahmad was quite proud of his son. He was also shocked at the behaviour of the other boys. He could not understand why other boys were so unfeeling towards a poor old fellow. He explained to Ali, that it was not a show of bravery to tease and be unkind to an old man, in fact, it was a shameful act. Indeed bravery meant helping and saving others, not taking advantage of them.

It was Saturday night and the boys decided to go and have a swim in the river that was near their Madressa. Actually, this was very dangerous as people claimed that the water had a very strong current at times and it seemed to swallow up people. When Ali heard about the plan, he tried to discourage them, but they started taunting him and calling him a coward so he decided to keep quiet.

The boys were having a whale of a time, they were shouting with joy, some of the boys were coming out of the water when suddenly someone started screaming, “Help! Help! The water keeps on pulling me inside! Help somebody help me! Ali came to see who was shouting and saw that Abbas had gone further up the river and was almost in the middle. He was screaming with fright, and the other boys were just watching him, no one seemed to have the guts to get inside the river and save him.

“We told him not to go so far,” said Anwar. “He never listens to us, and I would not dare to go so far inside the river…” said Safdar.

Ali looked sceptically at them and could not help saying, “Now who are the cowards?” Then he took off his shirt as fast as he could and took a deep dive into the river. He was a strong swimmer and swam towards Abbas with strong and swift strokes. Indeed Ali was an admirably good swimmer. The boys looked at him with admiration mixed with envy. Ali managed to get Abbas out finally and all his friends surrounded him and clapped him on his shoulders.

“Well done! That was brave of you Ali!” said Anwar.

“You have helped Abbas, you have saved his life, and you are a strong swimmer…we are proud of you!” said Safdar.

“Thanks, Ali! Thanks for saving me!” said Abbas. Ali looked around at them and said, “Well not long ago you were all calling me a coward!”

The other boys blushed and were deeply ashamed of themselves. Then Ali told them what his Father had explained to him. “Remember true bravery is helping others when they need it most and doing something
selflessly. It does not mean taking advantage of a person who is weaker than yourself.” The boys agreed and to show how sorry they were they decided to go and apologize to Mr Salman. Ali was glad and they all walked happily towards Madressa.

Well, children don’t you think bravery is an admirable attribute to have? Are you really brave? Do you bully the weak and consider that a feat of bravery? If you do, then you know now what the real bravery is.

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