” I told Dani about the Ark, that it was you who made it, and not Santa Claus”. And hand in hand, they walk home, Dani, Lucien and Annette.
A Story on Forgiveness
Dani is a cute six year old, his elder sister Annette is twelve. They lost their mother when she was giving birth to Dani and they are living with their granny. Annette loves Dani greatly. Their neighbor’s son Lucien is around Annette’s age. Lucien is not really a bad boy but he is a bully and loves teasing Dani. So one day Dani is playing with his Cat outside, Lucien appears, grabs the Cat and holds him over the old abandoned dry well, threatening to drop him , he probably never intended to carry out his threat, but the frightened Cat suddenly scratches him and he let go of the animal, Dani loves his Cat, without thinking he leaps into the well to rescue the Cat, Lucien screams. Annette runs out, people around get ropes, ladders and bring the boy and the Cat out of the well. The Cat is unhurt, but Dani has a fractured ankle which doesn’t heal well, and he has to walk with crutches ever since.
Lucien becomes an outcast, no mother would allow her kids near him, he is hated and despised by everyone, especially Annette. Eventually Lucien befriends the lonely old man who lives in the cabin up the mountain. The man is a carver and his heart goes out to the small lonely boy who recounts his misdeed the way only a lonely person can understand another lonely person. The old man teaches Lucien to carve and Lucien carves an Ark with different kind of animals, it takes him months to do it, he tells the old man he is making it for Dani, as a Christmas present, the old man encourages him and when it is finally completed it is very beautiful and Lucien is proud of his work. Lucien takes it to Dani’s house on Christmas eve but the 1st person he meets at the door is Annette, when he explains his mission Annette curses him, grabs the Ark and the little animals it contains and flings them out into the snow. Lucien goes away downcast without bothering to pick them up.
On Christmas morning Dani discovers the Ark and the little exquisite animals outside in the snow , he is convinced it is a gift from Santa Claus, he takes it into the house and shows Annette his gift from Santa Claus. Annette does not tell him the truth.
One day Lucien stumbles into Dani playing with the Ark, he asks him how he got it and Dani claims it was a gift from Santa, Lucien tries to explain to Dani but when Dani tells him Annette confirmed it was a gift from Santa, Lucien goes away broken hearted. He tries to reconcile with Annette on a number of occasion but Annette rebuffs him.
One stormy night a sheep goes missing and Annette sets out to look for it. She gets caught in the blizzard, sprains her ankle and gets lost, just when she thinks she will freeze to death in the blizzard, Lucien comes streaking down the mountain on his skis, on his way home from the old man’s cabin. Annette screams his name and he stops. He carries Annette on his back for hours, through the blizzard until they eventually get home. Annette asks for his forgiveness but he insists it should be the other way round. They strike a tentative friendship.
The old man of the mountain tells Lucien his story, how he lost the woman he loved through his selfishness, cruelty and drunkenness and how when she died of a broken heart he went into isolation, however, they had a son who was now a very successful surgeon, the old man has never contacted his son because he is ashamed of his past conduct and he believes his son would never forgive him. However when he sees how Lucien feels about Dani’s deformity he gives Lucien a letter and Lucien sets off to the city to see the Doctor. The Doctor believes his father is dead and when he got the letter he is overwhelmed with joy and rushes down to see his father. As it turns out, he bears his father no grudge. The Doctor examines Dani and says perhaps an operation would correct the deformity, Annette, Dani and the old man leave for the city for months and Lucien becomes the lonely outcast again.
Then one day news comes that they are coming back, everyone throngs to the train station to welcome Annette and Dani, when the train stops Lucien is standing far off, too scared to come close. The train has hardly stopped when Dani leaps out without his crutches, followed by Annette, even as the crowd fusses over Dani he is searching for a face, Lucien is slinking off when Dani spots him and running towards Lucien, Dani screams,
“Lucien! See, I can walk!” He leaps on Lucien and embraces him, the little boy teaches all the vindictive adults the lesson they could never learn, forgiveness. Annette walks up smiling and says to Lucien,