YULETIDE STORY FOR YOUNG READERS

Miggy’s special Christmas gift for his mother—and himself

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When Miggy saw the necklace in the boutique of his Tita Betty, he decided right away that it would be his gift to his mother on Christmas. But, when he found out the price, his heart sank: P550! The money he had saved by not spending his baon came up to only a little less than P300! How could he possibly earn the rest of the money he needed in only two weeks’ time?

Miggy felt like giving up—until his friend, Benjo, showed him the cool whirling top he had bought for himself with his own money. How had he earned it? Benjo told Miggy that he had sold some of his action comic books, no sweat at all.

But, what could Miggy sell? Not his stamp collection—his mother would get really mad at him if he did that, because the stamps came from the letters his dad would write them from different parts of the world.

Maybe he could sell his radio? But, it looked really battered, who would be interested in it? Then, Benjo came up with a bright idea.

“Migs,” he said, “doesn’t your dad come home with a shipment of bananas every month or so? What does your mom do with them?”

Fried bananas

“Mostly she gives them away to our relatives and neighbors,” Miggy replied, not knowing what his friend was driving at.

“You know, you can make money from selling them. Ask your mom to make fried bananas from them!”

“Huh? But, that would be like telling her my secret plan to give the necklace to her on Christmas!”

“Is that so? Wait, let me think,” said Benjo as he closed his eyes and walked up and down. “Aha! I got it,” he exclaimed after 30 seconds of thinking hard: “I can do the frying—I know how, and my banana fritters are really yummy and easy to sell.”

Miggy thought for a while, and finally agreed to Benjo’s plan. So, one day, after his mother had gone to the office, Miggy and Benjo took out the stack of bananas from the dirty kitchen, peeled them, and spent the entire morning cooking them into banana fritters. —They did smell nice!

After the banana fritters were cooked, while they were still piping hot, Miggy and Benjo put them in two big baskets and started going around the neighborhood, hoping that they could sell enough to pay for Miggy’s Christmas gift for his mom.

—Twenty minutes later, they were exhausted from walking while carrying the heavy baskets—but, they hadn’t made a single sale. What were they doing wrong?

“Maybe,” Benjo speculated, “it’s because they don’t know what we’re selling—because we’re not telling them! What do the pan de sal and balut vendors do?”

“They shout,” Miggy replied—and stopped in his tracks. “Hey, I’m not going to do that—it’s too embarrassing! What if our classmates hear me?”

“So, you want me to do the shouting?,” Benjo protested. “Hey, I’ve helped you a lot already—I did the cooking, and now you want me to do the hawking? In your dreams! Who’s making the money here, anyway?”

Bright coins

“Oh, OK, “Miggy sighed. So, he started shouting—at first, much too softly, but realizing that nothing would come out of his shy hawking, he was soon shouting really loud, like the balut and pan de sal vendors he’d heard walking or cycling around their neighborhood early in the morning or late at night.

—And, little by little, people began to respond and call out to them, to buy the fritters they were selling. The sight of all those bright coins changing hands and ending up in his pockets thrilled Miggy. It was his first time to sell anything, and thanks to Benjo’s help and badgering, he was turning out to be good at it!

As the banana fritters got sold like the proverbial hotcakes, Miggy realized that something unplanned but important was happening today: Because he wanted to give his mother something special, he had gotten over his shyness, he had learned to be an effective vendor and young businessman, he was making money—and it felt really good!

He was dead tired at the end of their selling spree, but he was proud of himself, because he had made much more than he needed to buy the necklace. In fact, he had made so much money that he even gave Benjo balato for being such a great help to him!

On Christmas Eve, when Miggy surprised his mother with the really nice-looking necklace, he got the biggest reward of all when he saw the genuine delight in her eyes.

It had been a tough learning process, but was all worth it—and Miggy knew he would soon do it again—because in the process, he had also given himself the even more precious gift of self-confidence and feeling of self-worth that would be his to enjoy—for keeps!

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