Once upon a time, there were shops on Earth which sold pink words and shops which sold grey words. The former sold words such as I love you, I think of you, Thank you very much, If you please…The latter sold words such as Sillyhead, Bugger off, Shut up…
In those days, pink words were much more in demand than grey words. Pink word sellers made big profits and there was always a sweet scent around the Earth. Grey word sellers seldom had customers, and only when there were big quarrels.
One day, however, people began to buy great quantities of grey words. It was a time of big unemployment and heart strikes. Bosses bought a lot of You’re fired, Go find work elsewhere, Your services are no longer required. Families began to quaall the timerrel, and couples fell out with each other. Suddenly, there was a big demand for I no longer love you and It’s all over between us. In pink word shops, many Thank you, Please, and I love you remained unsold.
And while pink word shops closed down one after the other, grey word shops prospered. As everyone knows, ugly words are contagious. If you throw one at someone, you are sure to get ten in return. Also, if someone finds out an especially horrible word to use, there is bound to be a contest in order to find twenty words worse than that one. And so grey word sellers worked day and night to discover nastier and nastier insults, which they stored wherever they could in case of shortages. Whenever the occasion arose, Shut your mouth, Go take a walk, Lazybones, and Fatty sprung up and flew everywhere.
Birthdays became occasions to sing Unhappy birthday to you and hurl insults at everyone. On New Year’s Eve, people acquired the habit of wishing A Very Nasty New Year and Much Illness! Whenever people exchanged presents, all you could hear was How ugly! What a terrible idea! This is surely the nastiest present I have ever got!
Before classes, children went into grey shops and filled their pockets with ugly words to be used during recess time: Why don’t you bugger off and let us play good football? Before holidays, adults also went there to buy insults that they hurled at drivers in the highways. Get rid of that old tin and leave the road to real drivers!
One day, the air on Earth became icy, because the Sun, which still remembered people commenting It is such a lovely weather!… refuse to shine. Instead, people now said things such as What beastly weather! I wish it would snow…
The sky became cloudy and the Earth entered a new ice age. Everybody was cold. People refused to undress and they didn’t hug each other anymore. There were no flowers and no pink words. And no love.
However, somewhere in the world, there was a little boy who didn’t want to get used to grey words. Maybe because in one of his pockets there still remained a frosty pink word.
“I don’t want to live in a world where no one sings anymore,” said Peter. “Where nobody greets each other and where it is always cold. I am going in search of the Sun.”
The boy walked for a long time, climbing icy hills, big mountains, and extinct volcanoes. After many months and many hard miles, he came to the house of clouds.
“I have come in search of the Sun,” he announced.
“Well, just look at this,” said Major Cloud, the one in charge of the whole grey sky. “A ridiculous brat wishes to see Mister Sun! My undear boy, since grey words took over, nobody gets to see the sun anymore.”
And Major Cloud shut a cloudy door on Peter’s face. The boy felt confused. He couldn’t answer with a grey word because he had none in his pockets. To everyone’s amazement, he began to cry. No tears had been seen around for many years in the icy universe, since all hearts were frozen.
“Stop that at once,” whined a grey cloud, “or else there will be a downpour!”
Still, the cloud felt somehow touched and took the decision to help the boy.
“Can you see that tiny yellow ball down there? It’s the Sun.”
Peter opened his eyes and saw something that looked like a billiard ball lost in the middle of the grey sky. He walked wearily towards it and greeted it.
“Good morning, Sun! I have come to fetch you, because everything on Earth has turned grey. We are cold and we feel sad. We have stopped laughing and using gentle words. You need to come back.”
“I will go back under one condition, “said the Sun. “You must throw some pink words into the world to ease my return.”
And the Sun gave Peter words such as Please, How nice of you, Thank you very much, If you don’t mind, I love you, among others. As many words as Peter was able to carry in his pockets and in his sockets.
When the boy returned to Earth, he threw them at random. At crossroads, people began unwrapping pink papers which said The weather is nice, isn’t it? Please go ahead, I am not the least in a hurry…In the playgrounds, laughter and words such as You’re my best friend, Of course you can join our team …were soon to be heard again. At home, children began to use pink words again: Thank you, mummy, Please, I’m sorry, daddy, I didn’t do it on purpose…At birthday parties, everybody sang joyfully and on New Year’s Eve wishes of happiness and good health were exchanged again.
The Sun shone anew and each night it went to sleep in his pink cloud. And the pink shop sellers returned to business again and made a fortune. Soon there were shops selling smiles, joyful sighs, gentle words, and polite deeds.
As for grey words, they went into exile in the cold and heartless places they usually inhabited. You see, they simply couldn’t cope with so much kindness and politeness…