Old Petunia

Once upon a time there was a grumpy lady. Everyone knew that she was grumpy. You couldn't walk by her without feeling just how grumpy she was. In fact, her parents had had a premonition that she would be grumpy all her life, and so they called her Petunia.

    As Petunia grew into being almost old, she grew grumpier still.

    All the children who lived in the houses around her knew that they needed to avoid 'Old Petunia's' house, for fear that her grumpiness would make her say something very mean or even make her throw food at them if they came too close.

    One day, Petunia was on her front porch feeling especially angry, when a bee stung her nose. At the same time, a spider bit her elbow and a cat swiped at her knee. Just then, she tripped over a flower pot, fell on top of a garden rake, and bit very hard on her tongue.

    When the dust finally settled from everything that had happened to her all at once, she was flat on her back.

    That was when she started to laugh. She laughed and laughed and laughed, until tears streamed down her cheeks.

    Petunia laughed because it was the first time in her whole life where she didn't feel grumpy.

    She kept laughing as she waved to the children who had witnessed her simultaneous attack. She kept laughing as she helped fix the village bridge that had begun to fall down. She kept laughing as she baked a cake to share with her neighbours. In fact, as long as she kept her mind on things other than herself, she could keep laughing because she found it was impossible to be grumpy.

    And as long as she was helping other people, she was never grumpy at all.

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