Outcomes Offered

■ Knowing that persistence may be rewarded

■ Knowing how not to react impulsively

■ Managing anger effectively

Once there was a fly who had the misfortune to be born in a very tidy town. As you know, flies love trash, garbage, and all that sort of dirty, smelly, yucky stuff, but the people of this town believed that cleanliness was next to godliness and—unfortunately for the fly—put their beliefs into practice. Search as he might, there was never any garbage to be found in the streets and all the trashcans were sealed so tightly that not even a half-starved fly could work its way in to get a decent meal. The fly flew up and down the streets, searching everyone's backyards, hoping that a careless owner or kid might have dropped something tempting. Minute by minute he got hungrier and hungrier until he reached the point that it felt like he really was going to starve.

He cursed his luck. This had to be the tidiest, cleanest town that ever existed and it was his fate to be born here. Oh, how he would have been willing to sell his soul for a nice meal of doggie poo, but the dog owners scooped the doggie droppings into plastic bags almost before they reached the ground. He could barely catch the smell of it and, for a fly, dog poo is probably as tempting as the smell of popcorn is for you at the movies.

When the fly couldn't get what he wanted, he started to get angry. He would get them back, he thought to himself. So he started buzzing people. Making loud noises—especially around their faces— had them swatting at him, but he dodged their swinging hands quite easily and kept up his pattern of annoyance. If he was really angry, fluttering around their food just as they put it on the table to serve up a meal really got to them; unfortunately, it just left him feeling hungrier than ever. The best trick he found was to buzz the face of one of their young babies. That was a guaranteed way to upset them.

Having explored every nook and cranny of the town, our fly winged his way into the countryside hoping that there it might at least find something. A nice pat of cow or horse manure would make a delicious meal, but the farmers were as tidy as the people in the town. They raked up after their horses and cows, leaving not a single, pooey morsel for the poor fly to find.

Just then the fly's nose began to draw him like a magnet to the rotting aromas of a potentially delicious meal. Soon he had the town garbage dump in sight. Ah-ha, said the fly to himself, Why haven't I thought of it before? Even the tidiest of towns have to dump their garbage somewhere.

To the fly it was like a huge smorgasbord laid out for a meeting of kings and queens. He plunged into the garbage dump, rolled in the smelly muck as if taking a bath, and began to gorge himself on the trash. This was great! There were putrid fish bones, rotting vegetables, and—what any decent fly would die for—his favorites: stinking, sloppy dog poo beside a puddle of vomit. He ate and ate, then ate some more till he could eat not another mouthful. However, when he found some days-old, rotten, moldy, green custard in the bottom of a grubby plastic container, he couldn't resist the desire for desert.

Finally satisfied, the fly flapped his wings to take off, but he was so heavy with his meal of garbage that he couldn't lift into the air. At first he didn't know what to do but just sit in the dump. There he might be swamped by the next truckload of trash or stomped on by a worker's boot. He had to find a solution for his problem.

Looking around, the fly saw a long-handled shovel leaning against the wall of the garbage workers' shed. He slowly dragged his big fat body across the ground to the shovel, up the shovel handle, and right to the very, very top. From there he launched himself into the air, hovered briefly, and plummeted to the ground with a big splat.

And the moral to the story? It's this: Don't fly off the handle if you are full of trash.

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