By Joan Zambelli
Young Melanie McNamara had gone on holiday to the seaside with her mummy and daddy. This meant that Marmite, her kitten, was missing her a lot.
Mrs Wilson, the lady next-door, very kindly fed Marmite while they were away, but she didn’t make a big fuss of him like Melanie always did.
This wasn’t because Mrs Wilson didn’t like cats. She loved cats, especially Marmite, and wished she could make a fuss of him. But unfortunately, she was allergic to cats, which meant that each time she went anywhere near Marmite, she began to sneeze. And Mrs Wilson sneezed very loudly indeed!
The sun was streaming in through the windows, so Marmite decided to pad around the garden in the sunshine. With a bit of luck, he wouldn’t be able to hear Mrs Wilson’s loud sneezes out there!
Of course, he didn’t realise that the minute he went away from her, she stopped sneezing anyway.
Once out in the garden, the first thing Marmite noticed was a beautiful butterfly. He watched as it fluttered gracefully from flower to flower. Then, when it reached a big colourful rose-bush, it stopped to rest on a beautiful yellow rose.
Marmite padded slowly and quietly over to the rose-bush, as he didn’t want to scare the butterfly away.
“I’ve been watching you flying around the garden and dancing among the flowers, Marmite told the butterfly. “You fly so gracefully.”
“I’m very lucky.” The butterfly fluttered. “With my beautiful wings, I am free to fly away to anywhere I want to go.” Then off it flew to be near the beautiful multi-coloured roses which were climbing up the archway in the middle of the garden.
“If only I had wings!” Marmite sighed. “I’d then be able to fly away to the seaside to be with Melanie.”
As Marmite stared at the ground, deep in thought, he noticed some ants. Some of the ants had wings, too!
They all seemed to be very busy. Marmite watched as they carried tiny pieces of straw which they needed to build their nests. Some of the ants clambered over stones. Being so small, this must have felt as though they were climbing mountains.
“I’ve been watching you while you’ve all been working so hard,” Marmite told them. “You must get very tired building your own nests. I don’t have to build a nest because I live in a house with Melanie and her mummy and daddy. I just sit and watch everyone else working.”
“That sounds rather boring to us,” the ants chorused. “We’re very proud of the way we work.”
And they carried on working.
A short time later, Marmite heard the sound of beautiful singing high up in the tree-tops, as the birds began to sing at the tops of their voices.
They seemed to be very happy by the sound of all their singing, even if they had to build their own nests, too. But then Marmite began to wonder if the main reason they were so happy, was the fact that they had wings.
After all, they could fly away to wherever they wanted to go, just like the butterflies.
“If only I had wings!” Marmite sighed once more. “It’s not fair!”
By now though, Marmite was feeling rather weary, so he decided to take a little nap. He fell asleep in no time at all, and it wasn’t long before he began to dream. And in his dream, it seemed as if his wish was coming true.
Suddenly, he had wings! But, strangely enough, having wings didn’t make him happy after all!
You see, each time he tried to fly, he found that he couldn’t! He tried to fly over and over again, but each time, his paws stayed firmly on the ground. In no way would he be able to fly to the seaside to be with Melanie.
Luckily, before he became too disappointed, he heard the sound of a familiar voice, and woke up.
“Hello, Marmite, dear,” Melanie was saying.
“I’ve had a lovely time at the seaside, but it’s nice to be home because I missed you such a lot.” Then she took Marmite in her arms and stroked him gently.
Marmite purred loudly, although not as loudly as Mrs Wilson sneezes! This was his way of letting Melanie know that he missed her, too.
He knew now that he didn’t need wings to make him happy. Besides, there wasn’t any point in having wings, if he didn’t know how to use them. And in any case, now that Melanie was back home with him again, he didn’t want to fly away anywhere at all – not ever!