A/N Hello, I had this idea from a picture I saw on FB. I will try to find it again but here is my little Christmas tale and I hope you find it thought provoking as you all open your presents tomorrow morning. DS

Abelo: Free gift.

I want to tell you about a girl named Abelo, and what she did on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day for Abelo was much the same as any other day really. She had to go to work. She didn't have far to go because she lived at work, or near it anyway. She and her younger brother slept in a small sheltered corner, surrounded by wooden crates for shelter, at the edge of the city dump.

Every day Abelo and her brother would go out onto that dump and sift through the rubbish looking for recyclables. These they would take and sell to get enough money each day for food. This was what Abelo and her brother had done everyday for the last two years since their parents had gone off to search for better work and had never returned.

Today was a little different though. since it was Christmas some charity workers came round with a van and gave everyone a free bowl of rice with a little spice to flavour it. Abelo took two: one for her and one for her brother.

She shared dome of hers with her brother because he was very small and needed more than her to help him grow. Abelo was pleased because that day she would not need to find rubbish to sell. Her brother and her had eaten. They would not need to eat again until tomorrow.

Abelo had been given a free gift: some spare time to do something for herself.

She decided to try out an idea she had thought of a few weeks ago. She made her way carefully onto the dump taking care not to step on any glass or needles. Now I don't mean sewing needles here, I mean hypodermic needles: the dump was always littered with them and they were all infected with something horrible. Two weeks ago Abelo stepped on one and it stuck in her heal. Her foot was still sore and she knew it was probably infected but she couldn't afford to go to the nurse. She only ever had enough money to feed her brother and herself and to go to the nurse meant choosing to go without food that day. I think you probably know what Abelo would have chosen.

Gingerly Abelo stepped across the piles of other people's rubbish looking for something specific. She needed two plastic bottles, you know the kind that have fizzy drinks like Coke in them, the big ones. She needed two, relatively the same size and she quickly found them. She also needed some rags she could tear into straps. She quickly found everything she needed and took her trove back to her little sheltered corner.

Her brother had gone to play soccer with the other boys. They had made a ball with some shredded paper and rags to tie it up into the right shape. That was what he was doing with his free time and Abelo laughed to hear them all having so much fun. It didn't happen very often, and it seemed like such a long time since she had heard her brother laugh with such joy.

She sat down in her corner and got to work on her idea. She squashed both bottles flat and placed the lids back on. She tore the rag into two strips then took out her prized possession: her only possession: her pocket knife.

Deftly she made a hole in each bottle, near the neck, and then made a hole either side of each bottle about half way down. She took the rag strips feeding the middle of one through the hole at the top of one bottle and knotting it. As she worked her brow furrowed in concentration and she stuck out her tongue as all children do when they are involved in an important task. She took the two ends of the rag strip and fed one through each of the side holes and knotted them two. She repeated the process with the other bottle then she stood. She was excited now as she was eager to try out her creation to see if it worked.

She placed the squashed bottles with their knotted rag strips on the ground then slowly, almost reverently she slipped her toes beneath the strips, the soles of her feet squashing the bottles further as she put her weight on each one.

She smiled and gave a small shudder of excitement and achievement. Slowly she took a few steps. They were perfect. She walked out from her corner and onto the rubbish dump with confidence knowing that today her feet would be protected, and for many days to come for she fully intended to keep her perfect free gift.

She blinked her eyes in the early morning sunshine and looked over to where some of her friends had gathered to sing songs and dance to celebrate this special day.

She walked over to join them and proudly show them her new shoes.

That is what Abelo did this Christmas: what did you do?

Well there it is. I hope you liked it and I hope it made you think. Abelo does actually mean free gift. DS