There was once a boy called Mario who loved to have loads of friends. He showed off a lot, always talking about how many friends he had at school, and how he was so friendly with everyone.
One day his grandfather said to him,
-"Mario, I bet you a big bag of popcorn you don't have as many friends as you think. I'm sure many of them are nothing more than companions, acquaintances, or partners in crime."
Mario accepted the bet without hesitation. However, he wasn't sure how he could test whether or not his schoolmates were real friends, so he asked his grandpa. The old man answered,
-"I have just exactly what you need, it's in the attic. Wait here a minute."
Grandpa left, soon returning as though carrying something in his hand, but Mario could see nothing there.
-"Take it. It's a very special chair. Because it's invisible it's rather tricky to sit on, but if you take it to school and you manage to sit on it, you'll activate its magic and you'll be able to tell who your real friends are.”
Mario, brave and determined, took the strange invisible chair and set off for school. At break time he asked everyone to form a circle, and he put himself in the middle, with his chair.
-"Nobody move. You're about to see something amazing."
And Mario attempted sitting on the chair. Having difficulty seeing it, he missed and fell straight onto his backside. Everyone had a pretty good laugh.
-"Wait, wait, just a slight technical problem,"
he said, making another attempt. But again he missed the seat, causing more surprised looks, and a few cat calls. Mario wouldn't be beaten. He kept trying to sit on the magic chair, and kept falling to the ground... until, suddenly, he tried again and didn't fall. This time he sat, hovering in mid-air...
Then it was that he finally experienced the magic that his grandfather had been talking about. Looking around, Mario saw George, Lucas, and Diana - three of his best friends - holding him up, so he wouldn't fall. Meanwhile, many others he had thought of as friends had done nothing but make fun of him, enjoying each and every fall.
And there the show came to an end. Leaving with his three friends, he explained to them how his grandfather had so cleverly thought of a way to show him that true friends are those who care for us, and not just any acquaintance who happens to be passing by. Even less would a friend be someone who takes joy in our misfortunes.
That evening the four children went to see Mario's grandpa to pay out the bet. They had a great time listening to stories, and eating popcorn until fit to burst. And, from then on, they used the magic chair test on quite a few occasions. And whoever passed it became friends for life.