Louis was the kind of kid whose favourite activity was lying about staring at the ceiling, or sitting quietly in front of the TV. He knew his parents didn't like that he spent so much time like that, but he liked the comfort of that kind of life and, after all, he wasn't doing badly at school ...
One day, while out hiking, Louis sat down to rest a while and the next thing he knew, he had lost the rest of the group. But right at that moment, while getting to his feet, he was stunned to see a little dwarf walking quickly through the trees. The dwarf seemed so angry, grumbling and moaning, that he didn't realise that a huge boulder was rolling down the hill towards him. And but for the reflexes of Louis, who jumped in to save the dwarf, the little guy would have been crushed.
After recovering from the shock, the dwarf was so grateful that he insisted he take Louis to show him one of the dwarves' secret places.
So off they went through the mountains and arrived at a small clearing. In the middle of the clearing there appeared to be a well.
-"This is a magic well,"
explained the dwarf.
-"Every so often some wonderful gifts come out of it, and whoever is here at the time can use them and enjoy them."
Louis didn't know whether to believe this story, but at that same moment a really cool bicycle appeared from out of the well.
-"Can I can keep it?"
-"Sure, it's all yours! Enjoy it!"
Louis went over and spent a long time looking at the bike, really excited by it. Finally, he got on to try it out.
But not for long, because without any warning, the bike disappeared, and Louis' backside hit the dirt. He would have been really angry with the dwarf, had it not been for the fact that the costume of his favourite superhero had just come out of the well, complete with all the accessories. Again, Louis spent a long time inspecting everything about the costume. And again, just after he had dressed himself in it and started playing, the gift disappeared.
And so it continued. Before his eyes came a procession of all the things Louis liked, but not a single one of them stuck around for very long. At first he was angry because he wanted to keep everything to take home, but realising that this wouldn't be possible, he contented himself with enjoying each of the wonders provided by the well, until he could do so no longer.
He sat down and had a rest with his friend the dwarf, and the dwarf explained that the well had always worked this way, constantly making wonderful gifts, and those gifts always disappeared shortly afterwards. And he told Louis how everyone ended up accepting that the well was better that way, offering something new every time.
Time passed so quickly that, before they knew it, everyone was out looking for Louis. Hearing their shouts, the dwarf ran away, and only had time to say:
-"I can't let them see me, and neither can I allow you to remember where this place is. But lest you forget me I'll present you with a gift."
He handed Louis a small parcel, and before disappearing the dwarf said:
-"It's a miniature copy of the well, but it's just as magical. Learn to look at it in the right way, and it will provide you with great joy. Goodbye, and thanks for saving me!"
With all the commotion that ensued after he was found in the woods, Louis forgot about the gift until a few days later. He decided to open it in his room, as if it were a secret, only to discover that the gift was a simple clock with a picture of Louis playing near the well.
-"The dwarf was kidding me,"
-"I knew it would have been too much to get a real copy of that well."
So Louis sat back on the bed to practice his speciality of whiling away the time. However, when the hand of the clock had turned five minutes, a small glow came out of the clock, and the picture of Louis happily playing burst into a thousand pieces, which came back together to form the image of a child looking lonely and bored. The same happened another five minutes later, and every time five more minutes had passed without Louis having done anything.
Louis began to understand. What if the gifts from the well were the minutes themselves? Was that what the dwarf had been talking about when he said Louis needed to learn how to look at the gift properly?
That way Louis would have everything: time cannot stop, and therefore you have to really make sure you enjoy the gifts you're given when they come, because once they go they're gone for good and will never return.
Then he thought about the minutes he had been given in life, so many of them spent watching television or lying in his room, and those minutes would never return! And he realised that, as with gifts from the well, you had to start enjoying them right away.
And ever since that day it was as though there were two or three Louis' in the house. Wherever he was, he learned to open his eyes and to discover in every moment what a fantastic gift he had been given by the well of time. And in this way he learned to read books he would never have read, play games he never would have played, make friends he never would have made, and learning lessons he never would have learned ... He learned to see every thing around him as a gift, a gift to be enjoyed to the maximum. And even when watching TV now, it seemed like he watched it with more interest, because he was no longer willing to waste any of the gifts given by the magic well of time.