Tickets to Heaven

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Story File
8.9

Values

Hope, enthusiasm, goodness

Main Lesson

The goal of doing good right to the end improves one's attitude to life and is a source of health and hope for those suffering serious illness, whatever the outcome.

Setting

A hospital

Characters

A boy and a clown

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Tickets to Heaven

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A short story about a sick boy being healed

There once was a sick child named John. He had a rare and serious illness, and all the doctors confirmed that he would not live long, though they couldn't say exactly how long it would be. John spent long days in the hospital, saddened by not knowing what would happen, until one day a clown who was passing by saw how sad John was and came over to say:

-"How come you're standing there like that? Haven't they told you about the Heaven for sick children?

John shook his head, but continued listening intently.

-"Well, it's the best place you could ever imagine, much better than heaven for parents or anyone else. They say it's like that to compensate children for having being sick. But to enter it there is one condition."

-"What is it?"

asked John, concerned.

-"You cannot die without having filled the bag."

-"The bag?"

-"Yes, yes. The bag. A large grey bag like this,"

said the clown as he pulled one out from under his jacket and gave it to John.

-"You were lucky I had one on me. You have to fill it with notes so you can buy your ticket."

-"Notes? It's no use then. I haven't any money."

-"No, not ordinary notes, my boy. Special notes: notes for good deeds, pieces of paper on which you write every good thing you do. At night an angel comes and checks all this paperwork, and exchanges the good ones for tickets to heaven."

-" Really?"

-" Of course! But be sure to hurry up and fill your bag. You've been sick a long time and we don't know if you have enough time left to fill the bag. This is a unique opportunity and you cannot die before completing it; that would be a terrible shame!"

The clown was in a hurry, and when he left the room John was pensive, staring at the bag. What his new friend had told him seemed wonderful, and he had nothing to lose by trying. That same day, when John's mother arrived to see him, he gave her the best of smiles, and made an effort to be more cheerful than usual, since he knew this made her happy. Then, when he was alone, he wrote on a piece of paper:

-"Mum smiled today."

And he put the piece of paper in the bag.

The next morning, as soon as he woke up, John ran to see the bag. And there it was! A real ticket to heaven! The ticket looked so magical and wonderful that it filled John with excitement, and he spent the rest of that day doing everything he knew to cheer up the doctors and nurses, and he was company to the children who felt most lonely. He even told jokes to his little brother and took some books to study a little. And for every one of those things he put a piece of paper in his bag.

And so it continued, every day John woke up with the excitement of counting his new tickets to heaven, and working on getting a lot more. He did as much as he could, because he realised it was no good just to accumulate tickets in the bag in any way he could: every night the angel arranged them in the tidiest way, taking up the least space. And John was forced to continue doing good works at top speed, with the hope of filling the bag before getting too sick ...

And although he spent many days on this, he never filled the bag. John had become the most beloved child at the hospital, and he had done so in the most cheerful and helpful way,… and this ended up completely healing him. Nobody knew how it happened: some said that his joy and his attitude must have cured him, others were convinced that the hospital staff loved him so much that they spent extra hours to try to find a cure and provide the best care, and some told how a couple of elderly millionaires who John had cheered up lot during their illness had paid for him to have expensive experimental treatment.

The fact is that all these were true because, as the clown had seen so many times, you only have to put a bit of heaven in your old grey bag each night to transform what seems like a dying existence into the very best days of your life, however long they should last.


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