Danny was very disappointed with Father Christmas. He was a very good boy, but it really annoyed him, each year, to see most of the other children - who clearly behaved worse than him - being given more presents. He complained so much that, one night, Father Christmas himself appeared, complete with his sleigh, in Danny's bedroom. He put Danny on the sleigh, and they set off for the North Pole.
"I want to teach you the biggest secret of all", said Father Christmas. “Come, I will show you how we decide how many presents each child will receive each Christmas”.
When they arrived, Santa Claus showed Danny some strange contraptions, and explained,
"This was our first toy measuring machine. It was a big set of scales, and the toys were shared out according to weight. We stopped using that when one boy was given so many balloons that exploding them knocked down the walls of his house.
That other one, shaped like a mould, was called the "Equaliser". We used it to make sure all children received the same presents. But what happened was none of the children could swap their toys with anyone else, so that didn't work out... Well, that nearly put me out of a job. There was one year when hardly anyone wrote, and we had to change things fast..."
Santa continued talking about the different inventions they had made, some ridiculous, some simple. Finally, he said,
"...but all the problems were solved with this machine, and since then, every year, we receive millions more letters. It's called the Pleaseometer, and it's used to measure the children's happiness. When we visit a child, we enter all the child has into the Pleaseometer, and it automatically tells us the best presents to give".
"Well, it must be broken then, because I never get many presents..." protested Danny.
"What do you mean? It works perfectly. Children like you - who have many friends, a family that loves them, who are generous, and don't look for happiness in material things - already have thousands of points on their Pleaseometer reading. To give you lots of presents would only lower your Pleaseometer score. On the other hand, the children who are most lonely, or whose parents ignore them, or who have neither brothers, sisters or friends... they have so few points that it wouldn't matter if we gave them a truckload of toys, their Pleaseometer reading would never get past half way...
That's the big secret of the Pleasometer: those who get the most presents are the ones who, in reality, have the least in life.
Danny was having some trouble believing all this. So, that Christmas, Santa Claus took him on the sleigh, along with the Pleaseometer. He showed Danny how it was that the children who were given the most toys were, indeed, the least happy. And Danny couldn't help but cry when he saw one very rich little boy feeling so sad. After having opened a hundred presents, the rich boy spent the whole night alone, and lonely, in his bedroom...
Danny felt such pity for those children, that never again did he feel jealous that other children had more toys than him. And every day he made an effort to try to share with those children some of his own happiness.