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It was an ordinary afternoon of another boring day of my summer vacation. I was lazily swinging from the make-shift swing in the yard. I was on my back with my arms and my head hanging upside down.

I hated it, how could mum and dad not take me anywhere? Why all my friends were out of town having fun while I was stuck here? All these thoughts were interrupted by a tingly feeling in my toes. I held the ropes with both of my hands and lifted my head up to see what was tickling my feet.

It was a squirrel and it was toying with my toes as if they were some nutty treats. I shooed it away and it ran towards the fence.

“I wish I were a squirrel,” I said. “At least I would have the freedom to do whatever I want and go wherever I want.”

The squirrel stopped, turned to look at me and then turned towards the fence again. In that very moment I felt the ground beneath my feet tremble. I got down and was now standing next to the swing, still a bit shocked from the earthquake or whatever it was. The fence moved and opened like a gate, but it wasn’t the fence that shocked me, it was what was behind it instead.

The house next door was replaced by a grassy field full of wild flowers so tall that they would put the trees in my yard to shame. I walked through the grass which had grown tall enough to brush my shoulders.

“My shoulders?” I looked at my shoulders and then my hands and my whole body. It was covered in hair, or was it fur? I was too panic-stricken and horrified to think straight.

“Oh my God! What happened to me?” I said while holding my head in disbelief. And my head, my face felt so different and animal-like.

I looked around myself in the fantasy-like garden that I was praising moments ago and felt so non-existent in its vastness. I looked over my shoulder and saw my house, but it seemed so gigantic. I ran towards it in quick long strides on my feet (paws). I saw my mum come out of the door and call out to me for lunch. I looked at the swing and found myself hanging there like I was before all this madness happened ... before I wished to be a squirrel.

The girl, my look-alike, got up from the swing and walked towards my house. I approached her. She knelt down when she saw me coming and smiled at me. I looked into her eyes and recognised them, they were the eyes of that squirrel.

She said, “Thanks for making that wish, I always wanted to be a human and have a nice loving family and a warm and cosy home like yours.”

I could not let this happen! How could I be naive enough to make a wish like this? I ran towards the house, towards my mum, towards everything I hated moments ago.

“No! Wait! I want it all back … no! Stop!” I tripped over something while I was shouting my objections and fell. Everything around me blurred and I heard my mum ask me if I was okay.

I got up quickly and found myself standing next to the swing. I looked around myself, breathing heavily and everything was just as it was. I thanked God and went inside, still unsure of whether I dozed off on the swing or if my wish had come true.

Whatever it was, it taught me a very important lesson, and that is to be thankful of what I have instead of crying over things that I don’t have.

Published in Dawn, Young World, September 8th, 2018