Story Time: The right thing to do

14 Dec 2019


Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

“Today’s test score will determine who has topped the class, so be ready,” announced Miss Natasha in the classroom.

Miss Natasha gathered everyone’s test papers and cleared her throat to announce the results and distribute the test papers among the students. Everyone braced themselves for their scores that would be announced soon.

Ali and Fahad have been competitors since class one and each year either one of the two came first in the class. This year, it was a tough competition between both of them, and they eagerly awaited the results.

“Ahmed, 18,” announced Miss Natasha as she handed him his paper, “Zaheer, 16, Ali, 20, Fahad, 19 ... and lastly Alia, 15.”

A wrong thing may seem tempting at first but, if it is wrong, it will bite us someday

When she had distributed the test papers in class, everyone found out that Ali beat Fahad by one mark and topped in class. Everyone congratulated him and Ali was ecstatic as he accepted everyone’s thanks.

As Ali was about to put his paper in his bag, he noticed that by mistake Miss Natasha had given him two marks for an incorrect answer. He was shocked. He rechecked his answers and realised that all his answers were correct except for that one. Now if he informed Miss Natasha about it, he would not only lose two marks but also his first position.

Considering the situation, he remained quiet and went home. But all day he kept thinking about it. Should he or shouldn’t he tell Miss Natasha about it? He contemplated that it’s already done, and no one will notice if he didn’t tell anyone, but then another thought crossed his mind. If he didn’t tell the teacher about it and stayed the position-holder in class, he wouldn’t rightfully deserve the position as it clearly belonged to Fahad.

This situation put Ali in a tough position. His parents always taught him to do the right thing, but doing the right thing here meant he would lose his first position. He remembered how everyone cheered for him and congratulated him in class. He knew that by informing the teacher about it, he would lose it all. But this meant doing the wrong thing and that kept bothering Ali.

As he fought with his thoughts, his mum asked him, “What the matter?”

“Mum, what if doing the right thing would mean you would lose something?” he asked in reply.

“Son, if it is the right thing to do, then I am sure you will be rewarded for it. A wrong thing may seem tempting at first, but if it is wrong, it will bite us someday. Besides, God is always watching us, so it’s better if we do what is right.”

The next day in class, Miss Natasha announced, “Today Ali has done what only a few of us would have the courage to do. He came to me and told me that I had mistakenly given him two marks and he was right about it, so the first position goes to Fahad, not Ali.”

Everyone, even Fahad, was surprised by this development.

After the class, Fahad asked Ali, “Why did you do that?”

Ali simply replied, “Because it was the right thing to do.”

Published in Dawn, Young World, December 14th, 2019