Hidden beneath the ferns and overgrown with weeds, was the limerick forest. No one dared to venture into it, but in the depths of the forest a lovely honeysuckle and rose covered cottage stood out.

Unlike the rest of the forest, it was immaculately clean and was not green. The walls of the cottage were like the colour of the blue sky and the door was white covered by fragrant pink roses. In this cottage lived three brave women. After retiring, all three women wanted to spend their remaining days in the forest, so they explored and found an untidy crumbling shack which they then freshened up and started living in.

As adventurous and exciting it seemed, living in a forest was no piece of cake. Lucy, Meg and Ellie realised that in a couple of days. So, smart as they were, they made a daily schedule. Meg would cook the food since she had the flare of a chef and also do the dishwashing. Lucy would do the laundry and vacuum cleaning. Last, but not the least, Ellie, it was decided, would knit Alice bands and would sell them at the monthly La’Chic market and with the money she’d earn, she get the grocery and other necessities.

Things went on amiably for the three. Several years later, once on La’Chic market day and Ellie set out with baskets full of Alice bands. After all were sold out successfully, Ellie wandered around the market buying the groceries and some treats.

“Poor you!” said a middle-aged woman scornfully. “Having to sell Alice bands as a job. All I do is chill.” Satisfied with her lecture the women settled with a haughty smirk.

Speechless Ellie stared at the plump, stout women standing next to her. She mumbled something and left that stall. After finishing the grocery, Ellie made her way back to the cottage. On the way, the women’s speech was whirling in her head, “Poor you! All I do is chill.”

In the cottage Ellie announced that it was time for a change, they should switch jobs. Meg and Lucy were bewildered at Ellie’s statement.

“Isn’t it just perfect as it is?” protested Lucy.

“No!” huffed Ellie.

The next day dawned bright and sunny. Ellie did Meg’s job and Meg did Lucy’s job. Lucy did Ellie’s job. Ellie was too proud to admit that she needed help so, as you can guess, the food turned out undercooked and bland. Lucy was too scared to ask Ellie for help in making the Alice bands, so she tried her best, but they looked like a tangled heap of wool.

Meg managed to do the vacuuming right, but washed a white shirt with a red jacket so you can guess when they came out of the washing machine the shirt was pink.

In the evening, each was ashamed of their efforts as they shared the day’s catastrophes and Ellie realised her mistake. She apologised and confessed that the seed of discontent was sowed in her mind after hearing a woman’s comment in the market.

They all then came to a conclusion: ­ to each, their own. Everyone is good at something or the other. Every role is priceless. Look at what you can do best and let others handle what they are best at. Each of us has a different role to play in this world.

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 4th, 2020