A little girl named Mary lived in a large orphanage in London. Mary’s father had died before her birth. Her mother had died soon after giving her birth and had only had enough time to name her Mary.
Mary was a short, thin girl with light brown hair and eyes. She had no surviving relatives and was one of the few children in the orphanage, and had no visitors on weekends. At school, Mary was bullied for doing well in her studies and the other children called her “teacher’s pet.” At the orphanage Mary didn’t have any friends and sat quietly by herself. Behind her back, other children would whisper among themselves about her.
However, Mary had made friends with the birds. Every day she would leave some crumbs in the orphanage balcony where all kinds of birds would gather to eat them. Mary wished she could fly like her bird friends.
One day she got an idea. She took a big piece of rusted metal and wool from the cleaner. She cleaned the metal till it shone and patiently picked out the filth from the wool. Then, she set to work. Every day she would come home from school, do her homework, have a shower and set to work. She would continue working all day, stopping only at meal times.
At last Mary finished her work and held out a green shirt with small wings on either side. She tried the suit on and found that it fit her perfectly. She flew down the stairs, ignoring the faces of her shocked peers. The orphanage owner happened to be discussing something with the manager but stopped abruptly at the sight of Mary.
The orphanage owner was Mrs Flower. She was a middle-aged woman with black hair and blue eyes that shone like diamonds. She was very kind to all the children, especially Mary.
“Mary, where did you get that from?” asked Mrs Flower although she already knew the answer.
“I made it,” Mary replied, beaming.
“What material did you use?” inquired Mrs Flower.
“The cleaner gave me some rusted metal and some wool,” said Mary.
Mrs Flower asked the cleaner and found out that he had given Mary the filthy wool with fleas and the rusted metal one she had discarded to throw away. The news of Mary’s interesting invention spread like wildfire and the following day the orphanage was swarming with people. All of them wanted to adopt Mary. Mrs Flower allowed Mary to choose her foster parents herself.
Mary chose a young couple with no children of their own. They weren’t very well off, but by the end of the year they were billionaires. Mary had been requested to make more flying outfits. Mary was the only one who could make the outfits and she became famous for this. With hard work, Mary gave herself wings to fly.
Published in Dawn, Young World, August 1st, 2020