Hope was an African swallow. He spent his days flying high in the deep blue sky. Sometimes sitting in the trees by the river, watching the other animals drink and bathe the cool water. On other days he flew to the city to see the children playing in the dusty streets that baked in the heat of the afternoon. Hope loved his world, in all it’s beauty and splendour.
But today, as he came to rest on a telephone wire, which ran alongside a road that looked as though it went on forever, Hope wondered. As a young bird he had been given his name, but what exactly did Hope mean? He thought of his best friend, Happiness the rhino. He had been named Happiness for the laughter and joy he gave to everyone around him. Even when you felt sad, you could look at Happiness’s smiling face and you yourself would smile.
Hope decided to pay Happiness a visit.
Hope flew over the open grasslands, searching for Happiness. Under the shade of a camel thorn tree, Hope spotted Happiness, dozing. As always, Happiness had a huge smile upon his sleepy face.
“Happiness, Happiness!” Hope twittered as he came to rest on one of the trees prickly branches.
“Hope, my good friend,” replied Happiness, in a very sleepy voice. “It has been so long since I have seen you, are you well?”
“Yes Happiness I am very well, but today I am wondering, and I would like your help with this wonder,” asked Hope.
“Well I will help you in anyway I can,” Happiness replied, with a smile upon his face. “Tell me about this wonder.”
“Ok,” Hope began. “I know that you are named Happiness because of the joy you bring to everyone who meets you, and the smile that can never be taken from your face. But how did it come to be that I was named Hope? What does Hope mean? I have thought and thought but I just don’t know,” said the little swallow.
“I thought there would come a day when you would ask this question,”said Happiness wisely.
And so Happiness began …“You see Hope is not something you can see, like the smile on my face, it is a feeling that reminds you never to give up, no matter how hard something may seem. When you were born Hope, it had been a long dry summer, the river and the water hole had dried up, and there was no water left for the animals to drink. Your Mother and all the other swallows were getting very thirsty. Everyday they would wonder when the rains would come, but no matter how thirsty they got, your Mother always reminded them to believe that the rains would come, and quench their thirst. One night the rain started to fall, a little sprinkle at first, and then a downpour. The animals ran out and played in the rain, splashing and drinking until their hearts where content.
Your mother never stopped believing the rains would come. This belief my friend, is what we call Hope. So when you were born she named you Hope, so everyone you met could know what Hope was.
“ Oh, I see,” said Hope, still a little confused.
“Do you remember last year, Hope, when you made the great journey to the other side of the world and there was that terrible storm?” said Happiness.
“Yes, it was terrible!” cried Hope.
Happiness began, “ I heard the skies where so dark you couldn’t see and the wind so strong you couldn’t feel your wings to fly. Some of the other swallows got separated from the flock didn’t they?”
“They did,” said Hope. “I also got separated, it was dark and I was afraid.
“But you kept on flying,” said Happiness. “Some of the swallows told me they thought they could fly no further, they were so tired and scared. Then amongst the darkness they saw you and shouted, “Hope! We are not alone there is Hope!”
“Yes!” and we helped each other, cried Hope. When the storm cleared, we could see the land ahead of us,we knew then we would be alright, because we could see the others waiting for us.”
“Ahhhh yes,” Happiness said. “You made it safely to land because you always had Hope with you.
“I was there yes,” said Hope with a puzzled look on his face.
“You were said Happiness, but so was the feeling of Hope, and you left all the other swallows with that feeling. They could do anything, as long as they just believed, and had Hope.
“Remember the children you visit Hope?” Happiness asked.
“Yes, they are very kind to me, they feed me bread crumbs,” Hope replied.
“Well some of those children are unwell, some have no family” said Happiness. No matter how sad those children feel, when they see you their smiling faces shine like the first ray of sunshine that lights up the dark night sky.
“I did not know the children were not sad,” said Hope.
“But you make them feel better!” said Happiness. Seeing you gives them something to believe in. They know they have Hope.
Hope rested down on Happiness’s back and thought a little while, as he watched the sun now falling in the evening sky
“You know Happiness, I think I am beginning to understand.
“This is a very big world and not everything in it is easy to understand,” said Happiness. But if we all know there is Hope in this world, it helps us never to give up.”
“Like knowing there is you Happiness, we always remember to smile,” Hope said, smiling at his old friend.
The old rhino laughed, “I suppose that is right .”
And in Africa, Hope and Happiness lived, reminding each and every one of us, in every corner of the world, to smile… and never give up.