Vol. 14


Life or Candy?

1960; Vizag, Andhra Pradesh, India"Life or Candy?" illustration by Nathan Little: Three boys stand waist-deep in a pond while one points toward a sign that says "DANGER"

One late winter afternoon when my grandpa was a teenager, he was hanging out with his friends. They were going to take a dip in the pond after a long day at school. They were having lots of fun. They were having water fights, having swimming races, just enjoying time by themselves.

Just as the sun went down, when my grandpa felt like wrapping up the day and was about to go home, his friend dared him to go and swim in the deeper end of the pond. Grandpa knew about that end of the pond. It had many different types of algae and unusual water currents. There were rumors that people had died there. Pretty soon the rest of Grandpa’s friends were also daring him to swim in the deeper end of the pond.

My grandpa was about to loudly say NO, but his friend bribed him, saying that he would give him candy if he did it. My grandpa was about to decline the deal, but then the rest of his friends were already chanting, “SWIM, SWIM, SWIM. . . .”

Now, my grandpa loved candy. Even a tiny sprinkle would make him very happy. Also, he didn’t want to act like a scaredy-cat in front of his friends.

So he went into the deeper end.

But as soon as he did this, he started drowning. My grandpa could swim, but not that well. He yelled, “HELP . . . HE—”

His friends tried to come and save him, but they were too far away. Just when my grandpa’s life seemed almost over, a worker cleaning up the pond area came to his rescue. He pulled my grandpa out of the pond by his shoulder. And he scolded my grandpa for attempting such a stupid dare.

You may think that my grandpa had learnt his lesson. But he didn’t learn his lesson at all. Guess what he did next. He ignored the worker completely, walked up to his friend, and asked, “Dude, where’s my candy?”

Shiva Garuda; Colorado, USA

Illustrator: Nathan Little; Missouri, USA



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