The Big and Important and Difficult Puzzle

Once there was and boy and a girl who liked to play. They played board games and card games and games of make-believe. They dressed as monsters and beasties and went whooping and shrieking through the woods.

They played together and they played apart. She played at tree-climbing and he would call up from the ground, looking out for handy footholds and clapping with delight when she swung from branch to branch like a monkey. She watched admiringly when he played marbles so precisely and encouraged him when he drew beautiful, complicated pictures.

Whenever they played together, no matter who won, they flopped down side by side at the end of the day and he played a song and she sang along and they fell asleep, tired and happy.

One day, the boy was working on a Big and Important and Difficult Puzzle. The girl, her feet wet from splashing in the river, sat down beside him to watch. He seemed anxious so she wriggled closer and put her hand on his shoulder to peer over at the Puzzle. He shook her off.

Just a minute, I’m trying to solve this puzzle, it’s Big and Important and Difficult.

Oh good! She said. Those are the best ones. Can I help you solve it?

The boy looked at the Puzzle.
No, I don’t think so, he said.

OK, said the girl. I’ll be over here splashing if you need me.

But the boy didn’t call for her and though she came to sit with him and watch him with the Puzzle, he didn’t look at her. Once or twice she said,

Why don’t you put that piece over there?

And he just shook his head.

It won’t work.

The girl felt sad that she couldn’t help and she missed playing and singing with the boy but she knew he would be able to solve the Puzzle so she carried on climbing trees and sitting near the boy and splashing in puddles and sitting near the boy. Until one day, the boy turned to see her sitting nearby and he said,

You can’t help me solve the Puzzle and I don’t think I can solve it while you’re here. Can you go away please?

And the girl was sad very sad. She stood up and walked away from the boy and his Big and Important and Difficult Puzzle and she hoped he would solve it one day.


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