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Childrens Story and Coloring Book / Cuento infantil y libro de colorear

Clayton Mansion stood magnificently, surrounded by perfectly mowed lawns. Elegant rows of rosebushes lined the pebbled pathways leading to the house. Perfectly clipped hedges circled the property. It was a breathtaking sight. The inside of Clayton Mansion was richly furnished and absolutely spotless. Large paintings lined the walls of the wide hallways. The doors in the mansion were all intricately carved out of oak. Jessica was sitting by the Christmas tree, wearing a lovely green and gold dress. A mountain of presents lay under the tree, and the eight-year-old girl was busily sorting through them, carefully inspecting the ones that bore her name on the tag.

La mansin de los Ramrez se ergua majestuosa, rodeada de jardines perfectamente cuidados. Elegantes filas de rosales se alineaban a los lados del camino que conduca a la casa. Haba cercos de setos esmeradamente cortados que circundaban la propiedad. La vista era impresionante. Por dentro, la mansin estaba impecable y lujosamente amueblada. En las paredes de los amplios corredores se exhiban grandes pinturas. Las puertas de la residencia tenan un artstico diseo tallado en madera de roble. Jssica se hallaba sentada al lado del rbol navideo. Luca un precioso vestido de verde y oro. Una montaa de regalos yaca a los pies del rbol, y la nia, de ocho aos, estaba ocupada revisndolos uno por uno, inspeccionando cuidadosamente los que llevaban su nombre en la etiqueta.

Can you play with me? her little brothers voice asked
Jessica didnt even look up. Go away, Jeffrey, she said in a nasty voice. I dont have time to play with you. And plus, you always ruin things.

Jugamos? le pregunt su hermanito. Jssica ni siquiera lo mir. Vete, Camilo le dijo con desagrado. No tengo tiempo para jugar contigo; adems, t siempre arruinas las cosas. Seorita Jssica la llam una sirvienta desde la otra habitacin. Ya es hora de que se prepare para su clase de equitacin. Hoy no quiero montar a caballo contest perezosa. La criada suspir y prosigui con la limpieza. Camilo regres al recibidor, esta vez con su tren de juguete, y le pregunt: Jssica, me ayudas a armar las vas? No s hacerlo solo. Ya te dije que no le contest bruscamente Jssica. Pide a uno de los sirvientes que te ayude y no me molestes ms.
******

Miss Jessica, a maid called from the next room. You need to get ready for your horse-riding lessons.
I dont want to go riding today, answered Jessica lazily.

The maid sighed and continued cleaning.


Jeffrey came into the entrance hall, this time with his train set. Please will you help me set up my train, Jess? he asked. I cant do it myself. I told you no before, Jessica snapped. Go get one of the servants to help you, and dont bother me anymore.
******

Wake up, Jessie! Wake up! the little voice lisped. The chubby hands reached out and shook Jessicas shoulders insistently. Go away, Jeffrey, she muttered and turned over.

Despierta, Jssica! Despierta! dijo ceceando una vocecita. Las regordetas manos se extendieron para sacudir insistentemente los hombros de la chiquilla.
Vete, Camilo refunfu ella entre dientes mientras se daba la vuelta.

Im not Jeffrey. Im Kenny, came the voice again. Whos Kenny? Jessica asked, as she opened her eyes sleepily. As soon as she looked around the dark, cold room, she bolted out of bed. This wasnt her room at all! Newspaper was stuffed into cracks in the walls to keep the cold air out. She saw tattered curtains and a rickety dresser. Four beds were crammed into the tiny room. The blankets on the beds were patched and stitched from continual wear. She looked out the window and saw the bustle of a fairly busy street. Albertson Drive?! she exclaimed, reading the street sign outside the window. Where am I? Jessica looked around the room for her clothes. On the dresser she found a set of folded clothes, but though they were clean and repaired nicely, they were obviously very old and frequently used. She put them on. Just then a womans head peeked around the door. Good morning, Jessica, she called. I trust you slept well. I slept fine, Jessica answered.

No soy Camilo, soy Javier le contest la voz.

Quin es Javier? pregunt Jssica, abriendo los ojos soolienta. Apenas vio el oscuro y fro cuarto, salt de la cama. Aquella no era su habitacin!
En las grietas de las paredes haba papel peridico incrustado para evitar que entrara el fro. Vio unas cortinas hechas jirones y una cmoda destartalada. En aquel cuartito se hallaban tambin cuatro camas apretujadas. Las mantas tenan parches y puntadas; se notaban muy gastadas. Jssica mir por la ventana y observ el ajetreo de una calle muy transitada. Calle Albania! exclam al leer el letrero con el nombre de la calle. Dnde estoy? Jssica busc sus prendas alrededor del cuarto. En la cmoda encontr un juego de ropa doblada. Aunque estaba limpia y bien reparada, evidentemente era vieja y se le haba dado mucho uso; de todos modos decidi ponrsela. En ese momento una seora asom la cabeza por la puerta. Buenos das, Jssica la salud. Espero que hayas descansado bien. Dorm bien contest Jssica .

Once youve made your bed, would you please set the table for breakfast? the woman asked sweetly. Isnt the maid supposed to do that? Jessica snapped back, before she could catch herself. Mother looked puzzled for a moment, and then a smile spread across her face. That mustve been quite some dream, child! she said with a little laugh. But we really must be on with our day. Father will be returning from his night shift shortly and well eat breakfast together. Please come and give me a hand as soon as youre done tidying your room. Uh, yes, Jessica stuttered. She stared blankly at the bed, trying to think how to go about making it. Her attempt ended in frustration; the bed was all wrinkles and lumps. Kenny giggled as he watched. Jessica scowled at him fiercely, and the little boy stopped laughing and tried to help her finish making the bed.

Despus que hagas tu cama, podras poner la mesa para el desayuno? le pregunt la mujer amablemente. Pero si eso le toca a la criada! contest Jssica bruscamente sin poder contenerse. La mam se qued mirndola desconcertada. Pero luego se le dibuj en el rostro una sonrisa. Qu sueo habrs tenido, hija! coment rindose. Pero ahora debemos empezar las faenas del da. Pap va a regresar del turno de noche en un rato y vamos a comer juntos. Dame una mano apenas termines de arreglar tu cuarto, bueno? Este... s tartamude Jssica. Se qued mirando la cama sin saber por dnde empezar. Luego se puso a tenderla, pero no consegua eliminar las arrugas y dejarla bien lisa. Javier la observaba y se rea. Jssica lo mir frunciendo el ceo con fiereza, y el pequeo dej de rerse y la ayud a terminar.

Jessica gingerly crept out of the room, not sure where she was supposed to go. From the doorway of her room she could see the living room and kitchen. The house was small and shabby, but there were homemade Christmas decorations strung around the living room. A roaring fire blazed in the fireplace, and in the corner stood a scrawny tree decorated with simple, homemade decorations. Jessica went to the kitchen to set the table, but soon realized she didnt know how. Not knowing where anything was, she began to open every cupboard door in search of bowls and utensils.

Jssica sali del cuarto con cautela, sin saber con certeza adnde ir. Desde la puerta de su habitacin alcanzaba a ver la sala y la cocina. Aunque la casa era pequea y estaba destartalada, por toda la sala haba adornos navideos hechos en casa. En la chimenea el fuego arda que daba gusto, y en una esquina se alzaba u n esculido rbol de Navidad con sencillos adornos caseros. Jssica se dirigi a la cocina para poner la mesa, pero enseguida se dio cuenta de que no saba hacerlo. Abri las puertas de todos los armarios en busca de platos y utensilios. CRAS! Un tazn se le cay al suelo y se rompi. Se hizo silencio en la casa, y todos se voltearon para mirar a Jssica. La familia era tan pobre que cada recipiente era valioso. Jssica se agach a recoger los pedazos ms grandes. Al hacerlo, se cort un dedo y solt un grito de dolor. La mam se dio la vuelta rpidamente, observ la situacin y tom un pao. Con l le envolvi el dedo, y la herida par de sangrar. Va a estar bien le dijo con suavidad. Lo siento fue todo lo que Jssica acert a balbucear.

CRASH! One of the bowls fell to the ground and shattered. The house went completely silent as everyone turned and eyed Jessica. The family was so poor that every bowl was valuable.
Jessica bent to pick up the larger pieces of the broken bowl. As she did, she cut her finger on the broken bowl, and let out a cry of pain. Mother quickly turned, saw the situation, and grabbed a cloth. She wrapped it tightly around the cut to stop the bleeding. Itll be okay, she said softly. Im sorry, was all Jessica could mutter.

When the father had returned, the family gathered around the table. Everyone folded their hands and bowed their heads. For what we are about to receive, the father began, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen. Amen, came the chorus of voices, followed instantly by the clatter of spoons.

Al llegar el pap, todos se reunieron en torno a la mesa, junta ron las manos e inclinaron la cabeza. l rez: Que el Seor nos ayude a estar agradecidos por los alimentos que vamos a comer. Amn. Amn repitieron todos, a lo cual sigui el ruido de las cucharas. Jssica prob la avena, pero reaccion con una mueca de asco. El cereal no tena mantequilla, y apenas azcar. Ella, sin embargo, senta tanta hambre que prob otro bocado con cautela, y luego otro ms. Supongo que no est tan mal, se dijo. Despus del desayuno haba que lavar la vajilla. La seora le pidi a Mara Isabel la hermana mayor que lo hiciera mientras Jssica cuidaba a los dos menores, Javier y Teresita, para que ella pudiera salir.

As Jessica took a bite of her porridge, she cringed. It had no butter and very little sugar in it. But she was so hungry that she gingerly took another bite and then another. Its not too bad, I guess, she thought to herself.
After breakfast there were dishes to do. The woman asked Sara, the eldest sister, to do the dishes, while Jessica was to keep an eye on the two younger ones, Kenny and Becky, so that she could go out.

Pero yo iba a jugar con mi... comenz a But I was going to go play with my Jessica responder Jssica. Enseguida se detuvo. De started to answer, but stopped. All right, continued acuerdo continu, y llam a los pequeos para Jessica, and called the little kids to follow her. que la acompaaran.
****** *******

That afternoon, after Mother had returned from the market, she came to see Jessica. She was carrying a small basin of warm water and a cloth. Hows your hand doing, Jessie? she asked.

Aquel la tarde, cuando la madre volvi del mercado, fue a ver a Jssica. Llevaba consigo una pequea palangana con agua tibia y un pao. Jssica, cmo tienes la mano? le pregunt.

Fine. The bleeding stopped a while ago, but its a little sore. Im so sorry about that. Let me clean it, so that it wont get infected. Mother removed the bandage and gently cleaned the cut. Is everything okay? she asked Jessica. You seem a little out of sorts. I noticed that youre finding your jobs harder to do around the house. You question doing them much more than you used to. Jessica stared at the floor, embarrassed by what she heard. But how am I supposed to react? she asked herself. There is something I want you to know, Mother said, as she wrapped a clean bandage on Jessicas hand. I want you to know how much I need and appreciate your help around the house. Im sure its difficult for you to have to look after your younger brothers and sisters, when youd prefer to be doing something else. Sara and you are both so helpful, and it makes things a lot easier for me.

Mejor. Dej de sangrar hace tiempo, pero todava me duele un poco. Cunto lo siento! Djame que te limpie la herida para que no se vaya a infectar. La madre quit la venda y le lav la herida con suavidad.

Est todo bien? le pregunt. Se te nota un poco contrariada. He notado que te est costando hacer las tareas domsticas. Protestas mucho ms que antes.
Jssica tena la mirada fija en el suelo, avergonzada por las palabras de su madre. Cmo debo reaccionar?, se preguntaba. Hay algo que quiero decirte prosigui la mam mientras le pona una venda limpia en la mano. Quiero que sepas cunto necesito y aprecio tu ayuda en la casa. Debe de ser difcil para ti atender a los pequeos cuando preferiras hacer otra cosa. Mara Isabel y t son una gran ayuda y me facilita n las cosas muchsimo.

Jessica had never had anyone thank her for helping, because she had never taken the time to help another person. Jessica felt ashamed of how selfish and unkind she had been. I know you want to do the right thing, Jessica, and I understand that its not always easy. So thank you very much for doing it anyway, and for helping me all the time. I love you so much.

A Jssica jams le haban dado las gracias por ayudar, porque nunca se haba tomado la molestia de hacerlo. Se avergonz de lo egosta y antiptica que haba sido. Jssica, s que quieres portar te bien y entiendo que no siempre es fcil. Por eso te agradezco que de todos modos lo hagas. Gracias por ayudarme siempre. Te quiero mucho. Despus de abrazar a Jssica unos momentos, abandon la habitacin. Jssica se qued sentada reflexionando: Quiero ser ms servicial. No s exactamente cmo, pero estoy segura de que algo puedo hacer para ayudar y quiero intentarlo . Todo ese da Jssica ayud con los nios y la limpieza de la casa cada vez que se lo pidieron. Tambin ayud a la mam y a Mara Isabel a preparar la cena. Trabaj mucho, pero descubri que en realidad era divertido. Cada vez que ayudaba a alguien o comparta algo con los dems se senta bien por dentro. Aquella noche se fue a dormir contenta y satisfecha.
*******

Mother hugged Jessica for a few moments before she left the room.
Jessica sat there for a few minutes reflecting. I want to be kinder to other people, she thought. I dont know how exactly, but Im sure there are things that I can do to help and I want to try to do that. All that day, whenever she was asked, Jessica helped with the children, and cleaned the house. She also helped Mother and Sara cook dinner. It was a lot of work, but Jessica found that it was actually fun. Every time she helped someone or shared something with others, she felt good inside. That night she went to bed feeling content and satisfied.
*******

Good morning, Jessica! Merry Christmas! a voice called from beside her bed.

Buenos das, Jssica ! Feliz Navidad! dijo una voz al lado de su cama.

Jessica opened her eyes slowly and there standing beside her bed was Jeffrey. She was back in her own room, in Clayton Mansion! How did I get back? she cried, as she jumped out of bed. Oh my goodness, Jeffrey! It must have all just been a dream! She laughed happily. Its wonderful to be back. And its so good to see you! she said as she gave him a big hug. Jeffreys eyes were wide with surprise! I love you, Jeffrey. Im so sorry I havent been very nice to you lately. Please forgive me? Lets go set the table for breakfast. The two of them went downstairs to the dining room. Merry Christmas, Maria! the two chorused, as the maid came in with a big tray of food. She was so surprised at the sight of the set table that she almost dropped the tray on the floor.

Jssica abri lentamente los ojos y vio a Camilo de pie junto a su cama. Haba vuelto a su habitacin en la mansin de los Ramrez! Cmo regres? exclam, al tiempo que saltaba de la cama. Dios mo, Camilo! Debi de ser un sueo! Se ri alegremente y dndole un gran abrazo a su hermano, le dijo: Es estupendo estar nuevamente en casa. Y qu bueno volver a verte! Camilo la miraba con los ojos muy abiertos. Jssica continu: Te quiero, Camilo. Me duele no haber sido ms cariosa contigo ltimamente. Me perdonas? Pongamos la mesa para el desayuno. Los dos bajaron al comedor.

Feliz Navidad, Mara! dijeron los dos al mismo tiempo al ver entrar a la sirvienta con una gran bandeja de comida. La criada se qued tan sorprendida al ver la mesa puesta que por poco se le cae la bandeja al piso.
Vaya!, gracias por ayudarme dijo sonriente. Estupendo! Despus del desayuno, Jssica exclam: Mam, tengo una idea. Busquemos una familia pobre que no pueda hacer nada especial en Navidad y llevmosle regalos. A m me gustara dar algunos de los mos para hacer felices a otros nios.

Why, thank you for helping, Maria said with a smile. Thats just wonderful!
After breakfast, Jessica exclaimed, Oh, Mother, I have an idea. Why dont we find a poor family who doesnt have anything special for Christmas, and bring them some presents? Id like to give some of my presents away to make them happy.

There were tears in her mothers eyes when Jessica had finished. That is such a kind thought, Sweetheart. As Jessica was putting presents into a big red sack, Jeffrey came to her. I want to share my presents too, he said softly. Jessica and Jeffrey finished filling the sack with presents, and tied it shut with a gold ribbon. When they got to the shabby house on Albertson Drive, they set the sack outside the door. Jessica peeked out from behind a bush and saw the woman, with a few small children behind her, coming out of the house and looking in surprise at the bundle on the doorstep. Look what God has sent us! she happily exclaimed. Jessica smiled and felt warm inside. It really did feel good to be kind and sharing and to do nice things for other people. A su madre se le llenaron los ojos de lgrimas. Qu gesto tan hermoso, mi vida! Mientras Jssica pona los regalos en una bolsa grande de color rojo, Camilo se le acerc y le dijo en voz bajita: Yo tambin quiero dar algunos de mis regalos. Jssica y Camilo ter minaron de llenar la bolsa y la ataron con una cinta dorada. Cuando llegaron a la humilde casita de la calle A lbania dejaron la bolsa delante de la puerta. Jssica mir desde detrs de un arbusto y vio que una mujer, seguida de unos chiquitines, sala de la casa y examinaba sorprendida los dos bultos. Miren lo que Dios nos ha enviado! exclam feliz. Jssica sonri y se sinti sper bien, contenta de haber sido generosa y de haber hecho algo bonito y considerado por otras personas.

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Story by Cristiana Heins. Originally published in Activated Kids! Magazine. Used with permission.

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