There was once a girl named Amina who lived in a village on the edge of a beautiful valley. Amina’s mama was having a baby and Amina was waiting in the village garden for some news.
“You have a baby brother,” said her Grandma with a warm smile as she came to the garden, “and his name is Azizi, beloved one.”
The rainbow of butterflies that had been fluttering about inside Amina’s tummy turned into feelings of excitement.
“I have a baby brother,” she thought.
That afternoon the people of the village came with gifts to celebrate the birth of Azizi. Amina also wanted to give a gift.
“Give him love,” said her Grandma, “that’s the most important gift of all.”
That night Amina dreamed of this important gift called love that she could give to her new baby brother. She dreamed that it was as soft as a white cloud so that baby Azizi could sleep on it…
…then as bright as a shimmering star that would always keep him from darkness.
The following morning, after Amina had fetched water from the well, she set off into the great valley to search for the important gift.
Amina walked and walked. Along the way she met a bird perched on the branch of a tree. Amina asked the bird if it knew where she could find the important gift called love.
But the bird didn’t know.
Amina carried on walking. Along the way she met a giraffe chewing leaves from a bush. Amina asked the giraffe if it knew where she could find the important gift called love.
But the giraffe didn’t know.
Again, Amina carried on walking and searching, and along the way she met a wise old lion lazing in the warm afternoon sun. Amina asked the wise old lion if it knew where she could find the important gift called love.
“I cannot tell you that,” said the wise old lion stretching his body, “but as sure as the smell of rain carries on a dry wind, you will always know love when you have found it.”
Amina continued to search and search and search but night began to fall and, not knowing her way back to the village, she sat by the trunk of a big tree and decided to wait till morning. She was starting to miss her family.
Amina’s eyes opened with the first rays of the sun. She noticed someone walking towards her. To Amina’s surprise and absolute joy she saw that it was her father who had set out in search for her!
Amina jumped up from under the tree and ran into her father’s arms. Amina’s father was so relieved to find her that he wept tears of joy as he picked her up and carried her all the way back to the village.
Amina’s family was so happy to have her home again. That evening they celebrated with a special meal that Grandma made. Then, when Amina’s family had finished their meal, they began to clap and sing songs – songs about the birth of new children and songs about finding lost ones.
And as the songs filled the hut and the night, and mingled with the stars, somewhere, faraway in the great valley, a wise old lion stretched his body and sniffed the dark night air, for there was something in it, something as sure as the discovery of the gift of love…
… and then the rain came.
– By David Conway
The Most Important Gift of All
London, Gullane Children’s Books, 2006
Valley – low land between hills or mountains, sometimes with a river running through it.
Beloved – much loved
Flutter – to move wings quickly and lightly
Excitement – strong feelings of expectation and happiness
Shimmer – shine with a quivering light
Search – to look for something carefully
Perch – to sit on something high or narrow
Wise – having experience and knowledge
Relieved – no longer anxious or worried
Please make your own sentences with the above words. The sentences should show that you understand the meaning of the words.
B) Discussion Points:
- Describe Amina’s feelings when she heard about the birth of her
- What did Grandmother mean when she said ‘give him the gift
- Do you agree that the most important gift of all is love?
- Do you have older or younger siblings? Talk about them.
- Do you know anything about the Kashmir Valley in India? Talk about it.