Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Pretty or Plain


Two little girls are out for a walk with their mother - one is pretty, one is plain.

They come upon a stranger who looks at the pretty girl and acknowledges her outward beauty with, “Oh my, aren’t you a pretty little girl.” Not so much as a word is said to the other.

The pretty girl smiles then turns to her sister and says, “See, I told you I was prettier than you.” To which she tosses her curls, puffs out her wee chest and exhales at the thought of being one of the prettier specimens on the planet.

The mother has long known the vanity of her “pretty” daughter is a problem and it is only getting worse. 

She shares this with a friend and the friend says, “Leave it to me. Bring the girls by tomorrow and I’ll fix this problem.”

The next day arrives with the usual fanfare of dressing for an outing to Auntie’s, as the mother’s friend is affectionately called.

Both girls are hugged and acknowledged by Auntie; not a word is said about appearances.

Tea and cookies have been set out on the dining room table and the “ladies” are invited to sit - one girl on either side of Auntie as is the custom at these teatime outings.

Today’s table setting has the addition of two gifts. One is wrapped in a pretty white box tied with a double gold ribbon and a very pleasing powder pink bow on top.

Source - Me!

The other is in a crumpled plain paper bag tied with a single strand of gold ribbon and no bow.

Auntie pours tea and serves cookies much to the frustration of the pretty girl who longs to know ''what is in those".

Auntie looks at the girls, “I have some gifts for you today.” As she says this she looks at the sweet girl to her right - the one often overlooked because of her plain appearance; she smiles at her.

“I will let you each choose one gift. If you pick the same one you will share what is inside.”

Auntie looks to her left - indeed what she sees is a pretty little girl with golden curls framing her angelic face - it is hard not to pause and drink in her beauty.

Without hesitation the pretty little girl reaches into the middle of the table and grabs the pretty white box wrapped with a double gold ribbon with the pleasing powder pink bow on top. 

“I want this one, you can have that one."

Auntie asks the sweet little girl to her right if she would like to have the remaining gift.

“Oh yes, Auntie, I’ve had my eye on it since I sat down. I find it very interesting. I wonder what’s inside.”

Auntie knew what was about to happen next was how idioms like "be cruel to be kind" took form.

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Moral of this story:

Do not be fooled by what’s on the outside… Pretty or Plain, it’s what’s inside that counts.

This is a true story, save for details that have been changed to protect Auntie and the girls - hahahaha!


What do you think was in the white box and in the paper bag?

Which would you have chosen... now be honest?!

Cheers, Jenny

31 comments:

  1. I really hope she put the pretty present in the brown bag...

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    1. Oh she did... :)

      I wrote a comment, further below, with the backstory to this post, if it interests you!

      Delete
  2. Since the point of the story is the lesson, I would guess that the plain on the outside package is the real treasure.

    Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com

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    1. Yes, the real treasure cannot be measured by what we see on the outside - so, the paper bag gift was the "real treasure". :)

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  3. Now I want to know what's in the packages. LOL

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    1. Hi Em - I'm going to reveal the "story behind this post" as a comment for everyone to see... look for it below. (saves me from writing it a few times) :)

      I hope all is well in your world - been thinking lots about you!! :) :)

      Delete
  4. i am a total brown bagger... i think one had gold coins and the other had silver, though i am not saying which... you decide.

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    1. Like you, and the little plain girl I would take the paper bag because it does look more interesting.

      I will do a "comment" below with the "story behind this post" - take a look for it. :) :)

      Delete
  5. Well, something nice in the brown bag, and something less so in the pretty package, or else it wouldn't be much of a lesson.

    Or perhaps exactly the same thing in each, to show the wrapping really doesn't make a difference. :)

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    1. Hi Linda - I've given the backstory in a comment below.

      Yes, the brown bag had something nicer... nice enough to really impact the lesson needing to be learned.

      I do like your last sentence - it is true that giving each the same would negate the exterior being of any importance, but I think on children that might be lost! But good call! :) :)

      Delete
  6. Great lesson Jenny!
    There is the very real possibility that, the plain child will feel sorry for the pretty child after they open their gifts and the pretty one voices disappointment...
    Happy A to Z'ing...

    Writer In Transit

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    1. Hi Michelle - you have a point. Often children that have had it a little rougher are much more compassionate and kind. I could see the plain little girl definitely feeling sorry for the pretty girl in this instance.

      Thanks for stopping by! :) :)

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  7. Whatever is in the plain bag must be a much better treat, but I am wondering if it only seems so to the girl who got it (and the same with the other)...I hope you'll tell us, as I love the story so far!

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    1. Hi Andrea - I've written a separate comment, below, giving the backstory to this post.

      You are right - the difference between the two gifts needs to be great enough that there is an impact for both. Happiness for the paper bag gift, and disappointment for the pretty box gift.

      Delete
  8. 22 oz cold beer? I always keep mine in paper bags!

    Moral of the story is plain girl punched pretty girl and took both. That'll teach a bit#$

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    1. Ohhh, I like your paper bag stuffings!

      Yours was the second option for dealing with a bit#$!! - and would be implemented immediately if option one didn't work. *grin*

      I've given the backstory for this post just below this reply - as everyone was wondering what was in the gifts.

      Delete
  9. HI EVERYONE - HERE IS THE STORY BEHIND THIS POST...

    I did this when my daughter was a little girl - yes, she was pretty, no, she didn't have a mean attitude about it - but I didn't want her getting all caught up in external beauty when the real beauty of a person resides within.

    In my lesson - the paper bag held a handful of jellybeans while the "pretty" box held a few dirty pebbles from the garden.

    I told her to think long and hard before choosing and that whatever gift she didn't want would be for me. She did hum and haw, but finally decided the pretty one was what she wanted - she was disappointed to find dirty pebbles in such a pretty box.

    When I opened mine, full of jellybeans, I could see the little wheels turning. After enjoying one or two–slowly and deliberately chewing and making all the requisite "yummy" sounds–I offered to share the remaining few which made her very happy.

    We talked about how she felt and how important it was to see past the "pretty" stuff before making a judgement. I'm happy to say the lesson stuck because during high school she often went to bat for the underdog.

    As an adult I see this manifest itself in her getting a rescue dog instead of buying from a breeder or a pet shop. So, all in all, I was pleased with the results.

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    1. that was a interesting turn of events... though we have minds alike... my brother and i had same issues growing up.

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    2. Ah... I wonder how this would play out with boys - do share!

      Delete
  10. I was thinking that money would be in the plain bag while the fancy one would have used dental floss (OK, didn't think that one through).
    I don't know which one I would have chosen. Perhaps the plain one, because I would have thought something was up.
    On the other hand, Macgyver was able to use dental floss for a lotta stuff.

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    1. I think for most little girls it would be near impossible not to want the "pretty" one - but a client and I were talking about this and we figure boys would want the crumpled up bag as they might think it contains boy type stuff, like bugs and worms... you know, boy stuff! Or... used dental floss, 'cause that's boy's stuff too!

      Delete
  11. I had a feeling where this was going and I love it. I find my own 13yr old daughter to be very lovely even though she doesn't see it. However, she would probably pick the pretty box just because of how beautiful it is. I should share your story with her so she will know that everything that glitters isn't always gold.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I can totally get the appeal of the pretty box - let's face it it is pretty! As I said in my reply to Al Penwasser - boys may very well pick the paper bag because of how boys think. It probably is how we are conditioned to think as girls and boys in general; girls-dolls, boys-dirt!

      I wonder what your daughter would say if you shared this... if you do, please let me know. I did this with my daughter, but at a much younger age.

      Thanks for stopping by Dani - much appreciated. :) :)

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  12. This story is absolutely amazing Jenny, originally I thought it was some kind of old wives tale but realising that this is something that actually happens makes it even better. One thing though, I just have to know what was in each bag, it's such a brilliant idea. I sometimes don't blame vain people, I mean after all when people who would stop and say "oh look at that pretty girl," that girl is going to eventually fall for her own hype, it happens time and time again.

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    1. Hi Matt - a few posts above yours you'll find "the story behind this post" which I wrote in light of so many inquiries as to what each gift might be.

      Sometimes one does have to be cruel (even a little) to be kind (and teach a valuable lesson).

      Thanks for stopping in. :) :)

      Delete
  13. I'm going to have to read the other comments in a minute, but I expect the plain bag contains a nice gift, something pretty or sweet.

    The pretty box? Tempting to put in a slug or a spider, but I don't think outright nastiness was the idea. Probably something that would ordinarily be an acceptable gift, but clearly not as special as the other. I'm sure the vain girl will have a finely-tuned sense of relative worth and even the slightest difference not in her favor would be exquisitely apparent to her.

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    1. So... I figure if you did a little sleuthing you'll have seen my "reveal" comment added in for all that were wondering what those gifts might be.

      Yes, one could easily go the nasty route, but you are right, it would only need to be a slight difference to hit home with the pretty (and vain) girl.

      Al and I were discussing how a boy might handle this situation - would the go for the pretty box? We suspect not! :) :)

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  14. The nice gift is plainly wrapped and the pretty gift not so much. Lesson is that the inside is what matters.

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    1. Agreed!

      I've seen (in my industry particularly) far too many "beautiful" people that are really "ugly" on the inside. (read that to mean nasty, unkind, thoughtless, condescending... the list goes on)

      Thanks for stopping in, Ruth - and yes, the paper bag had the better gift!!

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  15. Hi Jenny - good way to bring the children down to earth ... I'd have been happy with either - would I have been .. I've no idea .... as I don't fit the pretty little golden curled girl!

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. You and me both, Hilary - the pretty package seem to fake for me and I would have been very curious what the paper bag held. We are a different breed, you and me! :) :)

      Delete

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

I'd give you a penny for them, but alas we just snuffed it out. Yup...gone!
It's all about the nickel now...so at this rate you can leave 5 thoughts!

Cheers, Jenny

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