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All the animals in the forest were preparing to celebrate Christmas. Everyone was happy and cheerful.

Except Coco, the crow who was perched on a tree with his friend, Minnie, the squirrel. He was sad, and was thinking, “Neither do I have any gift to give anyone nor does anyone like my continuous cawing.”

“What’s the matter?” Minnie asked. “Why are you sad?”

Coco told how he felt.

Minnie said, “No, you’re wrong! Everyone likes you.”

Coco said, “No, you don’t understand. All the other birds are colourful. They sing sweetly. But both my colour and voice are bad.”

Minnie started thinking about Coco’s words. The trees in the forest were beautifully decorated for Christmas.

Coco was so lost in thought about himself that he did not see the beauty around him. Minnie wished that Coco could see the beauty around him and forget his worries.

Coco was thinking, “I wish I wasn’t so black and ugly, and I too had a sweet voice like the other birds.”

Minnie tried explaining again, “You are so young. All the elderly crows are considered to be wise. Your nests are so clean and beautiful. And you eat up all the insects in the fields and help the farmers too.”

Coco waved his wings and said, “What’s so special about that?”

“Not for you maybe, but it is very helpful for the farmers,” said Minnie as she jumped up and sat on a higher branch.

“All right,” said Coco and went and sat beside her.

Minnie said, “Don’t overthink about your colour and your voice. They are not as important as you think.”

“Even I don’t like sitting in despair during the holiday season. I can hear nice music playing all around. I really wish I could sing!” said Coco.

Minnie replied, “Why are you so afraid of your own voice? Everyone knows how your voice sounds since you were born.”

“In Brazil, they cook chicken and rice during Christmas. The songs and music make even the turkeys dance in joy. In France, they decorate the Christmas trees with balloons, ribbons and lights. All the animals celebrate and enjoy themselves in the moonlight. In Germany, the party is kick-started by piglets and then by the opening of gifts. There is happiness everywhere,” said Minnie.

“How do you know all this?” Coco asked Minnie.

Minnie continued, “Christmas is the time to dance, sing, eat, make merry and have fun. It’s not for being sad like this.”

Coco was beginning to understand Minnie’s words. It was true that Christmas was time to be happy.

He too should mingle with all and enjoy himself.

“You’re right, Minnie,” he said. “I too shall celebrate Christmas with everyone and have a lot of fun.”

“That’s the spirit!” smiled Minnie. “Ticktock, tick-tock… Soon it’ll be Christmas day. Come, let’s enjoy ourselves!”MERRY-CHRISTMAS

Coco spread his wings, looked to his left and to his right, and tried crying out in a sweet voice. But instead of his horrible cawing, he indeed cried out in a sweet voice, “Merry Christmas!”

Soon, the whole forest was celebrating the festival. They began singing, dancing and greeting each other. Merry Christmas to all!