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“See what my father gifted me!” said Sonal, excitedly waving a red pen.

Her classmates gathered around to see it.

“Wow! What a beautiful pen!” exclaimed Ruhi.

The others nodded their heads in agreement.

“Let me show you a trick,” said Sonal. As soon as she unscrewed the pen’s cap, a light shone from the pen—like torchlight—and a song started to play. Everybody stared at the pen in disbelief.
Later that day, after the lunch break, Sonal looked for the pen in her bag, but it was missing. Bewildered, she checked every compartment in her bag, but her pen wasn’t in any of them.

“Where could it be?” Sonal wondered to herself. Just then, the class teacher, Rashmi Ma’am entered the class.

“What happened, Sonal? You look worried. Have you lost something?” asked Rashmi Ma’am.

“Yes, Ma’am. I have lost the pen that my father gifted me,” said Sonal.

“You may have kept it somewhere and forgotten about it. Why don’t you check your bag thoroughly again?” suggested Rashmi Ma’am. Sonal searched her bag again but she still couldn’t find the pen.

“It isn’t there, Ma’am. I kept it inside my pencil box before stepping out during the lunch break. But when I came back it wasn’t there,” said Sonal.

It may have fallen down. We’ll help you look,” said Raman. All the kids in the class began looking for the pen.

When it still wasn’t found, Sonal began crying. “What if someone stole it?” she said.

“Don’t cry, Sonal. If somebody has taken it, then we’ll surely find out,” said Rashmi Ma’am. She then turned to the class and said, “I want all of you to form a queue. I’m going to check you all one by one.” The students started queuing up. Suddenly, they heard someone say, “What is going on here?”

It was Principal D’Souza. He was walking by when he heard the commotion inside the classroom and decided to check. After Rashmi Ma’am told him about Sonal’s pen, Principal D’Souza said, “But making everyone stand in a queue and checking each one of them is not right. It’s like giving punishment to all of them instead of the wrong-doer.” Addressing the children, Principal D’Souza said, “It’s wrong to take others’ things. See how bad Sonal feels about losing her pen. If any of you have taken her pen, admit your mistake and return it to her; I assure you that you will not be punished.”

Ruhi stepped forward hesitantly. She took the red pen out of her pocket and held
it out.

“I’m sorry. I stole the pen when Sonal had stepped out during the break. I liked the pen so much that I wanted it for myself,” said Ruhi and burst out crying.

“I am proud of you, Ruhi. It takes a lot of courage to admit one’s mistake, that too in front of everyone,” said Principal D’Souza. “I hope you will not repeat
the mistake.”

Sonal felt bad for Ruhi. She went up to her and said, “Ruhi, if you like this pen so much, then please keep it. My father got my brother a similar one. We’ll share.”

“Well done, Sonal!” said Principal D’Souza and Rashmi Ma’am. All the children clapped appreciatively.