There was once a beautiful forest at the foot of the mountain. The trees bore sweet mangoes, luscious avocados, red rambutan, and juicy guayabanos. Beautiful flowers grew along the forest path. There were daisies, chrysanthemums, and sampaguita. Birds of all colors flew and sang. At nighttime, fireflies lit the trees.
Children loved to play in the forest. When they grew tired, they sat on the green grass under the shade of trees. The boys climbed the trees and picked fruits. The girls picked the prettiest flowers and brought them home to their mothers.
But one day, the forest shook in fear. A giant came down from the mountain. His roar was like thunder. When he walked, the earth trembled. He scared all the birds away. The flowers hid under the leaves in fear. He shook all the trees and all the fruits fell into the ground. The grass that he stepped on wilted and turned dark brown. The beautiful forest was no more. It became the Giant’s Land.
The people were so sad. They loved their forest but they were afraid of the giant. Rumors flew about his strength. And the people became more afraid. So, they stayed in their homes and told their children not to play in the forest any longer. They had no fruits to eat. They no longer heard the birds sing. Even the sky became dark.
When the giant saw that the people were afraid, he became bolder and meaner. He looked at them as weaklings and considered them so small.
But one boy was so unlike the others. In his heart, he felt that nobody should sow fear in the village. Everyone has the right to live in peace. The giant did not own the forest. It belonged to everybody. He asked his Father why they are afraid. “The giant is also a man except that he is bigger and he is bad. The forest is ours and I will tell him so.”
The boy’s father shook his head. “Do not go near the forest lest something bad happen to you! Stay home with us and be safe.”
The boy shook his head. “We cannot be afraid forever! We must be brave! If not, the Giant will scare us every day. We will live in fear.”
And so the boy walked towards the forest. He had nothing except his courage.
From afar, the giant saw the boy. He became so angry that his mouth frothed. He started shouting and cursing so the boy would run away. But nothing could stop the boy. He walked calmly and bravely. His gait was steady and even.
The giant felt shaken. This was the only time that someone stood to him. Nobody ever said “No” because they were all afraid. His friends pandered to him because he was big and powerful. They thought that people in the village will think they are big and powerful too.
The giant shouted in a loud voice, “Are you ready for a fight?”
The boy felt no fear and answered “Yes, here I am.”
The giant was red with anger! How could a small boy accept his challenge? He prepared to stand up. But his legs shook and his arms trembled. He could not breathe and gasped for air. He felt a stabbing pain on his chest. The pain grew stronger and stronger. His breath grew fainter and fainter until he fell to the ground. The giant had a heart attack! He did not know that he had a very, very small heart. Through the years of his meanness, his heart shrunk even more. It became the size of a pea! His fear of the boy was ten times bigger than his heart.
And then, the birds that were hiding in the trees flew and sang. The flowers raised their heads and began to bloom. The sky lit up and the sun shone.
The boy smiled for he had freed the village. And all it took was Courage!