Relax, close your eyes and picture the toughest, meanest kid in school. This story is about Hazel, a little girl who frightened everybody until one day the most incredible thing happened to her. Listen carefully to her story.
“She’s coming!” cried Tiny running back to his seat. The classroom fell ominously silent as the door flew open. It wasn’t the teacher who scared the children. It was a girl called Hazel Nutt. Some said she’d been bullied when she was small. Others said she was born mean. But most people just tried to keep out of her way. The only time Hazel smiled was when she made someone cry.
Miss Poppy, the teacher, came in behind Hazel. She was just sitting down when there was a knock at the door and another girl walked in. As she entered the room the sun came out and seemed to fall on the floor before her. “I’m Rosie Peach,” she said. “I'm the new girl.”
For the rest of that day the atmosphere in the classroom was light and happy, as if a shadow had lifted. Rosie’s smile was infectious to all except Hazel Nutt, who was feeling something she didn’t often feel. She felt frightened.
The final bell rang. Shoving away everyone in her path, Hazel went to the nearby forest and angrily pulled out her catapult. “I need some cheering up,” she said to herself Hazel spied a rabbit sunning itself in a pool of light. Quick as a flash she loaded her catapult with a stone, took aim and fired. The stone hit the rabbit on the thigh. The animal jumped in fright and Hazel ran after it, laughing. Then she stopped dead. There was Rosie, sitting in the grass, stroking the rabbit and singing to it. The rabbits leg was bleeding.
“You give me that rabbit. Its mine!” yelled Hazel.
“This rabbit belongs to itself” said Rosie. “It’s wild.”
“It’s just a dumb animal,” laughed Hazel. “Are you a bit stupid? You talk to animals do you?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. Come closer and listen yourself' Rosie hummed softly to the rabbit. “Is this a trap?” thought Hazel.
She moved closer, ready to fight if she had to. “I can't hear anything,” she said. “Closer, come closer,” said Rosie.
One of Rosie's hands was resting on the rabbit's wound. As Hazel lent forward, Rosie’s other hand shot up and touched Hazel on her chest over her heart. Hazel froze. The world started spinning. She wanted to jump and laugh. She also wanted to eat grass! What was happening to her? A sharp pain bit into her thigh and she screamed. Her leg was bleeding. A girl was running toward her with a catapult. Hazel could make no sense of it. She limped into the undergrowth. The pain was terrible. Then she saw Rosie, sitting on the grass and singing. She laid her head in the girl's lap and, as Rosie gently stroked her, the pain began to ease.
Rosie took her hand from Hazel's heart. “What did you do to me?” sobbed Hazel.
“I let you see and feel what this little rabbit saw and felt as you hurt it,” said Rosie.
"I'm so sorry.” Hazel stroked the rabbit. Then she took it home and cared for it until it was better.
From then on, Hazel was no longer a frightening, angry girl. Soon, everyone wanted to be her friend. And no-one noticed that Rosie, the new girl, didn't come back to school. In some ways it seemed as if Hazel was the new girl now. Sometimes we might act tough, to hide the frightened or confused way we feel inside. Trying to see the other persons point of view can help us to understand and be kind to each other.