The Fable of the Talking Crayons
By Shahin Ashraf Ali
Young Shahab was very fond of drawing and coloring. One day, Ammi bought for him a beautiful set of crayons. Shahab was very happy. He just could not wait to use them! He pulled out his drawing pad, chose a green crayon and drew a lovely tree.
Then, he drew a bright yellow sunflower, a clear blue sky and a fiery orange sun. And as Shahab drew, he repeated a phrase that he had heard Dadi Jaan recite from the Holy Quran that day, “Fabi-ayyi aalaai rabbi kumma tukazzibaan?” Dadijaan had explained to him that its English translation is, ‘which of your Lord’s wonders would you deny?’
Shahab was happily drawing, coloring and singing this sentence to himself until bedtime. He drew one more picture before going to sleep. He colored the sky at night with his black crayon and drew a moon with the white one. Then, he put aside his crayons and went to sleep.
And do you know what happened then? When Shahab, Ammi, Abba and Dadi Jaan were fast asleep, the crayons got into a terrible argument!
“I colour the trees,” boasted the green crayon. “Can any of you do that?”
“Huh!” mocked the yellow crayon. “I am the colour of gold, and so I am very precious.”
“Be quiet!” scolded the blue crayon. “There would be no sky and water in any picture without me.”
“And how would you colour the sun if it was not for me?” the orange crayon wanted to know.
“Do not make me angry!” the black crayon warned. “When I come on the scene, none of you can be seen.”
“Oh yeah!” the white crayon exclaimed. “I bring in the moonlight with me and drive away darkness!”
Hearing them quarreling among themselves, the baby pink crayon announced, “All of us are useless unless someone uses us. So, the child who draws and colors with us is the most important one to us all!”
At this, all the crayons fell silent. The argument was settled! They knew that what the pink crayon said was right.
The next day, when Shahab opened his box of crayons he felt as if the crayons were happy to see him. He shared his feelings with his mother. “And Ammi, I even felt the crayons were singing in praise of God!”
Ammi smiled and asked, “What do you think the crayons were crayons singing?”
“Fabbi ayyi aalaai rabbikumma tukazzibaan? Which of your Lord’s wonders would you deny?”
Ammi smiled and kissed her son.