Once upon a time there was a little girl called Molly. And Molly wanted to be a ballerina more than anything in the entire world. She had tried begging, she had tried refusing to finish her supper and she had tried having a full-blown tantrum, but none of these had made Aunt Gertrude change her mind. Even when Molly had made a little ballerina dress out of scrap bits of potato sack, it didn’t melt old Gertrude’s heart.
“You’re not going to melt my heart,” said Gertrude.
“But Auntie I do so want to be a ballerina. I do.”
“So you keep saying, but I cant afford it. Times are tough Molly and until you realise that you’re not going to realise very much.”
“No buts girl, don’t you realise that we’ve only been able to afford chateaubriand twice this week. Do you want me to starve?”
Molly thought that her aunt probably could use a little starvation but didn’t like to say.
“Now,” said Gertrude, “why don’t you go and play out in the front garden? You never know you might make some new friends.”
Molly went outside still wearing her potato sack tutu and started to walk around in the front garden. Just as Molly was deciding that there wasn’t much to do she saw a man was walking alongside the garden. He looked over at Molly who smiled at him.
“What is that you’re wearing?” the man asked.
“It’s a ballerina’s costume”, replied Molly.
“I thought so. It’s a funny coincidence.”
“A coincidence?” Molly was sure she didn’t understand. She looked at the man just to check if he was wearing tutu as well – he wasn’t.
“Yes a coincidence because here I am sticking up signs for ballet auditions. I run the ballet programme in town.”
“Really. Wow. That is a coincidence. Can I ask you a question?” Molly decided that she needed to be really brave. “Is ballet really very expensive. My aunt says that it is very expensive.”
“No it’s not expensive. It’s free. It’s a government-supported arts project.”
“But why would my aunt tell me it was expensive when it wasn’t? I don’t understand.”
“She probably had her reasons.” The man turned and started to walk away.
“Wait,” called out Molly, “do you think I could be a ballerina?”
“Why not? You haven’t even see me turn or anything. So how do you know?”
“Because you’re fat and ugly.”
Moral: Sometimes the bad guy in the story isn’t the one you think it is at the beginning. Gertrude was just trying to save Molly’s feelings.