There once was a little boy who went to school every day. In school, the teacher would write on a
blackboard with a piece of white chalk. She had other colors, but she used mostly white. The
teacher wrote words and numbers with her chalk and tried to explain the lessons. But the boy
dreamed a lot and didn't always listen.
The white chalk dreamed too. It dreamed that someday it would join with the colored chalks and
together they would draw beautiful gardens, tall buildings, bridges that crossed rivers, and little
farmhouses. The white chalk wanted to draw the animals on the farm and the trees in the forest
and the cars in the street and the people walking on the sidewalk. It wanted to draw the sun, the
mountains, and the sea.
But as it dreamed, it got smaller and smaller, and it worried that it would disappear before it had
a chance to be happy. The white chalk watched the children grow while it got smaller and
sadder. Soon it was so small that the teacher no longer used it, and it lay at the bottom of the
blackboard. Then one day its world got dark and there was no light. The white chalk didn't know
what had happened!
But the boy had picked up the white chalk and put it in his pocket along with some of the
colored chalks that were now very small. After school the next day he pulled them out of his
pocket and started drawing pictures on the sidewalk. They were beautiful pictures of all the
things that the chalk and the boy had dreamed of in the classroom. The white chalk was so
happy. Then it got too small to draw with anymore, and it went to sleep.
When it awoke, it found that it had become a brush with beautiful long brown hairs. And it was
lying next to a box of beautiful colored paints. Oh! it was such a beautiful brush. The boy picked
it up, dipped it into water, and then into the colors. And then, with the brush, the boy started to
paint on a big piece of paper all those things he and the chalk had drawn on the sidewalk. The
chalk (now a beautiful brush) was so happy it felt that it could go on drawing forever.
To the Reader:
I adapted this story from a Czech fantasy tale called "The Little Chalk." The original tale was used by the
Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina as the basis of her Fairy Tale Poem, composed in 1971. The tale spoke of
words and numbers being boring, and I didn't want these to seem boring to a bright child who loved words or
numbers, as surely some do. I am certain the boy for whom I wrote this story will grow up loving words and the
meanings they convey. So I removed the negative aspects of "boring" and focused on the positive aspects of
"dreaming." I also wanted to let the chalk live on because good art lives on. So I let the chalk be reincarnated
as a painting brush so it could go on drawing.
THE BOY AND THE CHALK
A little story for my dear
Adapted from a Czech fantasy tale by
Copyright © 2014 Ronald S. Csuha
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
Cover Artwork: Kid Playing, Detail of Kids 2
Watercolor painting by Ron Csuha
Copyright © 2006 Ronald S. Csuha
All Rights reserved