The Legend of Thank You and Sorry

Shawn loves to go to the well. When he feels like watering his cabbages in their garden, he strolls to the well and fetches a pail of water. At thirteen, Shawn understands the value of responsibility. His parents Mang Domeng and Aling Tisay, do not require him do this errand, but Shawn volunteers anyway.

One day, he carries his favorite blue pail and brings it to the well. That day many of his old neighbors are fetching water, too. The line gets so long that the queue reaches the store of Aling Melay.

Unknown to the townspeople, Aling Melay is a fairy disguised as a store vendor. She stays in the village to look for a person with a pure heart. After five months, she has not found anyone yet. Maybe, this is the time.

Aling Melay observes Shawn. Shawn runs to the well and grabs the catch basin from Lola Esperenza. He drops it and pulls it up several times. He fills the old woman’s pail and the pails of the other thirteen grandparents until all of them disappear without saying a word. Just a smile.

From a distance, Aling Melay notices Shawn’s indescribable joy. He smiles back before he fills his own pail. When he’s done, he finds his way back home.

Shawn catches Aling Melay’s attention. Not only in that incident, but with what comes later.

An insolent boy, Totoy, trips Shawn until the contents of his pail flows on the road. Shawn almost ignores Totoy but He notices the boy’s wound in his elbow, so he brings out his hanky and hands it to the boy. Totoy is clueless. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with Shawn. He’s different from the other boys in the village. Before he understands this mystery, Totoy snatches Shawn’s purse that is wrapped in his waist. Then, he runs.

Before Shawn sheds his tears, a rock comes from somewhere and hits his head. It might be Jojo, who habitually hits him occasionally or Buknoy, who also snatches his toys.

Aling Melay feels deeply moved. Later, she sees Shawn playing with Totoy, Jojo, and Buknoy as if nothing happens. Shawn forgets easily even if his playmates hurt him.

It should be known that Shawn has only one leg. He lost it few years ago when he rescued his two neighbors from an intense fire that devastated the village. His face has wounds of the past, but Shawn ignores it. Mang Domeng and Aling Tisay are not his real parents. The couple adopted him when the boy lost his own family.

Suddenly, Aling Melay reveals herself to Shawn after making sure that no one is looking. She tells the young boy that she is a fairy, and she will grant Shawn’s kindness.

The fairy asks the boy.

After several minutes, Shawn still does not answer. He just smiles and walks away.

The fairy is not surprised. Instead, she invents the words “Thank You.” Every time Shawn will demonstrate kindness to his neighbors, the recipients of his kindness will utter these words as if they come directly from the heart. No amount of reward can replace these words. Also, she doesn’t want Shawn to lose his good demeanor by being hurt, so she invents the word “Sorry.” Every time Shawn will be hurt, the culprit will just whisper this word. Then, everything will be fine. The pain just disappears like sugar being dissolved in water.

After three years, Shawn disappears. Nobody knows where he went. People look for him for a while until everyone moves on.

Meanwhile, everyone in the village continues to say “Thank You” and “Sorry.” Then, the village has become the happiest place on earth.


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