It was a disaster. Not a disaster like when the biscuit jar is empty, but a proper disaster. At least, that’s what Timmy heard, while he was playing in the sitting room as his parents watched the news.
The town was flooded. The roads had become huge rivers, so people had to be rescued by boats. He saw families leave their homes, all their things, and even their toys.
Timmy felt himself grow smaller, he felt heavy and gray inside; without saying a word, he slipped off to his room.
Timmy sat on the edge of his bed, his legs dangling over the side, cuddling his dragon teddy.
“Oh dear, whatever is the matter?”
Clarisse’s rumbly voice woke Timmy from his day dream.
“Clarisse!” he cried with joy. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, to be honest,” Clarisse replied, “I was busy doing something else, but I could feel you were sad so I had to see what was the matter. Why are you so sad?”
“I saw a disaster on television,” said Timmy, looking down at the floor, so Clarisse would not see the tears in his eyes.
“Ah, yes. That is a very sad story indeed…” replied Clarisse.
“Yes, and what if it happened to me? What if it happened to Mum and Dad? What if I didn’t have my dragon teddy? Or my room? Or my toys or books or, or, or anything…?”
“Indeed, that would be terrible, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes,” said Timmy, unable to imagine something so hugely terrible, but still stuck in the fear of this imaginary disaster in his own life.
“What do you think would help? What would make a disaster better?” asked Clarisse.
“I don’t know. I’m only a boy,” replied Timmy, rather annoyed, “that’s a question for adults, not for boys… not for girls…”
“Well,” responded Clarisse slowly, “sometimes we feel worst when we are looking at something from the outside, when we think there is nothing we can do to help: if we can find a way to help, we often feel much better.”
“But what can I do to help?” asked Timmy.
“I thought you’d never ask!” replied Clarisse, “hop on and let’s go.”
Timmy jumped onto Clarisse’s multicoloured back and, in the blink of an eye, they were flying across the sky. It wasn’t long before they arrived above the town. Clarisse slowed and, as if by magic, Timmy noticed that he was neither wet nor blown away, even though the rain was pouring and the wind was howling.
Clarisse swooped down. Timmy saw people being helped into boats and taken to safety; he saw schools where beds had been made up for them, and he saw other helpers cooking meals in large school kitchens.
Many of the helpers Timmy saw were kind and smiling. Some served hot food to warm the people who had come in from the cold storm, while others handed out towels, soap and even a teddy to a little girl who was sitting quietly in a corner.
Nobody had noticed the enormous multicoloured dragon hovering above them, or the boy riding on his shoulders. Nor could anyone hear them.
“Do you see that little girl, sitting in the corner?” asked Clarisse.
“Well, she finds the storm scary and she is very sad that she has had to leave her home and her toys. We could help her, would you like to do that?”
“Oh yes, I really do want to help her,” replied Timmy.
“I knew you’d say that!” smiled Clarisse. “It’s very simple. I want you to remember a very happy time. A time you felt loved… A time you felt excited… A time you felt special…”
“Oh, like Christmas morning!” cried Timmy, “Or when I could swim on my own! Or when I had lines to say in the school play!”
“Yes, that’s exactly it!” laughed Clarisse. “When you think of those moments, can you notice how warm you feel inside? How big your heart feels? As if it is shining a light that spreads out around you?”
Timmy concentrated. Yes, he did feel warm inside. He did feel as though his heart had grown inside, as if he were completely full of love.
“Good,” whispered Clarisse, “can you imagine that warm, fuzzy feeling is a big ball of soft pink light?”
Timmy nodded again.
“Now let that soft pink ball of light float over to that little girl and cover her in all those wonderful feelings of love and specialness that you felt.”
Timmy watched as the ball of light floated over to the little girl. He watched as the ball’s light wrapped around her, like a woolly blanket. He watched as, slowly, her body relaxed; he watched as she picked up the teddy she had been given and gave it a cuddle; he watched as she looked around her and saw her parents; he watched as she smiled her first smile since she had left her home.
“You see,” said Clarisse, “that’s the power of love. You shared your love with that little girl and you helped her to feel better. Even though she is still in the school hall with her parents, she feels a little stronger now. She knows that she is safe and that, eventually, everything will be ok again.”
“That’s amazing,” replied Timmy quietly.
“Indeed it is,” said Clarisse, “so now you see: it really doesn’t matter that you are a boy and not an adult yet, because you know that you can do something to help whenever you want.
“You can fill your heart with love from all your good memories, and you can send that ball of love to anyone. You have seen how powerful your love is, how your love helps others, even when they are having a tough time. Really, that makes you a wizard! For a wizard is someone who takes something ugly and turns it into something very beautiful, something very special.”
“A … wizard?” asked Timmy quietly, as they flew back home.
“Well, why not?” replied Clarisse, “You already have the dragon!”