Once upon a time there lived a little black ink dot firmly affixed to a piece of white parchment along with several other dots. Although this particular dot was much smaller than the rest, no one seemed to mind as size mattered little in the life of a dot. You see, an ink dot typically spends its time looking around, chatting with its neighbors and simply feeling content just being a dot, and these dots were no exception. Each moment that passed was pretty much the same as the one before and it seemed as if it would stay that way forever, that is, until that moment came when everything changed.
The white parchment which had always been their home began to turn a light tan color as the temperature slowly rose. The air was becoming far too hot even for a dot. As the dots began to discuss the situation it became immediately clear that this temperature change was extremely uncomfortable and would not be tolerated. “What if it stays this way from now on?” shouted one. “Where’s the joy in being a dot if we have to stay where it’s this hot?” cried another.
All the dots took a vote and it was decided that they should detach themselves from the parchment and move to a cooler location. They all began shifting their weight back and forth until one by one they all broke free, all except that one little dot.
The little dot was much lighter than the other bigger dots, and so he couldn’t seem to buildup enough momentum. He tried and he tried until he grew very tired, but he just couldn’t seem to break free of the parchment. “I can’t do it!” he shouted and he started to cry. The other dots gathered around to see what was the problem.
“Look, he’s too small to break free” said one. “Looks like you have to be a big dot like us if you want to succeed” said another. “Yeah! To bad you’re not normal. I guess you’ll have to stay here, you little dot” said yet another.
Suddenly size seemed to matter very much and the little dot felt ashamed that he was so small. “Why was I made this size” he thought to himself. “Why couldn’t I have been a big dot like the others.” All the big dots agreed that it was time to get a move on. No way were they going to allow themselves to be delayed by an insignificant little dot, and so off they went in search of a cooler spot.
Well, a feeling started to grow in the little dot. It was a feeling he had not felt before. He decided that he was not going to be left behind, that no matter how long it took, he would never quit until he was free. He tried shifting back to forth. He tried shifting side to side. He tried shifting all around. Nothing worked, and the other dots were getting so far away that he almost couldn’t see them any more. “what am I going to do?” he thought as he grew worried. Then suddenly an idea came to him from out of the blue.
“Since I am so much smaller than the other dots, maybe I need to shift back and forth much faster than they did.” he thought. So he started to shift back and forth faster and faster and faster. Then he would stop briefly to rest and start again. The more he worked at it, the faster he got until he was shifting so fast that he made a tiny humming sound. Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm POP! he was free.
The little dot was very tired and the air was getting even hotter now. He looked in the direction where the others had gone but it was too late. They had gone too far and he could not see them any more. He became scared. “What if I can’t find them” he thought. “I don’t want to be alone.”
He decided there was no time to rest. He had to catch up to them before they changed course or he might never find them again. So, he immediately headed off in the same direction, but being such a little dot meant he couldn’t slide along as fast as the bigger dots, and since he was already tired, he began to doubt that he would ever catch up. “Why was I made so small” he thought to himself. Then suddenly an idea came to him from out of the blue.
“What if I stretch the front of me as far as I can, grab hold, then pull the back part of me forward” he thought. So, he tried it and discovered that it wasn’t easy at all, it even hurt a little, but it worked. He was picking up speed, and the more he worked at it, the more flexible he became. After a while the little dot discovered that he could easily stretch himself out, bend himself into the shape of the letter “n” and run run run. He ran so fast that he actually felt a breeze for the very first time.
In no time at all the little dot spotted the others and raced to catch up. He reached the group just as the last big dot was moving over a tall wrinkle in the parchment. Noticing that the little dot was behind him, the big dot said “So you got yourself unstuck did you? Well, let’s see if you can handle making it over this wrinkle, you little dot. Obviously you aren’t equipped to handle a parchment like we are.”
The wrinkle was indeed too tall for the little dot and all he could do was watch as the bigger dots disappeared over the other side. “I can’t stand being such a little dot!” he yelled “it’s not fair!!!!!” Then suddenly an idea came to him from out of the blue.
“What if I back up a little, run forward as fast as I can, jump up and try to catch the breeze.” he thought. So, he did just that, and the experience of floating through the air was amazing. Still, he could not run fast enough, jump high enough and float far enough to get over the crest of the wrinkle. Each time he tried, he slid back down in defeat. But this time he was not concerned, for he had already learned the lessons of determination and perseverance. He simply kept on trying like before. The more he worked at it, the stronger he got, the faster he ran and the higher he jumped, until finally, “yippeeeee,” he made it over the crest of the wrinkle and slid down the other side, “weeeeee,” right into the group of big dots.
Not one of the big dots even noticed that the little dot had arrived. They were too busy talking amongst themselves. They were worried. They had reached the edge of the parchment, and there was nowhere left to go. The air around them was still growing hotter and hotter and there was now an ominous, orange glow building on the horizon behind them. “We can’t stay here.” said one. “Ohhh! What are we going to do?” cried another. Everyone was becoming very afraid.”
Then, the little dot shouted “I know! I know what to do!” Suddenly, every big dot looked to him, desperate for any hope. “What! Please tell us! It’s getting so hot and we’re scared!” they begged. So, the little dot explained as quickly as he could how he’d learned to stretch and run and jump and float, and he urged them all to not give up, but have faith and leap off the edge of the parchment.
When the little dot was done explaining, everyone just stood there for a moment in silence. “What are you talking about?” said one in disbelief. “What is stretching? What is running? What is jumping? You sound crazy!” Just then the color of the parchment began to turn brown and grew too hot to touch. Knowing he was out of time, the little dot said “Just watch! I’ll show you!” And he backed up a little, ran forward as fast as he could, jumped into the air with all his might and caught the hot breeze rising from the parchment.
As the brave little dot sailed up and up beyond the edge of the parchment, he looked back and saw all the other big dots attempting to follow him. But they hadn’t learned how to stretch and run and jump and sail into the air. All they could do was slide over to the edge of the parchment and fall off the side into the safety of a wastebasket below. The little dot look on with great concern until all the big dots were safe, then he breathed a sigh of relief.
Floated along, he thought to himself, “I wonder where I am going?” Being such a little dot, he was very light, and so he floated for a long, long time. As he gradually descended, he saw a bottle of very black liquid beneath him. But he was not afraid. As he landed in the ink, he instantly changed. He realized the he could now become any shape he wanted. He was new again. He was free. He found himself surrounded by countless new friends. And he heard a voice that said “Welcome home.”