TWO PLASTIC BOOTS that once lived in a closet where inseparable friends. “We always walk hand in hand", they used to say and enjoyed long walks together through heavy rain and even storms, resisting all water, as they were waterproof. Yet, they were also arrogant, and every time they saw a small flower or weed that was not yet in bloom, they would trample it without remorse.
One autumn day, however, when the house wife wore them to take a walk in the park, they happened to trample over a small cyclamen that was yet to grow. “We would have taken notice of it if it was tall like the other flowers”, they justified themselves.
Only a few steps farther, the housewife sat on a bench and removed them from her feet to get some rest. “Are you not tired of seeing the right one always going first”, a petal of the trampled cyclamen whispered to the ear of the left boot. She was very troubled to hear it, as they werefriends for years and she had never realized that something like that was happening.
The petal then whispered to the right boot’s ear: “Are you not tired of being held back by the left one, that always goes at her own pace?”. She was also very troubled to hear it, as they had been walking together for years, and she had not even realized she was going first and the left boot was the one to follow her lead.
So, as soon as the housewife wore them again, they both started observing each other’s walk. The faster the right one went, the more the left one kept her back so she wouldn’t go faster. When the time for the left one to lead came, the right one did the same, in order to force her to exchange positions. Only a couple of steps later, and the housewife was so tired she almost slipped on the mudand fell. As soon as she sat on the next bench, she removed the boots from her feet with great relief.
“You did that on purpose so as to be first”, the left boot accused the right one.
“It’s you who does it on purpose so as to keep others back”, replied the right one, blaming her back.
Then the wild wind blew, bringing the petal from the cyclamen they had trampled previously right in front of them. “Does it really matter who goes first and who second, when you don’t really care about those who have no choice but to stay back?”, the flower told them, and they realized that as they were competing, they had trampled on the most beautiful flowers of the garden. The petal then showed them the cyclamen and further explained to them that had they not ruined it with their recklessness, it would have become as beautiful as all the other flowers in the garden. As soon as they realized the damage they had caused, the two boots got very sad and apologized to the petal.
From that day, they took their lesson, not to care about which goes first or second, but rather about the respect they must show to all those who stay behind.