Little Bao lived in a cute little cottage by the sea in Khao Lak, Thailand. But don’t worry, she didn’t live there alone, she lived with her loving parents, and her brother Tang.
Ever since she could remember, little Bao had been allowed to have her way by her doting parents – be it her choice of clothes, expensive toys, her insistence on keeping a cat, or what she ate. Well, actually, that last one is not strictly true, in fact, it is a downright falsehood, for little Bao’s parents did have an issue with what she ate, for the simple reason that little Bao loved eating… Mud!
When she was an infant, she ate mud instead of drinking mother’s milk like her brother Tang. When she was two years old, she ate mud instead of Cerelak and rice pudding that Tang loved. And now that she was five, she still ate mud instead of chocolate or sticky rice with pork dumplings that was the favorite meal of Tang.
Her parents had been trying to persuade little Bao to stop eating mud since the day they first saw her doing so, but in vain, for every time they tried to stop her or persuade her, she would throw such a tantrum that they HAD to give in.
But now, it was time for little Bao to start going to school. And so, her parents decided to finally bite the bullet, and put an end to her biting down on mud.
And so, one day before her school was to start, they tild her strictly – No more mud for you. She indulged in all her tried and tested tricks, but this time, her parents stood firm. They removed all the mud from their home, locked the main door from outside, and went away for lunch. They were sure by the time they came back, little Bao would have been ‘cured’ of this bad habit.
But what they did not know was that there was a reason behind little Bao’s penchant for eating mud- It was the only thing that could keep her hunger from overpowering her, for as soon as she had been born, little Bao had realized the truth that was hidden from everyone else- that in reality, she was an avatar of the Earth Goddess, and only earth could satiate her appetite.
She tried to control herself, of course, but it was not something that was within her powers. So after willing herself to hold on for as long as she could, which was exactly three minutes, little Bao finally let go!
She started by eating a box of sweets that were kept in the kitchen.
But it only went to whet her appetite even more, so next, she gobbled up all the fish in their pond.
But even that was not enough, so it was the turn of Kitty Su, their neighour’s cat next.
But her hunger was unstoppable, and as her parents returned to check on her, they found her about to start on their pet elephant.
That, of course, was the last straw on the elephant’s back, and her parents realized that every child is different, and their needs need to be addressed keeping their peculiarities in mind.
So little Bao’s parents looked at one another, and an understanding passed through their eyes. And then, slowly, her mother opened the main door, pointed towards the beach, and said, “Jaa Bao jaa, jee le apni zindagi!”
And little Bao ate mud as she had never eaten before, because for the first time in her life, she could do so without the guilt of having disappointed her parents. Today, little Bao was truly happy!