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Now the Nezzels loved each other very much and they were all very happy ... all except for one young Nezzel named Portend.
All of the Nezzels were very busy and worked very hard. They all had important jobs that they did each night while everyone else was sleeping. You see it was the job of the Nezzels to put the color and fragrance into all the flowers in the meadow.
Fez Nezzel was the painter in Significance. He made the red roses bright red, and he made the yellow tulips really yellow. He painted the crocus and iris their deep blue and purple, and he put the wonderful pinks and oranges in all the other beautiful flowers.
Netta Nezzel loved her job. She put the fragrance into all of the flowers. Netta loved giving the lilacs their special scent and making the honeysuckles smell like sweet honey. Just like Fez, Netta had a lot of helpers, because there were a lot of flowers to take care of.
The only Nezzel in Significance that was unhappy with their job was Portend. Every day he would watch as the sun would reflect the brilliant colors of each flower, and see Fez and all his helpers smile as they watched too.
Every day Portend would close his eyes and breathe in a deep breath of the wonderful fragrance that filled the air coming from each of the flowers that Netta and all her helpers had just finished the night before. Portend watched everyone else in Significance do the same.
Portend became very sad. He wasn't happy with his job because he didn't think it was very important. "The only job I have," Portend said to himself, "is to open up the petals and unroll the leaves, and that doesn't seem very important and no one seems to notice anyway." Then he had an idea! "What if," he squeaked, "I were to fix things so that the jobs Fez and Netta had didn't seem that important either? Maybe if the flowers weren't so pretty and didn't smell so nice, people wouldn't like the flowers anymore and their jobs wouldn't seem more important than mine."
With that thought, he went into his workshop and began to work. Portend began to mix up some terrible, awful, drab and dreary paint colors in some old buckets. Then he began to mix up some stinky, yucky, bad smelling flower scents in some other buckets.
Then, later on that night, after all of the Nezzels had finished their jobs and were all snug in their beds, Portend went into the shed and got out the buckets that he had made. Then, very quietly, he snuck off into the meadow. He was very pleased with himself that he had such a great idea. If he made all the flowers looked drab and smelled drab, then everyone would stop admiring them.
As he began to paint the flowers the horrible colors, and fill them with the stinky smells that he concocted, he smiled. He thought to himself, "Now in the morning, everyone would see that their colors weren't so pretty and their fragrances weren't so great either. Then they would see ... then they would understand. They would all see that their jobs were not any more important than mine."
Excerpted from Portend Learns that "We Need Each Other" by Lisa A. Murray Copyright © 2011 by Lisa A. Murray. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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