In a quaint and quiet town, possibly not unlike the one in which you and your friends live, there was a quaint and quiet suburban street, and on that street there were many houses that looked the same.
Although all the houses were similar, every family that dwelt inside each house was very different from each other.
For instance, in one particular house, which looked very much like all the others, there lived the Jones family. Nobody in the neighbourhood knew where they came from, but as soon as they moved in they went door to door making friends with all their new neighbours. They were a pleasant family.
There was only one man on the block who didn’t appreciate the Jones family and their friendliness: Mister Wilson. Mister Wilson didn’t like how happy the Jones family looked all the time. He didn’t like how friendly they were, and how big and shiny their smiles were on their glowing, rosy faces.
“There’s something wrong with people who are so friendly all the time,” grumbled Mister Wilson.
The Jones family were welcomed into the neighbourhood and they settled right in. They began to fill their home with nice things, as families sometimes do.
One day, Missus Wilson came home from work. She walked in the door and was greeted by Mister Wilson. With excitement she said to her husband, “You wouldn’t believe what that Jones family has got! A deep fryer for deep frying goodies! A rotisserie barbecue for backyard meat feasts. A slush machine for icy cold drinks on hot days! And a cotton candy machine for the kids!”
“Why would the Jones family have all that?” asked Mister Wilson in awe and disbelief.
“I spoke with Missus Jones, and she says they throw big dinner parties all the time,” said Missus Wilson. “They want all the families in the neighbourhood to come over. She said they just love sharing big delicious meals with new friends.”
And so it went. The Jones family threw huge dinner parties, and invited all the neighbours. Everyone shared in delicious barbecue-cooked meat feasts with fresh, crisp, deep-fried vegetables and potatoes. For dessert, they would make cotton candy treats and iced slushy drinks for the children. They even had a chocolate fountain, which stood over four feet tall.
Every family came over to the Jones home. They ate and talked and laughed, and everyone left full and happy… every family, except the Wilsons.
Mr. Wilson would never go over to any of the dinner parties. He would simply stand, arms crossed, peering out his window at the people going in and out of the Jones house, and grumble:
“There’s something wrong with a family who is so generous all the time.”
One day, little Larry Wilson came home after school. He found his father in the study and exclaimed, “You wouldn’t believe what that Jones family has now! They got a jacuzzi tub for their patio! And a video projector with a super jumbo screen! And a merry-go-round in their back yard!”
Mister Wilson could hardly believe his ears. “Why would a family need all that stuff!?” he grumbled.
“I talked to little Timmy Wilson, and he said that his Mom and Dad love throwing parties on the weekends, and he wants everyone in the neighbourhood to feel free to come over.”
And so it went. The Jones family would open their doors to the entire neighbourhood every single weekend. During the day, families would come over and the children would ride the merry-go-around and eat cotton candy and ice cold slushy drinks. And when the sun went down, the children would all go inside to the Jones’ rumpus room, where they would watch movies on the giant video projector.
Meanwhile, the adults would go out to the patio, and soak in the glorious, hot, bubbling water of the jacuzzi.
Every family in the neighbourhood came out and had fun with the Jones family on their super-duper weekends… except for the Wilsons.
Mister Wilson would spend his weekends tending to his lawn and his hedges, and he would wipe the sweat from his forehead, and he would glare over at the Jones’ yard, and he would see all the children playing and parents smiling, and he would smell the delicious food and hear the laughter and screams of joy, and he would scowl.
“There’s something wrong with those people,” Mister Wilson would grumble. “No family can be so nice ALL THE TIME!!”
One day, little Jenny Wilson came home from school. She ran into the kitchen and found her father chopping vegetables. She was so excited, she jumped up and down while she said, “You would not believe what that Jones family has got now!”
Mister Wilson rolled his eyes and continued to chop vegetables. “What now?”
“They got a unicorn!” Jenny exclaimed.
Mister Wilson put down his vegetable chopping knife.
“There are no such things as unicorns,” said Mister Wilson.
“There are too,” said Jenny, “and the Jones family has one! He’s in their front yard right now!”
Mister Wilson left the vegetables half-chopped on the counter. He walked straight out of the house. He walked straight across the street. He walked straight up to the Jones’ front gate…
He almost did not believe his eyes…
There it was, a unicorn. Little Timmy Jones was there with his big sister, Suzie Jones. They were brushing the unicorn’s soft flowing mane and petting his shiny white coat. The unicorn looked like he really enjoyed the attention, and he purred and whinnied. When he did, the children giggled and petted him more.
Mister Jones came out the front door and waved. “Hello, Mister Wilson!” He smiled his wide smile and his rosy face glowed.
“Hello, Mister Jones,” Mister Wilson grumbled. “I didn’t know unicorns actually existed.”
“Yep, they sure do! Beautiful animals, they are. And so friendly. Our unicorn’s name is Gerald. Would you like to meet him?”
“Oh no, that’s fine,” said Mister Wilson.
“Nonsense!” said Mister Jones. “Gerald, come over here and say hello to Mister Wilson from across the street.”
At the sound of his name, Gerald the unicorn bounded up from the grass and trotted over happily, right up to the fence. He jumped up and put his front hooves over the fence and stared up at Mister Wilson with bright, shiny eyes.
“Hello, Mister Wilson!” said Gerald.
Mister Wilson blinked. He was surprised to find out that unicorns were real, and the fact that they could also speak made him utterly tongue-tied.
“Uh, hello… Gerald,” said Mister Wilson, finally. “I never knew unicorns could speak.”
“Yep, we sure can!” said Gerald, proudly.
Mister Jones said, with his face glowing, “They are amazing animals.”
Then Mister Wilson noticed something around the side of the Jones house. He leaned, peeked around, and saw…
A rainbow. There was a perfect rainbow right in the Jones family’s back yard.
“I see you got yourself a rainbow now?” asked Mister Wilson, bitterly. He could hardly believe his own words.
“Oh, you saw it, huh?” said Mister Jones. “Beautiful, isn’t it? We put that one in the back yard to brighten things up around here.”
“That one?” enquired Mister Wilson. “You have more?”
“Well, actually,” said Mister Jones, “you can’t exactly buy rainbows from a store, or grow them on a farm. Turns out, rainbows are made by unicorns.”
Mister Wilson shook his head. “No,” he said, “I am a science teacher at this town’s high school, and I can tell you: rainbows are made by light reflecting off of tiny drops of water in the air.”
“You know,” said Mister Jones, “that sounds true. You are a very smart man, Mister Wilson. I admit, I don’t know much about science. All I know, is that when Gerald clicks his hooves together, a little rainbow appears. Darndest thing.”
“Would you like a rainbow, Mister Wilson?” asked Gerald, eagerly. His tail wagged back and forth like an excited puppy.
“No thank you,” grumbled Mister Wilson.
“Nonsense!” said Mister Jones. “You would love a rainbow. You can put it in the yard, or maybe in the family room by the window. It really makes a home a happier place. And they are so easy to care for. Just give them some sunlight and –”
“I don’t want a rainbow in my house!” said Mister Wilson.
It was then that Gerald the unicorn clicked his front hooves together twice. There was a small burst of sparkling dust between his hooves, and a moment later, a tiny rainbow appeared and floated in front of Gerald’s nose.
Gerald looked up at Mister Wilson with his bright and shiny eyes. “Have a rainbow, Mister Wilson. Pleeeeeeeeease.”
Mister Wilson took the rainbow home. But he didn’t put it in the back yard, or in the front yard, or in the family room by the window.
He took the rainbow and he tossed it into the attic, way at the back, where it sat in the dust and the dark and the spiders and the boxes of old things. He tossed the rainbow in, and closed the attic door.
Mister Wilson went into the kitchen, where Missus Wilson was setting the table for dinner.
“Jenny told me about the Jones family and their new unicorn,” she said.
Mister Wilson shouted in anger, “I don’t want to hear anything more about the Jones family! I don’t want to hear about their delicious barbecue feasts, or their deep-fried goodies, or their cotton candy, or their iced slushy drinks on hot days! I don’t want to hear about their super jumbo theatre, or their bubbling hot jacuzzi, or their merry-go-round! I don’t want to hear about their unicorn named Gerald who makes rainbows just by clicking his hooves together!!”
“But dear,” said Missus Wilson, “the Jones family has been nothing but nice to everyone in this neighbourhood. They are so giving, so generous, so friendly and happy. How can you not like the Jones family?”
“Because!” shouted Mister Wilson. “Because there’s something wrong with people who are happy and friendly and generous and nice all the time!! It isn’t natural, it isn’t normal, and I DON’T LIKE IT!”
And so it went. Mister Wilson continued to scowl at the Jones family, and the Jones family continued to throw their delicious dinner parties, and their spectacular weekends with rides and movies, while Gerald the unicorn entertained the children and adults alike (he really seemed to enjoy the attention).
One day, Mister Wilson decided it was time to clean out the attic. He opened the trap door…
And was almost blinded by the most brilliant light. There was the rainbow he had tossed so long ago into the dark and the dust and the spiders and the boxes of old stuff – but it had grown enormous! It glowed beautifully, even in the dusty dark of the attic. Mister Wilson was stunned.
Mister Wilson went across the street to the Jones family’s front gate. There, he was greeted by Gerald, who trotted over to the fence and put his hooves up on the fence.
“Hello Mister Wilson!” said Gerald.
“Hello Gerald,” said Mister Wilson.
“I made you another rainbow!” said Gerald.
“That’s alright, Gerald,” said Mister Wilson. “Where is Mister Jones?”
Mister Jones walked around the house from the backyard, wiping his hands with an oily cloth. He smiled wide. “Hi there, Mister Wilson!” he said. “I was just doing some repairs on the old merry-go-around. The kids love that thing, but boy! Does it take a lot of work to keep running smoothly.”
“Mister Jones,” said Mister Wilson, “I wanted to talk to you about that rainbow you gave me.”
“Oh yes?” said Mister Jones. “How does it look in your back yard?”
“I didn’t put it in the back yard. Or the front yard. Or the family room by the window. The truth is, Mister Jones, I tossed it in the attic.”
“Oh,” said Mister Jones, “I see.”
Gerald said, “So you didn’t like it?”
“It’s not that,” said Mister Wilson. “It was very pretty. It’s just that… well… what I wanted to ask you was… well… I put it in the attic, in the dark and the dust and the spiders and with boxes of old stuff… and it just keeps growing bigger!”
“You must be feeding it a lot,” said Mister Jones.
“But I thought you said that rainbows just fed on sunlight,” said Mister Wilson.
“And spiders,” said Mister Jones.
“Spiders?” asked Mister Wilson, not believing his ears.
“Yep,” said Mister Jones. “Turns out, rainbows eat spiders too. Just watch.” And he pointed to a miniature rainbow that he had placed in the corner of his front yard.
Mister Wilson watched as a small spider crawled along through the grass toward the rainbow. It seemed to be attracted to it. When the spider touched the rainbow, it suddenly disappeared in a tiny puff of dust. Mister Wilson was stunned.
“Yep,” Mister Jones said. “Rainbows love spiders. I’m guessing you must have had a bunch of those up in your attic, and the rainbow had a feast. But you know, the more they eat the more you have to clean up after them.”
“Clean up after them?” asked Mister Wilson.
“Well sure,” said Mister Jones. “You didn’t see the coins? Rainbows eat sunlight and spiders and they turn them into gold coins. We usually have to clean up after our rainbows twice a week. Otherwise, you have piles of gold coins laying all over your yard. Pretty soon you begin to attract leprechauns – and once you have leprechauns, you’re in for a bunch of trouble.”
Mister Wilson didn’t know what to say. He didn’t believe his eyes, his ears, his own words, or the words he heard from Mister Jones or Gerald the unicorn. He went home.
He climbed up to the attic and entered it through the trap door. There was the rainbow that Gerald had made for him, glowing bright in the dusty dark of the attic. He approached it. He bent down and pushed aside some boxes of old stuff around the rainbow… and was shocked.
There were coins. Gold coins. Piles and piles of solid gold coins, shimmering in the light of the beautiful rainbow. Mister Wilson smiled.
Mister Wilson entered the family room, where he found Missus Wilson, and Jenny, and little Larry. His arms were overflowing with shimmering gold coins. “You know what?” he said to his family. “I don’t think that Jones family is so bad after all.”
And so it went. From that day on, Mister Wilson took his family over to the Jones house for dinner every time they threw a delicious barbecued meat feast with deep-fried goodies.
He took his family over to the Jones house every weekend, and Jenny and little Larry would ride the merry-go-round and watch movies, while he and Missus Wilson would soak in the bubbling hot jacuzzi.
And yes, he even took his family over to spend time with Gerald the unicorn, who loved the attention he got from the children. They would pet his shiny coat and brush his soft mane, and he would whinny and purr and make little rainbows with his hooves.
And Mister Wilson thought to himself: “Maybe it isn’t so wrong to be happy all the time. Maybe it isn’t so odd to be generous all the time. Maybe it isn’t so unusual to be nice all the time. Maybe, just maybe, that Jones family is alright.”