Mikolay Has a Secret

-“Mum says that if I don’t improve my marks next month, she will take my wand away”, announced Mikolay woefully as he crashed onto the sofa and ate some banana chips.

-“I told you, you should read more”, replied Julia, who was on the floor, waving her legs up in the air while reading yet another huge book.

-“But I don’t like reading!!!” – Mikolay really liked Julia, but he was getting tired of constantly being lectured by her.

-“But you like magic. How can you learn complex spells if you don’t want to read?” Julia kept on asking.

-“You could read it to me. That would save me loads of time”, said Mikolay and quickly added, “I would do it for you.”

It was so unlike Mikolay to refuse to learn new aspects of magic and his resistance was a little surprising warring to Julia. She put her book down and sat up straight.

-“Mikolay, what is the matter?” She asked in her sweet, concerned voice.

-“Nothing, why?” Mikolay replied and grabbed the first book, he could find, off the shelf. But Julia was never one to give up easily. Besides, she had a feeling that Mikolay wasn’t telling her the whole truth.

-“Mikolay”, started Julia, “putting on” her most serious voice ever. “The two of us are best friends so we really shouldn’t have any secrets from one another. I always tell you everything.”

-“Well… it’s nothing.”

-“Mikolay?”

– “I don’t want to talk about this!!!” Mikolay cried out. Luckily, when needed, Julia could be as stubborn as he was.

– “Why?”

– “Because… because… I’m ashamed.” The last two words coming out almost as a whisper.

– “Mikolay, we are best friends forever. I think it counts for something, don’t you?”

– “I… I don’t really like reading because… because all the letters look blurry to me and I get very confused”, Mikolay blurted out. He immediately looked away just in case he started to cry.

– “Oh…” sighed Julia. “Why didn’t you say anything to your mummy? I know she would help.”

– “Well…, I don’t want her to think that I’m stupid”, said Mikolay, while still looking away.

– “Mikolay, don’t be silly. Your mummy would never think that. Actually, no one thinks you are stupid.” Julia thought that Mikolay was just being childish.

– “You see, my mummy is clever and my daddy is clever, too, and…” Mikolay blushed this time, “… you are the most clever person I know.”

Now it was Julia’s turn to blush. For a moment or two, she didn’t really know what to say.

– “Oh, that is why you don’t like reading, isn’t it?” Julia was feeling very sorry for Mikolay and knew she had to help him no matter what. He was her best friend and a very gifted young wizard, even if he wasn’t the best reader.

– “Yes”, admitted a resigned Mikolay. “But you have to promise not to tell our mummies or daddies about my secret. Promise!”

– “I promise”, said Julia in earnest. She even raised her right hand up and crossed her heart.

– “Double promise with sugar on top?” Mikolay had to make sure that his secret was going to stay that way.

– “Double promise with double sugar on top”, said Julia emphatically. “But you do realize we have to do something about this, right?” Julia’s mind was already busy coming up with “the plan”.

– “I know. Do you have any suggestions?” Mikolay finally turned around to look at her. Of course, he didn’t want to be the boy who couldn’t read and couldn’t go to a magical school. But he didn’t know where to start and he really didn’t want people to know about his shameful secret.

– “Well, first we ought to go to the optician to check your eyes. You know, maybe you just need reading glasses”, suggested Julia lightly.

– “Wow, how come I didn’t think of going to the otpician?” Mikolay cheered up a bit.

– “Optician, Mikolay, not otpician”, Julia corrected him. “However the real question is how we are going to get to the optician without grown-ups and be taken seriously”, she wondered aloud.

– “Perhaps we could ask the school nurse to check my eyes. This way we will have some leads and will know if my eyes are giving me the trouble. Then I’d just go and tell mummy and daddy that I need glasses”, suggested Mikolay, who was really brilliant at solving unsolvable problems.

– “Great, that is an excellent idea!” declared Julia.

The next day at school, Mikolay & Julia went to the school nurse and explained to her that Mikolay was having some problems with his eyes and needed them checked. The nurse was very nice and understanding about the whole situation and Mikolay’s concern. She did some simple tests on Mikolay’s eyes, but to his disappointment, she found no reason why they were hurting. In fact, it turned out that his sight was super duper brilliant.

– “You see, it’s not my eyes”, said Mikolay, when the two of them were finally on their way back home. Julia had never seen him so sad before.

– “There must be something wrong with me. I don’t even understand why you want to be friends with someone who can’t read.”

– “Mikolay, friendships are not built on people being able to read or not. Friendship is really, really liking someone and wanting to spend time with them”, said Julia. She actually felt like crying but knew she needed to stay strong for Mikolay.

– “Yes, but what if I won’t be able to do any adventuring with you anymore? You will find yourself a new best friend, someone who knows all the letters and stuff.”

– “I’ll never find a new best friend. You are my best friend forever, did you forget that? Besides, it was just the first thing we did. I have a few other ideas. I just need to get home and flick through my books”, Julia hoped that she was going to find some answers soon.

The two of them hurried home, which was a very unusual thing for them to do. Usually, their way back from school had more detours and adventures

When Julia finally got a hold of her books, she went through a few volumes in a hurry. Of course, she had read all of them before. Since Mikolay did not want to interrupt her, he played a silly game with his wand.

– “I’ve got it!!!” Julia shouted in delight, after only an hour of intense research.

– “What! What! What!” Mikolay was anxious to know.

– “I found several spells we could use, and we’ll see if your reading improves”, announced Julia proudly.

– “It’s…, it’s actually not only reading but at times writing, too”, admitted Mikolay quietly. He thought that he needed to be totally honest with Julia.

– “Writing?”

– “I mean I get letters confused. When the teacher asks me where the problem is I can’t say because I don’t see that the letters are different from one another”, rambled Mikolay.

– “Oh… let’s try the spells anyway and see”, suggested Julia.

She took her wand out and started using her newly discovered spells on Mikolay.

Mikolay was incredibly patient. He appreciated Julia’s help enormously. He felt very bad that he doubted their friendship before.

After all, now she was breaking the magical school rules for him.

Most of the spells she wanted to use were very advanced. The students were not allowed to use even simple spells – and especially not advanced spells – outside of the magical school, just in case they went incredibly wrong.

– “Let’s start with the remembering spell. Locos povos totusos valanis pompolus‘ “, said Julia three times.

“Shall we see? Pick up the book, go on”, instructed Julia. Mikolay did what he was told but the reading wasn’t any easier than before, and the letters still looked the same.

– “Hmmm, let’s try another one, Mikolay. Don’t give up! It’s just the start.” Julia was never one to give up easily, especially not when her friend needed her the most.

So, she tried another one, and another one, and another one. In fact, Julia tried all of the spells she could find. However, none of the spells seemed to be working. Julia was becoming more and more desperate, and Mikolay more and sadder.

– “Well, the spells are not working!” Announced Julia after the last one failed.

– “No kidding. It looks like I’m going to be one of those boys who doesn’t read or write. I mean, how useful is reading nowadays, anyway? You can watch all the news, and most books are turned into the movies.”

– “Mikolay!!!” Shouted Julia. “I don’t believe what I’m hearing. You need to be able to read and write. We have no other choice but to tell our parents. I’m sure our mummies and daddies will come up with something.”

– “We can’t and we won’t!!! You promised. I’m not giving you the permission to talk about this to anyone”, screamed Mikolay and stormed out of the room.

Julia was very upset with Mikolay’s behaviour but she understood his frustration. For some reason, he was giving in to the peer pressure for boys to show no weakness. She cared for Mikolay too much to let him live his entire life without being able to read or write.

When Mikolay & Julia’s mummies arrived home that evening, Julia was ready to break the promise she made to Mikolay.

She thought that being able to read was far more important than the promise she made to him.

She told their mummies everything about Mikolay’s problem and how afraid he was to share his secret with anyone.

After a short discussion, Mikolay & Julia’s mummies told Julia that Mikolay probably suffered from dyslexia. Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects reading, writing, and sometimes math. They also told Julia that there is no spell that could help to fix it.

It turned out that Mikolay’s mummy was also dyslexic and she had learned how to read and write and even count.

That was fantastic news for Julia because it meant that Mikolay could also learn how to read and write.

The next morning, Mikolay’s mummy told Mikolay that she knew about his problem. Mummy also shared with him that she used to have problems reading & writing and that it was called dyslexia. His mummy also told him that he shouldn’t think that there was something wrong with him because there wasn’t. He was perfect the way he was and she loved him like crazy.

The same day, instead of going to school, Mikolay went with his mummy to a very special place that helps all children trying to overcome the problems dyslexia brings.

It wasn’t scary. In fact, the place was nice and full of other children Mikolay’s age.

Later that same day Mikolay decided not to be mad at Julia anymore. After all, she did everything to help him. He told Julia everything about the special clinic and the tests the nice ladies did on him.

Mikolay also shared with Julia that he would need some help with all the exercises he was supposed to do and hoped she could help him. Obviously, Julia was extremely happy and promised Mikolay she’d help in any way she could.

The two of them went back to being best friends forever once again.

FIND OUT

1. If you ever notice that you have problems learning, reading or writing, don’t be scared or ashamed to ask for help.

2. Find out as much as you can about dyslexia.

3. Find out how you can help your friends who may suffer from dyslexia.

4. Never ever laugh at anyone who can’t read or write or who has trouble reading or writing.

5. Find out how you can help kids to get their education in countries that aren’t as wealthy as yours.

THE END


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