The Festival Of Love
The people of the land of Smarta were excitedly preparing to celebrate the Festival Of Love, which took place on February the fourteenth of each year. It’s their virsion of Valentine’s Day. But first, let me give you some information about the country of Smarta, because this is the third story that takes place in this beautiful country. Smarta is located in a hidden part of the world. It is a very rich country. It has a very kind government, which tries to please the Smartans in whatever ways it can. But the government is mainly concerned with teenagers who are depressed. That’s how the Festival Of Love was created.
About ten boys and the same number of girls from each region who are single go to the capital city, where they find their sweetheart. There is a curious device called ‘Love Selector,’ which selects a random girl for each boy. This device only works on the day of the celebration. Only twenty teenagers from each region are allowed to participate each year. If the number of the registered is more than twenty, only the first twenty are selected based on the first letter of their name. The rest of the names will have to wait for the next Festival. There are nine regions in Smarta, because it is divided into regions rather than provinces. Therefore, the total number of participants is one hundred and eighty young people.
In order to be able to participate in the Festival, a person is supposed to send a package containing information about him or her to the government. The package included several papers that tell the life story of that person. There is also a paper on which the person must swear that he or she will never betray his new sweetheart.
No one was more excited for the Festival than Jack Gabriel, who was the most depressed boy in the whole country, because there was no girl to love him. He was a fifteen-year-old visually impaired student at Learninghouse high school in the city of Sixthville. He was glad that the first letter of his name was among the ten boys, or otherwise he would have to wait another year.
“So the whole country will be seeing you on the television,” commented his geography teacher a week before the Festival. “How do you feel about that?”
“It doesn’t matter who sees me,” he told her. “All I want is my sweetheart, whoever she may be.”
“What if she’s not pretty?” she asked curiously.
“It doesn’t matter,” replied Jack. “All I want is a girl to love me. Of course I won’t know whether she’s pretty or not.” He said this because he was blind.
“How do you know that you will win?” said a boy named Danny.
“All the participants are winners,” remarked Jack. “There’s a girl for every boy. There are ten boys and ten girls, you know.”
“I see,” Danny laughed coldly.
There were three girls from Jack’s school who were also participants in the Festival Of Love. Jack was hoping that the girl that the device would select for him would be one of them. He had fallen in love with all three of them at various times, but they all refused him.
So five days before the Festival, Jack and the three girls were on their way to the capital city of Smarta. They were accompanied by the principal of his school, many teachers, students and the parents of the participants.
Let me tell you a secret. Each of the three girls from Jack’s school was worried that she would be selected for him, for they did not like him.
“Welcome to Smarta City!” said President Gladson when he saw Jack and his companions. The president and all of his family were born in Sixthville, where Jack lived. But as you might have guest, he and his family moved to the capital city when he became president.
The visitors were taken on a tour of the city with the president and the prime minister. First, they visited the Festival Hall, where the participants in the Festival would be gathered. There were special seats for the one hundred and eighty teenagers.
On February the fourteenth, thousands of people from all over the country were gathered at the Festival Hall to celebrate the end of loneliness for one hundred and eighty teenagers. The celebration was conducted by the president.
The celebration began with the anthem of Smarta, which was performed beautifully by Clara Gladson, who was the daughter of the president. She was also one of the participants, because she did not have a boyfriend. Jack was hoping that the device would select her for him. He could tell that she was very pretty by her voice.
“Welcome to the twenty-third celebration of the Festival of Love, everyone!” began the president. “Let’s all give a big round of applause for the one hundred and eighty participants! Today is the last day of loneliness for you, ladies and gentlemen.”
Then he called for Aaron Abram, the first participant, to come up and stand in front of the special device. There was a little screen on the device that showed the name of the selected girl. Aaron was looking at it eagerly. Then the name appeared. “Leah Laban.”
“Congratulations to Aaron Abram and Leah Laban!” exclaimed President Gladson as he shook hands with both of them. “Aaron and Leah will stay together until they choose their spouse in the future.”
Jack Gabriel was the second last boy to stand before the little device. This meant that there were two girls left now. One of them was Clara Gladson, who was the president’s daughter, and Emily Dinsmore, who was from his school.
His heart beat very fast. He had been looking for a girl to love him for four years, and now it was the most important moment in his life. He couldn’t wait to hug the girl who would end his loneliness.
Suddenly, a masked man entered the huge hall unobserved. He was walking toward the device.
“Boom!” The device was broken into pieces. The stranger had shot it with his gun!
Everybody started running as fast as they could to get away from the criminal, who was later identified as Danny, who was Jack’s enemy.
It was later announced on the television that the Festival was over. The remaining participants would have to wait for the next Festival. This news broke Jack’s heart so badly that he refused to eat anything that night.
“You just have to wait another twelve months,” remarked the principal of his school. “That’s all…”
“Twelve depressing months!” sobbed Jack. “It’s like waiting twelve millenniums!”
The president decided to invite the three remaining participants to stay in his palace for several days. Of course the fourth participant was his own daughter, who didn’t need an invitation. He said, “Those who have found their sweetheart are very happy now. So I don’t have to invite them.”
The next day, they were eating breakfast in the palace when Clara Gladson came and sat beside Jack. She was also very sad, because she had to wait for the next Festival to find her future boyfriend.
When no one was looking at them, she turned to Jack and said, “You don’t have to wait for the next Festival to find your future girlfriend, you know.”
“What do you mean?” he asked wonderingly.
“I know it’s not something that a girl would do, but I’d be happy if you can choose me to be your sweetheart,” she replied with a blush.
Then her sad emotions took control of her and she started crying. “I love you, Jack. Will you love me, please?”
Jack was both happy and touched by her entreating tone. Therefore he replied, “Clara, when I heard you singing the national anthem at the beginning of the ceremony, I fell in love with you right away. But you live in the capital and I live in another city.”
“I’m actually from your city,” she told him. “I was even listed under the group from Sixthville. I have decided to move back to Sixthville.”
“Who will you live with?” Jack asked curiously.
“I will live in my parents’ old house,” replied Clara. “Because they lived there before my dad became president.”
When breakfast was over, Clara went to her mother and said, “I don’t have to wait for the next Festival to find a boyfriend.”
“Why?” asked her mother.
“Because Jack Gabriel, the guy from Sixthville, has asked me to be his sweetheart,” said Clara with a charming blush.
Several days later, the group from Sixthville left the capital for their city. Clara went with them to live in her parents’ old house. So she became Jack’s sweetheart. He was no longer lonely. She even attended his school, which filled Jack’s heart with joy.
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