By EWELINA CHIN
Assertiveness awoke in her egg. She yawned and stretched, comfortable in her safe little world.
But then she wondered what else there might be to do and see beyond the confines of her egg.
"It's time for me to leave my egg and see the world," she announced.
"But it's a big scary world," said the egg. "And you are safe and warm inside my secure shell." But Assertiveness would not be dissuaded.
"I will always respect the way you have protected me, and nurtured me," explained Assertiveness. "But there is so much for me to see outside."
"But I will miss you. I will be lonely."
Assertiveness smiled warmly. "I know. And I will miss you too. But what is the point of an egg that does not release its child into the world? It's time for you to let go and see what I have become."
Assertiveness did not dismiss the egg's concerns. She respected the egg's feelings and gently but firmly explained to the egg why it was time for her to leave.
The egg thought about all that Assertiveness had told and sighed. "Yes, you are right. It is time for me to let go." And with that, the egg cracked open, and Assertiveness was free to explore the world.
"Farewell child," said the egg. "Go now and do the things I created you to do."
"Goodbye, egg. I will always remember you and be grateful for the life you have given me."
Assertive then walked away into the big wide world. She breathed in the fresh air and admired all that there was to see. The trees and flowers, the green fields and distant mountains.
Following a well-worn path, she eventually came to an elegant castle which was surrounded by a deep moat. Intrigued, she began walking across the drawbridge but stopped when a large and angry ogre blocked her way.
"Begone. None are allowed to enter the castle," yelled the ogre.
"But I simply want to explore," explained Assertiveness. "I mean you no harm."
"I don't care," growled the ogre. "I am large and ferocious and terrifying. I will not let you pass."
Assertiveness contemplated the ogre for a moment. As big as the ogre was, and as loud as his roar sounded, Assertiveness knew how strong she was and felt confident that the ogre could do her no harm.
"I don't find you scary."
The ogre frowned, confused. "You don't?"
Assertiveness took the time to explain why she wasn't scared of the ogre. "No. I see someone who is committed to their job and worthy of respect. But I am not afraid of you."
The ogre scratched its ugly head. "But fear and bluff are my only weapons."
Assertiveness smiled. "I tell you what. Why not let me come inside and allow me to explore. But you should accompany me, and make sure I behave and do nothing wrong.
The ogre rubbed his chin and considered the Assertiveness'' offer. "I suppose that would be all right."
And so, the ogre stepped aside to allow Assertiveness to enter the castle.
Wherever Assertiveness went, the ogre followed at a respectful distance. She admired the beautiful tapestries and marvelled at the grand furniture and massive architecture. But not a single soul was to be seen. They eventually arrived at a magnificent throne room, but the throne was empty. But then a small and timid voice spoke from behind the throne.
"Oh, deceitful ogre, why have you let someone into my throne room? They might wish to do me harm. Or steal my riches." And then in an even smaller voice. "Or take my throne."
Assertiveness raised a calming hand to the ogre who looked embarrassed and was about to reply. Instead, Assertiveness spoke.
"Your majesty, I am but a traveller, newly hatched. I mean you no harm. And besides, you have a huge and powerful ogre to protect you. Why should you be afraid of me."
At these words, the ogre puffed out his chest and proudly proclaimed, "she is correct. If she dares try and hurt you, your majesty, I will stop her."
"You will?" asked the King, voice quivering.
"He will," assured Assertiveness. "Now, your majesty, Will you now show yourself to me."
Slowly, a small boy with an ill-fitting crown too big for his head peeked from behind the throne.
"See," Assertiveness said in a calm but authoritative voice. "I am nothing to be scared of. I only want to speak with you and get to know you."
Finally, the boy King came out from his hiding spot and cautiously stood before Assertiveness. She, in turn, gave the King a respectful but confident curtsy.
"Your majesty, it is a pleasure to make you acquaintance."
The boy King smiled. "And yours. But who are you?"
"I am an Assertiveness. I am sure of myself but respectful to others. I make my opinion known, but I also listen to the ideas of others." She then glanced at the ogre. "I don't try and bully people." And then returned her attention to the King. "But nor am I afraid to speak my thoughts and give my opinion."
The boy King smiled. "I think I am like you." Then, to the ogre. "You have done the right thing bringing her to me. Now, call the servants from their hiding places, and bid them prepare some cake. I would speak some (...)
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