Playing with Matches

Environment Bug was out walking on a bright summer day. He strolled through the park and he saw a little boy standing by a tree.

“Hi,” said Environment Bug to the little boy. “How are you today?”

“I am fine,” said the little boy.

Environment Bug noticed the little boy was trying to hide something behind his back.

“What is behind your back?” asked Environment Bug.

“Nothing,” the little boy lied.

“I can see you have something behind your back,” said Environment Bug. “Now what is it?”

The little boy showed Environment Bug a box of matches that he was hiding.

“I see,” said Environment Bug. “I see. Did you not hear about the fire?”

“What fire?” asked Tommy.

“Look beyond the valley,” said Environment Bug, pointing over the horizon. “See the smoke.”

“Oh yes,” said Tommy, taking a few minutes to focus at what Environment Bug was pointing at. “I see it now.”

“Do you know how fires get started?” said Environment Bug.

“Yes,” said Tommy. “By careless smokers.”

“That is one way,” said Environment Bug. “Playing with matches is another.”

“Oh,” said Tommy, putting his head down in shame.

“Playing with matches is very dangerous,” said Environment Bug.

“Tommy!” Tommy heard his mother call. “Tommy, where are you?”

“I gotta go,” said Tommy. “My mother is calling me.”

“Just remember what we talked about,” said Environment Bug. “And you can leave those matches here with me.”

“I will,” said Tommy, handing the box of matches to Environment Bug.

Tommy’s mother took Tommy to his friend, Paul’s house. Only this time Paul was not in the mood for playing with Tommy. Paul’s family was being evacuated from his house because of the fire that Tommy had seen earlier.

“Gee,” said Tommy, feeling really guilty that he had been about to play with matches before Environment Bug had stopped him. “I am sorry that this is happening to you.”

“There isn’t much we can do,” said Paul. “Your mom was kind enough to allow us to stay at your house until we can come back to our house.”

Tommy was pretty silent all the way home and as soon as he got the chance the next morning he went to the park again. He found Environment Bug at the park.

“Environment Bug,” said Tommy. “I am really sorry about the matches the other day. I really had no idea that they could cause the damage that they can.”

“I take it you saw the fire,” said Environment Bug.

“Yes,” said Tommy. “My friend got evacuated all because of me.”

“Look Tommy,” said Environment Bug. “That fire was not started by you so you do not need to feel guilty. Besides, you did the right thing the other day by giving me those matches. I am very proud of you.”

From that day on, Tommy would warn any of his friends about the dangers of fire if he saw them so much even look at a match.

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