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Over the hedge

The stolen hug

When I was teaching in a preschool, I was consistently amazed at the balance of logic and spontaneity unfiltered by opinion that came from the mouths of the 3- and 4-year-olds.

One of the children, Bion, was always full of surprises. One day, when I was walking to meet the kids, I spotted him from a distance, crying and reaching out his arms to his mother, who was going to work. She gave him one last hug.

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His crying quieted as she walked away, but he was still a little glum when we returned to class. "Bion," I said, "what's wrong?"

Without hesitating, he answered, "I didn't give my mom a hug."

"Yes, you did," I said. "I saw you."

As though I should know better, Bion said, "No, I didn't. She took it from me."

Elizabeth Mata

Elsah, Ill.

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