Just as they did every summer, Charlie, his sister and his parents were off to their beach house where they would spend the whole summer until Charlie and Laura began school again in September.

Every day they would go to the beach, so the idea was to get up very early so as to be first on the beach and be able to choose a spot without a single beach umbrella to spoil their view.

But unfortunately they were never the first to arrive, for Charlie was a lazy-bones. Even though he had an alarm that was so loud it would wake up their neighbours, it was never enough to get him out of bed.

When his mother saw that Charlie hadn’t got up, she would march into his room to tell him that if he didn’t get up they would go to the beach without him. Well, that always made him leap out of bed like a flash of lightning

Charlie liked playing with his sister on the shore by the waves; he especially loved making sand castles, but his parents wouldn’t let him go because their beach umbrella was right at the back of the beach and their view of the shore was blocked by hundreds more parasols.

This made Charlie very angry with his parents, so he spent all morning under their beach umbrella staring at all the people in front of them and not saying a word.

As he sat there, Charlie noticed a man with a multicoloured beach umbrella right at the front, in front of all the rest. He said to himself, “That could’ve been my umbrella there instead of that man’s multicoloured one.”

Then, as if by magic, a strong gust of wind blew the man’s multicoloured umbrella all the way down the beach. The man got up to chase it, at which point Charlie leapt up and ran to put his towel in the empty spot to play with his bucket and spade.

When the man came back after having recovered his multicoloured umbrella, he got a nasty surprise, for someone had taken his place…

What are you doing in my spot, young man?” he asked.


So Charlie answered: “Well, you left and there was no one here, so I thought I could take your place.

The man looked very angry at that, but he controlled himself and said: “I get up at 8am every day to come and put my beach umbrella here. That way I get to enjoy the views from all morning. What time did you get here?”

Charlie was astonished at how early the man had got up to choose his spot on the beach, and realised that we must make an effort to get what we want, just like this man did.

“I’m sorry, I thought it was ok to sit here,” answered Charlie, gathering up his things.

And when Charlie’s alarm went off the following day, he had no trouble springing out of bed, for he had learned that we must make an effort in order to get what we want.