There was a time, not long ago, when people did not own many things that now make their lives easier and more enjoyable: no telephones, radios, televisions, automobiles, airplanes, movies, bicycles, or electric lights. Many people became inventors and tried to build things that had never been thought of before.

Such a person was a young man named Leonardo. He lived around the time Columbus sailed the oceans. Leonardo liked to draw pictures of his new ideas before he tried to build them. One day he drew a picture of an underwater boat, which we now call a submarine.

All of his friends laughed at his idea. So he decided to make one. He built a long wooden barrel, large enough to climb into. He had his friends lock him inside and sink the boat with heavy stones. Well, before long he shouted, “Help, let me out of here; I can’t breathe!” He had used up all the air in the barrel. Luckily, his friends pulled him up in time.

Then Leonardo decided to draw something else. This time, he thought of a flying machine. He had always watched birds fly, so he drew a picture of a man with big wings strapped to his arms.

Leonardo’s friends laughed again and asked him how he would get up into the air.

“I will jump off a hilltop cliff near the ocean,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, then I’ll just fall into the water.”

The word spread throughout the countryside, and everyone was there to watch on the day Leonardo jumped off the cliff with his wings on. He ran with all his might and jumped out as far as he could. But one of his wings broke off his arm, and he went plummeting down like a lead brick into the water.

Leonardo slowly climbed out of the water and went back to his drawing board. This time, he drew a picture of what he thought was his greatest idea—a giant balloon with a big basket underneath to carry him skyward. When his friends saw this, they asked how he would get it into the sky.

“With hot air,” he responded. “It is lighter than other air and will carry the balloon up. In the basket, in a metal bucket, I will make a fire to create the hot air.”

The whole village came to watch when Leonardo brought out his giant balloon. He climbed into the basket and lit the fire in the metal bucket. Soon after, the people could hardly believe their eyes. The balloon started to rise into the sky. Everyone started to cheer “Hooray!”

But suddenly, a gust of wind blew out the fire in the bucket. The hot air rushed out of the balloon and down it came into the top of a tree. Leonardo’s friends began laughing. They said to him, “Leonardo, why don’t you give up? You have failed at so many things.”

Leonardo replied, “No, I have not failed at so many things. I have found so many things that I now know will not work.”

He then showed them his next idea. It was a picture of rocket-powered roller skates!

Failure comes to everyone, no matter whom, my friend.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
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