Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A Pearl For Your Daughter

It's been a few days since the last instalment of Folk Tales of the Sea People, so here's the next story. This time, a cautionary tale...

A Pearl For Your Daughter (July 2014)
A Pearl for Your Daughter

There was once a mermaid queen, who gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter. The queen was very pleased, for she was a pompous lady and only liked the best for her family. Her daughter was the perfect picture of a Mer-child, with golden hair and bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks and glittering green scales upon her tail. The queen named her daughter Mira, and proclaimed that, as the first-born, Mira would become queen of the kingdom after her.

When news spread that an heir had been born, people flocked to the palace to bring gifts and good wishes. The Selkie emissary brought a cloak of fine silver cloth, which would keep Mira warm when the waters turned cold, and help her to walk the Human-land if she chose. A Kappa prince brought an emerald-green cucumber that would never go bad or run out, no matter how much Mira ate, and would taste of any meal she could imagine. When the Siren ambassador visited, he brought music written by the finest composers, especially for Princess Mira. When she sang the special song, Mira would have the power to draw the attention of any man. The Nereids brought a golden circlet which, when worn, would take away a headache. The Swan-folk brought bracelets of silver, inscribed with magic words that when said, would allow the princess to fly. The Vodyanoy brought a pot of magical algae, which would heal any wound, and the Rusalki brought a potion of fish-bones and shells, which would lift any spirits. On and on the visitors came, with their beautiful, magical, wonderful presents.

Lastly came the Glashtyn, who had travelled far in order to visit the new princess. The queen did not like the Glashtyn, for he was old and ugly, and no matter how he changed his form, his ugly horse-ears remained. But she liked presents, and wanted to see what the old man had brought for her young daughter, so she granted him audience.
“Your majesty, I come to congratulate you on the birth of your daughter,” the Glashtyn said. He hobbled over to the crib where Princess Mira lay. “She will grow to become the most beautiful woman any has known.”
The queen was offended, for she thought herself the most beautiful in the entire ocean, and she felt annoyed that the visitor had not asked permission to look upon the princess. “Did you come for mere words, Mister Glashtyn?” she inquired.
“Of course not, I came to bring a gift.” The Glashtyn stuck a hand into the pocket of his dirty robes, and produced a small, grubby pearl. “I brought this pearl for your daughter.”
“A mere pearl? You come far to give my daughter, the heir to the throne, a common stone?” She cast her hand at the gifts bestowed by other visitors. “A princess must have extraordinary things, objects magical and rare. Common objects are for common people.”
“Your majesty,” said the Glashtyn quietly. “A true princess, indeed a true queen, must learn to recognise the beauty and importance in even the commonest and plainest of all things.”
Now the queen became angry. “You dare to insult me within my kingdom! Get out, and take your dirty pearl with you.”
The Glastyn bowed. “I apologise for any offence,” he said softly, looking at the slumbering child in the crib. “I shall bestow one final gift before I leave.” He touched the child’s head gently, though Princess Mira continued to sleep. “Let it be, princess, that your every tear is a pearl, so that you might learn to be humble and modest.”
“Get out!” screamed the queen. “You are hearby banished from this kingdom—be gone!”
The queen’s shouting disturbed the Princess, who began to whimper and sob. Hurriedly, the queen rushed to her daughter’s crib and saw that indeed, tiny pearls escaped Mira’s eyes and ran down her cheeks. The queen turned to call the Glashtyn back and demand he removed the magic, but the man was gone. A servant, upon hearing what had happened, quickly brought the potion that had been given by the Rusalki, and administered a spoonful to the little princess. Immediately the child’s temperament improved, and she lay in her crib smiling.
The queen gathered the pearls her daughter had cried, and ordered for the Glashtyn to be brought to her. Soldiers searched the kingdom for him, north and south and east and west and up and down, in every hole and cavern and home and tavern, but the Glashtyn was nowhere to be found.

From that day, the queen decreed that none should ever give Princess Mira cause to cry, and outside of the palace, Mira’s curse should be kept secret, for it was shameful.
However, small children always find reason to cry even without it being given, for they cannot speak and tell of what ails them: a painful stomach or a scraped elbow, a headache or a bad dream.
Slowly, the Rusalki’s potion was used up.
By the time Mira learned to talk, she had stopped crying, for there was much to be happy about. Her mother gave her the finest toys to play with, and the palace cook always created the most delicious meals on Mira’s smallest whim.
To ensure Mira no longer cried, the queen and her subjects always gave the princess precisely what she wanted. It meant that Mira did not cry, but it also meant that she grew up to become very spoilt.

Mira showed little interest in what remained of the presents given upon her birth, until she was nearly of age to debut into the court. She had little care for the cucumber or the algae, but she very much liked the Selkie’s cloak and the bracelets from the Swan-people, which she used to visit the Human-land and fly with the birds. She liked to wear the golden circlet the Nereids gave her, not to remove headaches but because it looked beautiful upon her. Mira’s favourite gift was the music from the Siren-folk, and she used their song many times to gain the attentions of the young men she liked.

One day, Mira decided she did not want to attend the boring royal parties of the palace, and that she would rather use her magical cloak to gain legs and walk along the warm, sandy beaches of the Human-land. Her mother did not wish her daughter to cry before the lords and ladies of the court, and allowed her leave to visit the Human-land.
So off Mira went, wearing her magic bracelets and her golden circlet and the silver cloak, and she also took the cucumber in case she became hungry.
Mira liked the feeling of the sand between her magicked toes, and danced happily along the shore, singing to herself. She met many people, who thought her beautiful, and human like themselves, and Mira laughed secretly at their foolishness.
After a time, she became tired of the beach and flew with her bracelets over a forest, where she found a pretty pond surrounded by flowers. Mira landed and walked across the grass to the pond, where she began to pick the flowers and braid them into her long, golden hair.
“You ought to respect those flowers, for they did not grow solely to become your ornaments,” spoke a calm voice.
Mira looked up to see a handsome man with dark skin and a smiling countenance. She pursed her lips petulantly, for she did not like to be told what to do, especially not from a stranger and especially not from a human.
“Who are you to tell me such things?” she demanded.
“A mere bystander,” smiled the man.
Mira scowled at him. She did not like his silly coat or his tall hat. In the sea, men dressed far more elegantly!
“You should not scowl so,” said the man. “For it makes you ugly.”
“I am not ugly!” said Mira. “I am beautiful.”
“Beautiful? Look at your reflection in the lake and tell me what you see.”
Pouting, Mira looked at her reflection and gasped in shock. She saw not the flawless, golden-haired, blue-eyed visage that she was used to. Instead she saw the truth of her character: a narrow-eyed, icy gaze, a thin-lipped mouth that curved downward with ill-temper, and a frowning, creased forehead. Her hair was dull and her face pasty and fat.
“This is not me!” Mira exclaimed.
“It is the real you,” said the man. “You are spoiled and you think only of yourself. You must change for the better, before you change for the worst.”
The man turned away and Mira glared at him, furious. She remembered the Siren music and felt a rush of malice: she would teach the nasty stranger a lesson and make him fall in love with her! Besides, a man as handsome as him was supposed to be enchanted by a beautiful princess like herself. Then she could be unkind to him, and he would know exactly what it was like.
Opening her mouth, Mira began to sing, feeling a burst of satisfaction when the man turned back to her.
But the man covered his ears, wincing. “Shut up!” he shouted. “You have a voice like a banshee!”
Mira gasped. “You shut up!” she replied sullenly.
“Oh you ugly child, go home to your mother and learn some good grace, if there is an ounce of it within you.”
Suddenly, Mira felt a stinging within her eyes. Her face became hot and she let out a sob as her eyes became more painful. Then with a ‘pop!’ and a ‘pop!’, a pearl fell out of each of her eyes, in place of her tears. Mira gasped in surprise, but did not stoop to pick up the pearls, for they were common in her land and she thought them unimportant. More pearl-tears formed within her eyes and Mira struggled to see for the pain of them. She wanted to fly away, but her eyes could not see the magic words upon her bracelets that gave her flight, and she had never taken the time to learn them: Mira had always taken the bracelets for granted.
Raising her hands to her eyes, Mira stumbled off, leaving a trail of pearls behind her as she continued to cry.
The stranger watched her leave, removed his hat and wiggled his ears, which were long and pointed like that of a horse. He was none other than the Glashtyn, come in disguise to find out what kind of person Mira had grown up to be. He thought it very unfortunate that the queen had not brought up her daughter to be kind and gracious, for a child taught to be good and virtuous should never have cause to cry, for all would love her and care for her. He wondered if Mira would learn her lesson, and if the queen would ever learn hers.

Mira stumbled through a forest as she searched, half-blind, for the way back to the beach. Hearing voices, she quickly hid within a mulberry bush, ashamed to be seen crying common pearls.
“Oh father, what can we do?” cried out a young voice. “It is mother’s birthday today, and we have no gift for her, nor do we have money with which to buy one!”
“I have looked far and wide for work, my son,” said the boy’s father. “But good work evades me. Though we are poor, your mother deserves the most beautiful of gifts. I wish that I might find a good job, so that we could buy her the finest jewellery.”
Mira thought it a great pity that the boy’s mother would not receive a birthday present, for Mira liked presents.
As the father and son spoke, Mira thought of the bracelets upon her wrist. They had been her playthings as a child, and she had enjoyed the flight they gave her. But they were useless to her now, for as the pearls continued to drip from her pained eyes, she could not read the magic words nor fly away with their aid. The bracelets no longer held value, and Mira decided that she did not want them: she had no desire for useless things.
“Look, father!” exclaimed the boy. “A mulberry bush! Oh, let’s fill our hats with mulberries, and take them to mother!”
“It is the best present we can afford,” agreed his father. “And a gift from heaven, for your mother likes mulberries the most.”
Realising she might be found if she stay there any longer, Mira shuffled from the bush, out of sight. But before she moved away, she left the silver bracelets hanging upon a branch of the mulberry bush.
As she walked away, pearls dripping from her eyes, she heard the boy shout excitedly.
“Look, father! Bracelets of silver, growing on the mulberry bush!”
“Why, what luck! Heaven is truly smiling upon us. Put them safely in your pocket, my son, for we have found a gift as beautiful as your mother herself.”
“This is fit for a princess,” the boy said. “Mother is much like a princess, isn’t she, father?”
“Indeed she is,” said the father. “Now let’s continue to gather mulberries, for we can use them to bake a splendid pie in honour of Mother.”
Mira felt a strange feeling inside when she overheard their conversation. She thought it good that the boy’s mother would receive a gift. The bracelets were beautiful indeed, and certainly fit for a princess, but now Mira could not see them or make use of them. They did not matter to her.

On Mira went, until again she heard voices in the distance. This time, she hid behind a clump of bamboo, pearls rolling down her cheeks and bouncing on the earth beneath her feet. Mira had cried so much that she had a headache, and she touched the golden circlet upon her head, as she had done many times when too much sweet wine or too long playing on the land had caused her head to ache. But the circlet seemed not to work, for the headache remained. Mira sniffed and rubbed at her eyes, wiping away more pearls. The voices became louder and Mira was able to hear what was being said.
“Well, sister, with mother and father long gone, and brother lost at sea, we are in a sorry state,” said a sweet voice.
“True, sister,” said a gentle voice. “And with a hole in the roof, made by the storm, we cannot continue to sew the fine dresses for our lady, as the rain would come in and ruin her silks.”
“If only brother would return!” exclaimed the sweet voice. “He had money in a foreign land, and he could pay to repair our roof.”
“We can but try to repair it ourselves,” said the gentle voice.
Though their voices were gentle and sweet, the noise made Mira’s headache worse. She took off the circlet and set it on the ground, so that she might rub her temples.
 “Look, there is a clump of bamboo. If we use our sewing-scissors to cut some down, we can tie it over the hole and cover it with a cloth of leaves, so that the rain might not come in.”
“It mightn’t work, but we can only do our best,” replied the soft voice. 
The gentle voice struck new fear into Mira’s heart, and she ran away from the bamboo clump. Only when she heard the snip-snipping of the sisters’ sewing-scissors on the bamboo did Mira realise she had forgotten her golden circlet. But she was too afraid to return for it, as the sisters would see her and they would laugh at her common pearl tears. Besides, Mira was half-blind from crying and did not think she could see her way back to the bamboo.
The sisters’ voices reached her as she walked away:
“Why, a golden circlet, and pearls!” exclaimed the gentle voice. “Look, sister mine, aren’t they pretty?”
“They are very pretty,” agreed the soft voice. “It appears that luck has finally found a path to us, dear sister. We might sell the circlet to a jeweller, who will give us money with which to fix our roof.”
“Oh, yes!” The gentle voice sounded excited. “And we can use the pearls upon our lady’s new dress. She will be so happy.”
Despite losing her pretty circlet, Mira felt pleased at the sister’s fortune, but also puzzled. Why would a thing as common as a pearl be put upon the dress of a lady?
“Pearls are so beautiful,” uttered the soft voiced sister. “Rare treasures from the sea. Do you remember when brother told us of the pearls sold in the foreign-land?”
“Oh yes, grey and black and white and silver! Oh, they sound so pretty!”
Mira left the sisters reminiscing, surprised that they thought pearls so rare and pretty. It was true that they came in many colours, but they could be found almost anywhere in the sea.
Pearl-tears continued to flow from Mira’s eyes, and she continued on her way. She realised that the golden circlet did not matter, for it no longer took away her headaches, and as she was half-blind she could no longer admire how beautiful it looked in her hair.

Mira began to feel hungry as she traipsed through the forest. She remembered the cucumber and sat down to eat it. As it would grow back, it did not matter if she ate it all. Mira wiped her eyes, though it did not stop the tears from flowing, and she thought of what she most wished to eat: a special cake that cook always made for her. Mira tried to close her eyes and imagine it, but the pearl-tears forced their way out from beneath her eyelids. With a shaky sigh, the princess lifted the cucumber to her lips and bit into it, expecting the delicious taste of cake to fill her mouth.
It did not. Instead, Mira tasted plain cucumber, almost flavourless and a little slimy. She screwed up her nose in disgust and spat out the food.
“Oh Miss, why do you spit out your food?” a young boy’s voice reached her ears. Mira had no place to hide this time, for she had already been seen, so she quickly pulled up the hood of her cloak to hide her face and her strange tears.
“I do not like it,” she replied, disappointed that the cucumber, too, had let her down.
“But cucumbers are healthy and good for you,” said the young boy. “Why, if I had a cucumber, I could have fed it to my poor aunt, who died of the sickness-bug. Before she died she told me to eat lots of green food from the earth, because that is the best for warding off the sickness-bug. But I have no food at all, so I hope I do not catch the sickness-bug.”
“I have a medicine for that,” Mira said, wanting to boast about the algae given to her by the Vodyanoy people. But there seemed little point in boasting to a young human boy, who would likely not know what algae was, or who the Vodyanoy were, and who no longer had need for such a marvellous possession. “But it is at home.”
“I do not have a home,” said the boy. Mira felt him sit beside her. “My aunt was taking care of me, but when she died, I had to leave her cottage too, for the landlord wanted to put a new family in it, who would work on his land like my aunt did before she got the sickness-bug.” The boy sounded sad as he spoke of his aunt. Mira thought of how she would feel if her family died and she had to leave the palace, and she was certain the pearl-tears fell a little harder.
She heard a grumbling sound beside her: the small boy’s hungry stomach.
“Here, take it,” she said. “I don’t like cucumbers anyway. It will be healthy for you.”
“Thank you, miss!” exclaimed the boy excitedly. He clutched the cucumber tightly. “I will share it with my friends, who live in the forest like me!”
“I hope you enjoy it,” Mira said quietly, meaning what she said. She thought cucumber was disgusting, but clearly the boy liked it. Whilst she was sitting, pearls had gathered in the folds of her cloak, and they spilled to the ground now that she stood.
“Miss, your necklace has broken,” said the boy. “All your pearls are on the floor.”
“Keep them,” said Mira. She could hear other voices approaching, and wanted to be on her way.
“Thank you kindly, Miss!” the boy exclaimed. “You’re surely a fairy princess, aren’t you?”
Mira smiled sadly. A princess she was, but no magic seemed to work for her like it did for fairies. All magic-wielding abilities were lost to her. “Something like that,” she said. “Can you tell me the way to the sea, please?”
“Follow the path, it will lead you right to it.”
“Thank you for your help,” Mira said gratefully. At home, children had annoyed her as they were too loud and obnoxious. But this boy had been good and polite, and had talked to her like a friend.
“You’re welcome, Miss!” The boy crouched down to gather the pearls, and Mira continued along the way.
Small children ran past her, and she heard them greeting the young boy.
“Look what the pretty miss gave me,” she heard the boy say. “Try it! It’s a cucumber!”
A moment later another voice cried, “But it tastes like hotpot, my favourite dinner!”
“Look! It grew back!” said another voice. “And look at all the pearls around!”
“They’re from the pretty miss,” said the boy. “She gave them to me. Well, she really is a fairy princess!”
Mira felt pleased for the boy and his friends. They could eat as much as they wanted and they would never go hungry again. Maybe if pearls were as rare in the Human-land as the sisters had thought, the children could use them to find themselves a new home, instead of living like animals in the forest. It did not occur to Mira that the cucumber’s magic worked for the children but not for her, and she thought not of going back to demand they returned it.

On she went, pearl-tears continuing to leave a trail behind her, until at last she felt the sand between her magicked toes.
Mira all but ran toward the sound of the waves, for by now she felt quite dry and sick from crying, and she wished to be home with her mother and the kind maids and generous cook.
But once more, voices stopped her in her tracks.
“Grandmother, are you cold? Let us hurry home, and I will heat you a bowl of warm broth.” A girl spoke, and was soon answered by an elderly woman.
“Dear child, you worry far too much. We shall continue to pick up shells, until the tide comes in.”
“But grandmother, the tide will not come in for a long time, and I can see that you are shivering. It is almost winter and your dress has become so worn.”
“We cannot afford new clothes, dear heart. Come, we shall continue to pick up shells, so that we might spend the winter using them to decorate boxes for the gentlemen and the ladies who visit during the summer.”
Shells, too, were unimportant to Mira, so she thought it strange that humans liked to put them on boxes. To Mira, shells were only the remains of dead things, and she did not look at them.
“Grandmother, if you are not warm enough, you will become sick again,” the girl sounded concerned now. “Please, let’s go home. I can return to the beach alone, and you can wrap up well in bed to fend off the chills.”
“Nonsense, I will walk the beach so long as my legs allow me.” The old woman was determined, and Mira felt a spark of admiration for her. But she also pitied the old woman, who was surely freezing half to death
Fumbling with the fastening of her silver cloak, Mira walked in the direction of the voices. “Are you cold?” she called out, peering at the tear-blurred shapes of the girl and her grandmother.
“My grandmother is cold, Miss,” replied the girl. “It is nearly winter, Miss.”
“Please take my cloak,” said Mira. “Though the cloth is thin, it is warm against the coldest wind.” She removed her cloak and held it out.
The old woman wrapped the cloak around herself. “My, how warm this is!” she exclaimed. “As though the summer’s sun has been woven into the very cloth! Thank you, young lady. You are very kind.” The old woman was almost as blind as Mira, and did not see her tears. Her granddaughter, however, stared in amazement.
“Miss, why do you cry tears of pearls?” she asked.
Before Mira could answer, the magic of the cloak wore off. Her legs transformed back into a tail and she fell onto the sand with a thump. Without legs, she could no longer walk across the sand and reach the sea.
“She’s a Mermaid, grandmother!” exclaimed the girl.
“My father always told me to beware of Mermaids,” said the grandmother. “But this lady showed us kindness. She cannot be a Mermaid.”
“Oh, but I am!” Mira cried. “I have tried to return to the sea, but now I am stuck here.” Her eyes pained her all the more as even larger pearls dropped from them.
“Then we shall help you,” said the grandmother. Together, the grandmother and granddaughter lifted Mira up and struggled down the beach with her, determined to help despite their lack of strength.
“I never knew Mermaids cried tears of pearls,” said the granddaughter. “No wonder they are so rare.”
“You can keep them all,” Mira murmured. She’d give away all the pearl-tears if only it meant she could stop crying.
The humans helped her into the sea, until the water was deep enough that Mira could swim away. “Thank you,” she said. “Stay safe and warm in the winter.”
With that, Mira swam back to her kingdom, only able to find her way because she had taken the journey so many times.
Her passage through the kingdom to the palace caused a great stir, for everybody recognised her and they saw her strange pearl-tears. By the time she reached the palace, Mira had gathered quite a crowd of curious followers.
She raced inside and found her mother, who had become quite worried at how long Mira had been away.
“Oh mother!” cried Mira. “I met a man who was cruel to me, and showed me that my true self is ugly and selfish, and now all I can do is cry, but my tears are all pearls and each one is painful.”
“Why, Mira!” the queen embraced her daughter. “How dare he be so rude to you. For you are beautiful my darling, and all around are uplifted when they see your smile.”
“Is that true, mother?”
“Of course. Everybody was so happy the day you were born, that they queued right through the kingdom, just for the hope of catching sight of you.” The queen looked at her daughter, whose eyes did indeed look ugly from all the crying, and noticed things were amiss. “You are a beautiful girl,” the queen repeated. “But where are your bracelets?”
“I left the bracelets on a mulberry bush, for they no longer worked for me,” Mira said, letting out a sob. “There was a poor man with his son, and they lamented that they could not buy a present for the man’s wife. So I left the bracelets and they found them, and now the woman can have a beautiful gift.”
“And what of your golden circlet?”
“I dropped it by a clump of bamboo, for it no longer worked,” Mira said, remembering the sisters. “It was found by two sisters, who found my tears beside it, and were overjoyed that they could sell the circlet and repair their roof, and use the pearls on their lady’s new dress.”
“Pearls on a lady’s dress?” asked the queen. “But they are common.”
“In the Human-land, they are rare!” Mira replied, eyes widening and more tears popping out. “I gave some to a starving young homeless boy, along with the cucumber, which only tasted like cucumber to me, but tasted good to him and his homeless friends.”
“Well, you have plenty of food here,” said the queen, thinking the cucumber hadn’t been the most useful of gifts anyway, for Mira had never wanted for food.
“Yes,” agreed Mira. “After that, the boy told me the way back to the sea, and on the beach I found a girl and her grandmother, who was very cold. I gave her my cloak, before the magic wore out, so that she can be warm and not get sick, and they remarked on the pearls so I told them to keep them. I hope they can make good use of them.”
“You have given away many good gifts today,” said the queen after hearing Mira’s story. “Many valuable, unique gifts. But you are home now, and you shall have new bracelets and a new circlet, a new cloak and any food you want.”
“Thank you, mother,” said Mira. “But what I want most is to stop crying pearl-tears, for they hurt me so terribly.”
“Then it will be so.”

The queen summoned the most learned scholars and doctors in all the sea, but none could stop Mira from crying. She called in jokers and jugglers and jesters, but though Mira laughed at their antics, the tears did not cease to roll down her cheeks.
Mira had been crying for days now, and it made her quite ill, for she was unable to eat. She lay in her bed, tears collecting on her pillow until her maid swept them away.
The palace was filling with pearls: every nook and cranny, every pot and pan, was filled to overflowing with pearls of black and white and grey and silver. The queen felt helpless. Only one man had the power to stop Mira’s tears, and that was the Glashtyn.
“Oh, if only the Glashtyn could be found!” she exclaimed to her butler. “I would beg him to take away the curse!”
“I am here, Madam.” The Glashtyn stepped from the shadows, no different to how he’d looked many tides ago when he first set eyes upon Mira.
“Dear Master Glashtyn!” The queen knelt before him. “Please, release Mira from the curse. Forgive me for my ungracious behaviour after her birth, for your gift to her was as valid as that of any and your kindness should not have been ignored.”
The Glashtyn eyed her thoughtfully. “Take me to the princess,” he said.

The queen herself led the Glashtyn to Mira’s chamber. More pearls had gathered there, so the whole floor was carpeted in them. The Glashtyn and the queen swam to the princess’ bedside.
“Hello Mira,” said the Glashtyn. “Do you want to stop crying?”
“Oh, yes! So much!” sobbed Mira.
“If you want to stop crying, you must give up all your toys, all your fripperies and finery,” said the Glashtyn.
“Anything!” Mira wailed. “Those things mean nothing now I cannot see them! Others could put them to better use!”
“Do you promise to give them up?”
“I promise!”
“Hold out your hand.”
Mira did as she was told, and the Glashtyn placed a small, grubby pearl in her palm. The princess blinked and her tears stopped. She looked at the pearl and smiled. “It’s very pretty,” she said. She looked around at all the tears she had cried. “They’re all very pretty, aren’t they?”
“That’s right,” said the Glashtyn. “But that one is for you to keep.”
“Thank you,” smiled the princess. “Look, mother, isn’t it lovely?”
The queen struggled to see the loveliness in such a common thing, but nodded nonetheless. “Very nice,” she said.
Mira put the pearl in her pocket. “Well,” she said. “I have cried so many pearls! If only I still had my cloak, and my bracelets, I could go to the Human-land and give them to the poor father and son, and the sisters with the lovely voices, and the starving boy and his friends, and the grandmother and granddaughter, who will surely need warmer clothes for winter.” Mira stood from her bed and looked at her toys, her many items of jewellery and her expensive trinkets. They were meaningless to her now—nothing but belongings that served no real purpose. “But I suppose instead, I can give my things away here. There are many people within the kingdom who need these things far more than I.”
“I will take those things and give them to the people of your kingdom,” said the Glashtyn. “And you must go upon the land, sweet princess. Look upon your reflection once again and see that your true self has become beautiful. Give your pearls to those less fortunate, so that their lives might become better.”
“But I cannot go to the land…” said Mira sadly. “I cannot help those people.”
“It is certain that you can,” said the Glashtyn. “For the pearl I gave you allows you to turn into any form you wish. It is a magic I will teach to you. That was my gift to you upon your birth.”
“Oh thank you, Master Glashtyn!” exclaimed Mira. She hugged the Glashtyn tightly, heart joyful.
The queen was pleased. “Thank you, Master Glashtyn,” she said. “I was foolish to cast aside your generous gift so early. I will never be so proud and pompous again.”
“Ah,” said the Glashtyn. “But in this gift, madam I also brought a valuable gift to you: a lesson well learned.”

Have you ever looked down upon a gift received, and thought it not good enough? Let's hope not, else a Glashytn decides to come along and teach you a lesson!
I had fun with this one; originally it was going to be pretty short but the story expanded beyond my original plan and it ran away with me! I think this version is better than my original idea.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this! I could happily read a book full of stories like this. :)