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Friday, May 10, 2013
The Little Jewel
I am the last of my people. My parents had hoped to have another child to be my companion and mate so that together we might save our people. People make desperate decisions in desperate times, and my parents were facing the extinction of our race.
Despite their best intentions, their plan didn't work out because they were very old when they had me. Too old... My mother died as I was born, and my father lived just long enough for me to learn how to take care of myself.
For years, I did just that; stayed home and took care of myself. Then, it occurred to me that it was stupid to wait for someone to come and find me. If I wanted to find someone like me, I'd need to go out and look! With determination, I packed up and left my home, praying that I would find someone close enough that I could come back and visit here someday.
For years, I searched the world and found no one. Nothing except the places where my people once lived. Nothing but graves and long dead bodies that needed burying...
Discouraged, I decided to return home.
“Please!” The elderly woman begged. “I know I am too old, but I desperately long for a child to care for. Please help me!”
“What do you want me to do? I am merely a witch not a God! But still... Perhaps...”
The witch sighed and rummaged through her belongings. Finally, she located an egg-shaped jewel the size of her palm. There was a thick cloudy streak inside it that completely obscured anything that might be hidden within. She held out her empty hand in a silent gesture for the Elderly woman's hand.
The elderly woman did not hesitate a second before holding out her hand. The witch inspected it briefly, and then placed the jewel in her hand. She stared at the old woman intensely in silence for a few moments to convey just how serious she was.
“It is said that – once upon a time ago – a young woman was fated to marry a man she did not love. Unable to accept her fate, she refused and would not change her mind. In return, her would-be husband cursed her with an extremely diminutive size, promising to return her to normal if she agreed to marry him. He held her captive for months, but when she still refused, he decided to imprison her in this jewel for all eternity.” The witch paused to take a breath before continuing.
“Whether that is true or not, it is true that there is a powerful spell on this jewel. I have tried to break the spell for nearly two decades just so I could see if it is indeed true, however... I do not love her. I'm certain the key to breaking the spell is to truly love the tiny girl inside. That should free her.” The witch smiled, finally releasing the Elderly woman's hand that now held the jewel.
“You should give it a try. If the story is true, and if you can manage to break the spell... She may be the answer to your prayers,” the witch finished with a hopeful sigh.
The elderly woman nodded happily, thanked the witch, and then brought the jewel home with her.
Every day for six months, the woman cherished the jewel, carrying it in a pocket next to her heart always. She talked to it and made clothes that she hoped would fit the tiny girl inside. The cloudiness inside gradually faded until she could clearly see the prisoner inside.
Finally, under the full moon of the seventh month, the jewel cracked in half leaving the tiny girl laying there as if merely sleeping.
“Please wake up!” The woman prayed. “Please!”
The tiny young woman began to groan and then stretched.
“Thank the Gods!” The elderly woman praised wholeheartedly.
The tiny one turned her head to find who had spoken. She found the woman who towered over her and frowned.
“I don't remember you... Do I know you?”
The old woman smiled, finding it funny that she didn't seem to be concerned over their difference in size. “Well, not yet, but I have prayed for a child for so long and here you are!”
The young woman sat up and looked around. “I don't remember anything... I feel like I was asleep so long that I have forgotten everything... even my name! Do you know my name?”
“No, but I have an idea. Since you were asleep inside a jewel, why don't I call you Jewel?”
“Jewel...? I like it!”
The old woman made happy little noises and immediately poured hot water into a deep clay dish from a tea kettle. Then, she began to temper the it with cold water until it was perfect.
“There's nothing like a relaxing bath to wake you up after centuries of sleep! After you're done, you can try on all the clothes I've made you to see if they fit. I can easily adjust anything that doesn't.”
“A bath sounds wonderful!” The two-inch tall girl – now named Jewel – agreed. She climbed into the makeshift tub, closed her eyes, and sighed in contentment.
A moment later, she opened her eyes and looked at the old woman. “You know, I think I do remember you. Your voice anyway. You talked to me as I slept, didn't you?”
“I did!” The old woman stated with a grin.
“What shall I call you?” Jewel asked.
“Would it be too much to ask for you to call me mother?”
“Not at all! Having a mother like you would make me happy.”
Jewel tried her best to help her mother around the house – keeping it clean and doing chores – but found that it was very hard to do anything useful. She was only two-inches tall in a house designed for people five feet or taller! Not even the ladders and tools made specifically for Jewel made a difference.
Her mother didn't mind though. “I didn't pray for a maid!” She laughed. “I prayed for a companion to keep me from being lonely. A daughter to cherish and love!”
“I know,” Jewel replied with a sigh.
Jewel never really got her memory back, but occasionally she'd blurt out things from her past like: “Curse that man for making me this short!” Deep down, Jewel knew there was no one else in the whole world as small as she was.
During that winter, Jewel's mother got sick, and though she got better again, it was clear to Jewel that she needed to learn how to take care of herself before her mother died.
“Oh don't worry about that, love!” Her mother assured her. “I've still got a few good years left in me,”
“Yes... but then what? If I can't take care of myself by then, who will?” Jewel asked with a frown of concern.
Jewel's mother shuddered at the unpleasant thought. “If that happens, go to the witch. I'm sure she'll care for you.”
“Yes mother,” Jewel replied dutifully, secretly vowing to always take care of herself, no matter what!
Go To Chapter 2
Go To Chapter 2