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A little six-year-old girl called River Greene sat perched upon her bed, a pouting expression on her face as her slightly-blurry gaze skimmed across the books on her bookshelves. With a dramatic sigh, she fell back and groaned in an oddly sing-song tone, “Bored, bored, bored!”

Just then, her mother, Sheila, poked her head through the door. “Did you say something, baby?”

“I’m bored,” River pouted, hauling herself back into a sitting position and gesturing around her room. “Caleb doesn’t want to play,” she said, referring to her twin brother, “and I’ve already read all of my books. And I don’t feel like playing with my dolls. But I don’t want to go outside, either. Boooored,” she finished, drawing the word out dramatically.

“Oh dear,” her mother said, coming over and sitting down on the bed as well. As she did, her pendent – a sapphire forming a crescent moon, and a star attached to the moon by one of its five points – swung gently in front of her. The little girl pointed at it.

“Mommy, why do you always wear that?”

“Hm? Oh, this?” The woman fingered the pendent for a moment. “It’s a bit of a habit, but it’s also because it’s a family heirloom.”

“A family what?”

"An heirloom. Something passed down from parent to child for years and years and years. Something that’s important to the family. In this case, it’s important to the women of our family, and has been given to the eldest daughter for generations.”

“Oh. Why is it important?”

Her mother smiled. “Well, maybe not important, exactly, but a part of our family history.”

“Oh. Why is it a part of our family history?”

The woman laughed. “Alright, Miss Curiosity, I’ll tell you.” She paused for a moment to gather her thoughts, then began. “Legend has it that, almost five hundred years ago, a young girl, no more than seventeen, was a slave in a third-world country. She worked for a wealthy family as the maidservant to the wife of the rich husband. She lived in the basement with the other servants, though she was considerably better off than them because the wife insisted that she had nice clothes and the basic beauty supplies – she didn’t want an ugly lady-in-waiting.

“It’s said though that the girl was very beautiful, with hair blacker than a raven’s wing and sea-green eyes that always seemed to glow. She had high, sculpted cheekbones and full red lips. Anything she wore looked good on her. She had lots of jewelry too, given to her by the wife of the rich man. Of course, it was the jewelry the wife didn’t want anymore, but they were still beautiful jewels.” There her mother had paused for a breath, and eyed River as if double checking that her daughter was still awake. River sat frozen on the bed, clinging to every word.

“But even with all that she had been given, the girl wasn’t happy. The jewelry was cold and heartless, the clothes pretty but dull, her wages fair but unable to buy what she truly wanted: love. The girl couldn’t remember the last time she had been loved. Then, one day, a handsome young man – a relative of the rich husband, if I remember correctly – came to visit. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and dashingly mysterious.

“He too was seeking a true love, and though many girls and women fawned over him, they were only after his money and not him. He was smart though, and he knew it. So when he saw the girl, dressed glamorously and wearing beautiful jewels, but looking sad and lonely and secretive, he instantly fell in love.

“The girl, though, was cold and stand-offish at first, thinking he was just another good-looking jerk. But gradually she too began to fall for him. They began meeting secretly in the garden at night, knowing that neither the rich husband nor the wealthy wife would approve. They became lovers.

“Soon afterwards, the girl discovered that she was pregnant. She and her lover were overjoyed at the thought of a baby, and the young man planned to ask his relative – the rich husband – to let him take the girl away and marry her, not caring anymore what they thought. Before he could though, one of the other servants of the house, who was jealous of the girl and her well-off position, found out and told the wife, who of course, told her husband.

“The husband was furious, and after saying all kinds of awful things about the girl and his relative, he first went after the young man. Why he didn’t just fire the girl no one knows, but it’s suspected that the wife interceded on her behalf. Apparently though, the girl met up with her lover just in time to warn him to flee, promising that after the danger was over she would join him.

“Not long after the birth of her child, she did join up with him, and the three began a new life. Eventually their descendants moved to the U.S.” She had leaned forwards and tapped her daughter lightly on the nose. “There’s a song that goes with the story, too.

“To the edge of the wood, O Belereth,

To the edge of the forest go now.

Seek the gate that would not yield,

Seek the stellar key now.

Fly from the face of Adár,

Tempt not his wrath.

Vanish from this world if you must,

For there is no one left worthy of trust.

Run now for thy life,

Worry not about me.

Stop not for rest or water,

Adár’s hounds are nearly upon thee.

I will delay his fury till I can no more,

And meet you by the Sun Tree.

Let your red-bellied robing cry twice,

I shall be there by the count of thrice.

Fear not for me my love,

Let my songs comfort you in the cove,

Hear my laugh on the wind.

I shall be in your strong arms soon again.”

River frowned and crinkled her nose. “Why are the names so funny?” she asked. Her mother pursed her lips as she thought.

“I don’t know,” she eventually admitted. “But names 500 years ago will often sound funny to us nowadays, since we don’t use them anymore.” Then a light sparked in her hazel eyes and she reached up, unclipped the necklace, and handed it to her young daughter.

“You don’t have an older sister, so technically, this can be yours now. I’ve had it for many years, but it is time for the next generation to wear it. You can have it.”

River gasped, her brown eyes wide as she gingerly took the necklace.

“Don’t you dare loose it,” her mother warned.

“I won’t!” River promised, her eyes full of the glittering – though probably plastic – gems.

“Do you want me to put in on for you?”

“Yes, yes!”

River’s mother smiled, took the necklace back, and then looped it around her daughter’s neck, clasping it shut with a tiny click.

River tugged her hair out from under the necklace and turned to face her mother. “How does it look, Mommy?” she asked.

Her mother smiled. “It looks very nice on you. And – huh, look at that. I thought it would be a bit too long, but it fits you perfectly.”

River beamed and tilted her head down, examined her shiny new accessory. “It’s so pretty!” she squealed. “I can’t believe it’s mine!”

“Believe it,” her mother said, laughing.

“I’m going to go show Caleb!” River decided, hopping off her bed. “This is way better than that silly basketball he got for Christmas.” And she raced out of the room. Still laughing, her mother trailed out after her.

Neither the mother, nor her daughter, noticed the robin that had perched upon the windowsill the moment the necklace had touch River’s hand.

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