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One night a stranger walked into a village. The stranger needed a place to stay for the night, but the villagers did not invite him into their homes. Finally, at the edge of the village, he came to the house of an old man and an old woman. They welcomed the stranger because they didn't get many visitors. The man was also young and reminded them of their grandson who lived far away.
The young man said that he was only going to stay for a few days, but a few days turn into a few weeks and then into a few months. The stranger and the old couple became good friends. Many nights were spent telling stories. The young man listened respectfully to the stories of the old couple.
One day the old couple went berry picking and when they returned home, the young man was gone. The old couple asked the villagers if they had seen their friend. One villager said she saw him leave in the same direction from where he first came.
The old couple was very sad. They went into the room where the young man slept and searched for a clue to let them know where he had gone. While searching, they found a box, and inside the box was the most beautiful stone they had ever seen. They couldn't keep their eyes off it! There was also a note in the box. In the note, the young man explained that the stone would give them the power to get whatever possession they wanted. The old couple began to cry and hug each other because they had always been poor.
That very day they wished for a new house and got one. All they had
to do was think of what they wanted and it appeared, but they noticed
that there was a problem. Always after making a wish and having the object
appear, the old man would get a terrible stomachache. It didn't take long
for the village people to notice all of the old couple's new stuff.
When they told the villagers the truth, everyone forced the old couple to make their wishes come true.
Soon the old man became so ill that he had to stay in bed. Fearing for the health of her husband, the old lady hid the stone and told the villagers that it was lost. Of course, everyone thought she was lying.
"We cannot believe her. She lied before. She's lying now!" the villagers shouted. They rushed to the old couple's home, forced open their door, and demanded to be given the stone. But the old couple said nothing. So the villagers beat them. Since the old man was already very sick, he nearly died when they beat him.
When the people finally left, the old woman took the stone from its hiding spot. She knew that if they didn't get away from the selfish villagers her husband would die. She thought that if he was going to die he might as well die trying to get away. So, that evening, the old woman made a wish for a horse with a travois, and it appeared. Next the old woman carefully helped her husband to the travois. There she made a bed and covered him with a blanket. Then she got on the horse and guided it quietly down the road.
They traveled through the night, and just as the sun was setting, they came to a pond. The old woman stopped by the pond to give her husband a drink. She was very tired and wanted so badly to rest.
"I must get rid of this stone," she thought. Suddenly she had an idea. She helped her husband stand up, gave him the stone and said, "Throw it in."
"Yes," the old man agreed, and he feebly tossed the stone into the still surface of the water. Ripples spread throughout the whole pond.
The force of the toss caused the old man to lose his balance, and he fell partly into the water. There he lay, too weak to move. As he lay in the cold pond, ripples from the tossed pebble slowly made their way to him, and with the touch of the first ripple, the old man started to regain his strength. Gradually, he became as strong as he had been before.
The old man could see that his wife was tired. So, he went into the woods and made a bed of grass and cedar boughs for her. When he was finished, he gently picked her up and carried her to the soft bed. After gently placing her on the bed, he sat next to her and thought about how much he loved his wife and how much she loved him. Though they had never had many possessions, they had always had the most important thing. They had each other.
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