Magical Moonstone Necklace for Dolls

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Cordelia stood at the foot of the tower, staring up in wonder. The building soared hundreds of feet overhead, its smooth silvery surface ornamented by windows shaped like half moons. Above the door, an inscription glowed in the moonlight: "True beauty must be shared."

"Welcome, my lady." A figure emerged from the door at the tower base. Drawing closer, she saw it was a middle-aged man, with contemplative black eyes and black hair going to gray. He was dressed in a rich purple robe, his only ornament a sash decorated with moons.

"My name is Ahmal, and I am keeper of this tower."

"It is very beautiful," Cordelia remarked. "And very curious. Though I've been a visitor here for several weeks, I never noticed this tower until tonight. Yet it rises above all the buildings within blocks."

"The Tower of the Moon is not a place easily found," agreed Ahmal. "At least not until the time is right. But now that you are here, will you step inside? There is no better time to see the tower than by full moonlight."

Later, Cordelia never could say how much time passed once she entered the tower. Wandering from room to room, taking in the glorious carvings, paintings, rugs, and tapestries, she lost herself among the treasures.

Finally they reached the top room of the tower. Ahmal gestured for her to enter. "And here, my lady, is our greatest prize."

The room seemed to be entirely bare-save for a single waist-high column that glowed with an eerie light. Stepping closer, Cordelia saw that a gigantic stone was buried in the column top. "It's a moonstone!" she gasped. "The largest I've ever seen!"

Ahmal nodded. "Yes. The largest in the world." He studied her for a moment, then added. "To every visitor, I have made this offer. Now I make it to you: If you can take the moonstone, it is yours."

Cordelia stared at her guide. "But even if I wanted to, how could I? The moonstone appears sealed into this column. And the column looks as if it's carved from the very floor."

"The how is up to you," Ahmal replied. "But I assure you, the destiny of this moonstone is to be used. Touch it. You will see it is not a gem merely to be admired."

Cordelia stretched out her hand and caressed the stone's smooth surface. Instantly her mind surged with strange images. Foreign voices, unknown landscapes, exotic smells. The rush of sensations nearly overwhelmed her.

Even as that experience faded, a new one swept over Cordelia. Three young faces appeared before her, three lovely, bright, and eager faces. Cordelia saw them setting off on wonderful, utterly impossible adventures, each wearing about her neck.

Cordelia stepped back with a gasp. And as she did, her eyes fell on a niche in the wall, where lay a chisel and hammer.

Ahmal followed her gaze. "So you see all."

Cordelia understood in a moment what was to be done. "How could I?" she protested. "The moonstone is so beautiful!"

"Did you not see something equal as beautiful?"

The image of the three young faces returned to Cordelia. Yet still she hesitated.

"Remember the inscription above the tower's entrance," Ahmal gently prompted. " 'True beauty must be shared.' "

The three faces returned again. Cordelia reached for the chisel and hammer. With one determined blow, she struck.

At once the moonstone shattered into three equal pieces, jumping from their base in the column. And as Cordelia scooped the fragments into her hands, each grew into a perfectly oval moonstone.

"For 500 years, the moonstone has been waiting for someone who believed in her own vision." Ahmal told her. "Believed in sharing it with others and not greedily trying to keep all for herself. Now let me share with you the marvels of your prize"

Later that night, as Cordelia set off for her hotel, she turned once to bid the tower goodbye. But where the gleaming tower once stood, there was now only moonlit sky.

Next day, the hotel clerk would have sworn Lady Cordelia never left her room. Yet a citizen of ancient Babylon might have described a lovely woman strikingly similar to her. A woman who paused at a stall to buy three necklace cords for three remarkable moonstones.

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