Golden

Once upon a time there lived a woman who had a golden touch.
            This was not to say that everything she touched turned to gold—because it didn’t.  Rather, when her forefinger touched a stick, the wood found itself with a golden sheen.  When the back of her hand brushed a blade of grass, it yellowed like fair stalks at the end of summer.  And when her palm rested against the smooth stone of an alabaster statue, it looked as though lit with the light of dawn.
            News of her gift traveled far and wide, greatly exaggerating her ability.  It was said, of course, that what she touched turned to gold.
            Out came the suitors, knocking eagerly at her door.  Down rushed the nobles, with desperate offerings.  Trippingly trekked the entrepreneurs, keen for an easy venture.
            And all were, quite naturally, disappointed.
            Save one.  A tiny orphan boy had heard tales of wonders, and when he peaked through the woman’s windowpanes, her golden touch held his gaze.  For to him, to witness her work warmed him more thoroughly than anything made of gold ever could.
            It was as he watched her turn crimson roses golden as wheat that a prince from a neighboring city came searching for gold, and entered the woman’s cottage only to find the limit of her talent.  His disappointment quickly turned to rage, and he stormed from her door, his sword striking out in venting fury.
            A cry rent through the air.  As the prince looked down, he saw the body of the orphan boy bloodied at his feet.
            A moment later, a golden dash burst passed the prince, and knelt down, cradling the boy’s head.  But at the woman's touch, the small child filled with golden light, and all at once he began to breathe once more.
            It was remorse that kept the prince looking down at the golden boy.  But it was wonder that changed his mind.  And so it was that the prince never again sought gold.

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