The Beautiful Cloak

 Jane spun her spinning wheel, as she did every day, and twirled the wool between her fingers. It was extra work for her for two reasons: the first was that her hands were awfully small still, and the second was that she wasn't quite real.

    Her and her papa had long desired to be real, but their forms were still learning, and so tasks like spinning wool and weaving, or lumbering as her papa did, involved an incredible amount of effort and no little amount of hope. But Jane had a dream. She dreamed that she would weave a beautiful cloak for herself, and that when she had finished it and draped it around her shoulders, she would magically become real. Because she wasn't real yet, it was a task that would take a long time, but she was going to work very hard, and then someday, maybe, her dream might come true.

    One day, an old man came to their home. He knocked three times, and when Jane's papa opened the door, he begged a bit of bread. Jane and her papa didn't have much, because bread was so difficult to knead when one wasn't quite real. But what little they had, Jane's papa was glad to share it.

    After the old man went on his way, Jane noticed that there was something different about her papa. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but he seemed a bit shinier, a bit livelier, and seemed to move with more ease. The old man coming to their cabin was just the beginning of Jane's papa sharing what they had. And each time someone came to ask for something they needed and Jane's papa shared, he seemed to be a little more different every time. But she couldn't say what it was that had changed.

    One day, when Jane was alone in the cabin because her papa was out collecting timber, she finally finished her beautiful cloak. At the very moment when she was about to place it on her shoulders, an old woman knocked on the door three times. When Jane opened the door, the old woman asked for a bit of bread. Jane gave her some with a smile, for that is what her papa had taught her to do. As she did, she noticed that the old woman's shoulders were covered in nothing more than a tattered cloth and that she looked very cold. Jane bit her lip, and looked at her beautiful cloak, and back at the old woman. Then she took her cloak and laid it over the woman's shoulders.

    In an instant, Jane felt different. More solid, more bright. Then she remembered her papa changing as he shared the things he had. And all at once she knew that she was real.

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