The Jewel

 In the bodice of a gown, there nestled a jewel more perfect than any other. It was the likes of which the world had never seen. And, indeed, the world had never seen it, for the wearer had found the gem herself and crafted it with care. She had polished and cut it, melted and molded the gold and silver that held it fast, and strung it up on a thin thread of silver that had been purchased from a shop.

    All her life, the wearer wore the jewel hidden.

    And when she died, she requested that she be buried as she was, without alteration to her clothes or her adornment.

    She was almost safe. Almost. Save for the chance observations of a funeral clerk who sought to freshen her up slightly for her burial. Which was when he saw the jewel. From that moment, he wanted it as he had wanted nothing else. 

    It tormented him. Night by night he wrestled with sleep as he thought about the perfect stone that lay atop a rotting corpse. Night by night he wondered who he would harm if he were to take it from the dead woman's neck. And morning by morning he won his victory, for he let it lie.

    He let it lie until his dying breath. And then he let it lie forever.

    Thus did he do his part to save the world, a little.

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