The Most Beautiful Thing

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I can picture her face when he took the stone from her and skipped it. Very melancholy, and sort of bright but delicately shadowed, like a crumpled up black and white photograph. I guess it shows that only children really understand children. Her father was probably a kind-hearted man, and he was probably just teasing her and took the stone to be funny, even though he had said that he would do no such thing. But to Hanna, it was more than just a rock. It was the most beautiful, brightest,gleaming white stone she had ever seen. Someone spectacular had filled a foamy glass of milk all the way up to the brim, flown it by swan to the North Pole, frozen it in an igloo for a hundred years, and then lovingly coated it with a mixture of marshmallows and clouds. These kinds of things are not thrown in to the ocean, they are set in to the crowns of queens or they are hidden for thousands of years in gilt boxes and safeguarded by fairies. Not, I repeat, not, thrown in to the ocean. So it was perfectly logical for Hanna to look at her father with an expression of complete heartbreak. When you see the most beautiful thing in the world, everything else that used to be pretty is not quite as much so somehow, and when you lose that beautiful thing, it feels like nothing else could ever be beautiful again. But do not worry, Hanna, I am sure that the mermaids who live on the bottom of the ocean, their hair woven with pearls, will take very good care of your stone.





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