A Heart of Stone

Many years ago, in a land whose name has been forgotten in the sands of time, there lived a miner. His hands were rough and his eyes were dull from the lack of light in the mines, but his heart was gentle.

In the village where he lived, there was an enchanting milk maiden. Her hair was as dark as night and her skin was the color of cream. From the first time the miner saw her, he fell in love. For years he tried to show his love but each time was turned away because of the roughness of his face and hands. The miner tried many things to win the milk maidens heart, but none of the gifts he gave her were good enough to swoon her to him.

As the years passed the miner's heart hardened with each rejection. One night after a hard day in the mines, the miner woke to the sound of cheering and laughter in the village. When the miner passed a wheat farmer coming from the village, he asked him "Tell me sir. What is this merriment I hear? Is there a festival day I wasn't informed of?"

"A festival indeed!" the farmer replied. "The Duke has asked for the hand of the fair milk maiden and was graciously answered! So the Duke has called for the feast of the century!"

The miner's heart then and there turned into the hardest of stones at the news of his beloved. He fled to the darkest of mines to be alone and forgotten. Once the miner was inside the mines he closed of the entrance so he could never be disturbed Years passed and the miners story became a legend in the village, and the mine where he fled was said to be haunted by his wailing spirit. Many years passed, until one day a little boy was playing near the mines and fell into an abandoned mine shaft. When he awoke, the boy explored the cave. Then, in the very corner of the room he saw, a skeleton with a stone the shape of a heart in his chest. With the curiosity that comes with all little boys, he picked up the stone and put it in his pouch to show his friends.

When the boy was finally rescued from the mine by a passing sheep herder he was escorted to his home. When he arrived, he ran straight to show the stone heart to his grandmother. She was the old milk maiden, but now her hair was gray and her creamy skin was dull. When her grandson placed the stone heart in her hands it crumbled into pieces. Once again the maiden broke the miner's heart.

The End