A mirror always hung on the wall. One decked in a golden frame, engravings carved enticingly around its edge. They seemed to follow no pattern, no picture, no word. But that did not make it beautiful. It was the first thing noticed when someone entered the house, a compliment on their courtesy barely out before another one slipped through their lips.

But it was one girl, who envied the mirror the most. It was this girl, who slept in the small room upstairs, and would pass it on her mornings as her hand twined round the knob exit the house, who loved it the most. She would stop by it, consult it's facade, barely glance at herself. Her fingers traced the engravings, feeling the little bumps on the smooth surface. Each little thing was a new experience to her; here, a flying dinosaur, there, a white rose. She loved these little things, each one holding a new story.

For hours she would sit and stare at the mirror, and as hours grew, so did she.

She got more to looking in it, eyes darting between the frame and herself. Each little thing was a new world now, one where she could enter. This one, a castle, and she would look at herself, and she the princess. She would be adorned in a beautiful dress, a stunning crown, and would twirl to her crowd before turning back to the mirror.

For hours she would stand, and gaze at the mirror, and as hours grew, so did she.

She began to see more of herself, the frame still there, but not more than decoration. Occasionally her hand would trail along its surface, but oftener her eyes would scrunch to scrutinise her hair. But every time she looked in, she longed to see the beauty that the mirror possessed. Its own world, a looking glass looking in, framed in a beauty unsurpassable by anything. That is why she envied the mirror. Because it gained beauty, without trying.

For hours she would glance, and envy the mirror, and as hours grew, so did she.

She was no longer a little girl, who slept in the small room upstairs. She no longer hung between the railings as acknowledgements were made. Now she accepted the courtesy's with her own voice. "Oh what a gorgeous mirror." Came once from a friend. She just smiled, and as always; "It is something special." She rarely looked at the mirror now, only in passing, would she allow the envy to relive.

For hours she would accept compliments of the mirror, and as hours grew, so did she.

She now glanced at the mirror when directed to by need. Her hair could remain straggly, if only the envy did not strike. And so the mirror hung useless on the wall, until the need came to remove it. The house was in boxes, the final one open, waiting for the glass of gold. Her hands held the gilded frame, and carefully lifted it from its hold. And underneath… years of dust had gathered, a thick layer of grime covering the wall. Her finger touched it, but pulled away as they felt the dirt gather under her nails. It was not beautiful. And she saw the mirror in her hands, the face staring back, the face that was beautiful. The mirror had never held a beauty of its own; its smooth facade, golden frame, all, only because of the one that looked into it. Its own world, let to live by the one that looked in. Her fingers traced the engravings, seeing the new experiences to her. A castle met her eye, as a princess looked in. Her hand trailed along its surface, as her eyes scrutinised her face. The face that the mirror dared not contort.

For hours she would look, and see beyond the golden frame, the engravings carved enticingly around its edge. And as hours grew, so did she. But she didn't mind, for no longer envied the mirror, for she knew the mirror envied her.