The Jeweller

The jeweller carried a diamond in the heel of his boot as he fled the country of his birth

It would be his future he thought

He travelled for many hundreds of miles and found himself in a darkened town

If you give me sanctuary I will give you light

He shouted in a deserted square

An evil pestilence has overwhelmed my country I need a refuge for my remaining years

Nothing happened for an hour until a small girl in a cotton night dress came towards him

Sir my family will give you refuge as we also refugees

In the house of his salvation there were two sisters who looked after the small child who was an orphan

He stayed there for five years and on the marriage of the eldest sister he took the diamond from his heel and cut it into four

He gave the first two stones to the sisters so that their marriages would be without any hardship as his had been many years previously

He gave the third diamond to a priest with the request that the good man keep it in trust until the orphan was of age

He kept the final diamond for himself and occasionally looked into its interior where he could see the ghosts of his past

The jeweller was a craftsman and soon his skills became celebrated

His ability to look into diamonds became well known and the rich soon flocked to his shop and asked him to reveal their histories

He created stories of the fantastic but in truth saw nothing

Many years later when the jeweller was old and facing death he visited the sisters and the orphan for the final time and gave them his remaining wealth

As he returned along the banks of the winter river he took his diamond from its velvet bag and looked into it once more

He saw an ark resting quietly on a snowy peak above the skyline of a pink city

Nothing moved apart from a small boy who was chasing a hoop in a half hidden street

The jeweller waited until the child was out of sight and with his remaining strength threw the diamond into the icy waters where it sank without protest

He watched the vast river for a while then sat on a bare wooden bench where he slowly died as the day declined

His journey had come to a close

It was time to rest