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"...Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."
For The Strength of Youth

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Most Recent Stories
Little Miss Liberty
    Steven O'Dell
The Christmas Dog
    Steven O'Dell
Barnaby and the Zilligong
    Steven O'Dell
    Steven O'Dell
The Greatest Christmas Gift Ever
    Steven O'Dell

Most Recent Chapters
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 58 -- On Wings of Angels
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 61 The Music Within
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 60 -- Lamb and Lyon
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 59 I Hate Christmas
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by Steven ODell on 7 May 2013 - 12:53pm. | | | | | | | |

Little Miss Liberty
(C) Steven G. O'Dell 2010

Little Miss Liberty sat on her tuffet, with not in the world a care. Along came a spider and sat down beside her; she thought it no reason for scare.

"I see," said the spider, "that you have no silk to adorn yourself and look grand. If you wish, I could loan you some of my own. I suggest that we start with one strand."

Miss Liberty saw how it shone in the sun, how it glistened and glimmered so bright. She thought, "There's no harm, as he says it's a loan, and I'm not sure that now I look right."

So, accepting his offer, she willingly wound the strand about herself. Indeed it glistened and glimmered and shone, but she thought that a few more might help.

And putting aside all her conscience and pride, she asked if he'd spare her some more. The spider exclaimed, "It would be such a shame to hoard what I have in store."

And being a kind and giving soul, he gladly did bestow, one shining silk thread after another-- row after brilliant row.

How grand she looked, how glorious, how marvelous indeed; but then she noticed her arms were bound and she could not move her feet.

"Just one thing more," the spider said, "to add the crowning glory." Then tightly he wrapped her face and her head and ended her life's story.

Perhaps you see a moral here, that you could learn from, too. A man from the bank or the government may one day approach you.

An offer may be made to help; a loan, a gift or grant. Your liberties required in turn, but you should say, "I can't.

"The cost for what you give is high; your gift is one I fear. I will not sell to anyone--my freedom is too dear."

Believe life's struggle keeps us free--take not the easy road. Resist dependence on another, make freedom your abode.

Submitted by Steven ODell on 16 June 2012 - 5:56pm. | | | | | |

Barnaby and the Zilligong
(C) 2012 Steven G. O'Dell

Barnaby Brundage set out one Fall,
sailing his Yim in a raging squall.
He had no fear, for he needed to know
the answer to questions that bothered him so.
He'd tried all he could and didn't succeed,
but wouldn't give up; he'd find it indeed.

When all in his town had thought and were wrong,
they said, "No one knows but the Zilligong."
For the Zilligong had brains that made him real smart,
but far more than that, the Zilligong had heart.
And if answers were needed, then everyone knew
the Zilligong had them, they knew that was true.

As no one in town could answer his query,
young Barnaby left in somewhat a hurry.
He packed only things that would get him to where
the answers must lie, to hear if he dare,
for sometimes the truth will hurt, as he knew,
but nothing but truth for Barnaby would do.

The question he had that weighed on him heavy
was why there's no peace, when all seemed so ready.
They all said they wanted to be happy with neighbors,
but it seemed now and then they resorted to sabers.
And no one had peace while such ruckus ensued,
but no one had answers on just what to do.

The Zilligong had, the story was told,
once lived among them, through heat and through cold.
And everyone sought him for answers to questions
that they could not answer, to learn all the lessons
that made life more happy when folks live together,
that made them smile in all kinds of weather.

At some point in the past, and no one knew why,
the Zilligong packed bags, then waved them goodbye.
He said not a word as he went on his way,
and no one knew how long or where he would stay.
But one thing was sure, they all worried now,
when questions were quested, who would answer and how?

So Barnaby Brundage, alone and determined,
set out on his mission, through whales or through vermin.
His Yim sometimes rose and his Yim sometimes fell
on waves of the sea that had fishy smell.
The fishes jumped and the fishes splashed
alongside the Yim they dithered and dashed.

And sometime about the third day, he guessed,
Barnaby's Yim with a bump came to rest
and Barnaby woke to the sound of waves,
both crashing and bashing, but knew he was safe.
And looking up high to the mountain ahead,
he thought on the climb with some sense of dread.

But Barnaby knew, at the top of that peak
lay the answers that he had come so far to seek.
The Zilligong lived there, sure as could be
and the Zilligong, after all, was whom he must see.
With a huff and a puff, the boy pushed forth
and climbed where he could, for all he was worth.

His climbing was long and his climbing was hard,
but Barnaby knew he must push on, though tired.
More puffing and huffing and wheezing and more.
He had no idea what ahead lay in store.
But he knew if he stopped then he never would know
the answer he'd traveled so far to take home.

When Barnaby thought he could just go no further,
he gathered his wits, renewed all his fervor,
and taking a breath, gathered courage to climb
the last several feet to get there in time.
The sun was just rising, he'd climbed all the night,
and Barnaby Brundage was near out of fight.

And as the boy fell in a heap at the top,
stopping 'cause this was where he must stop,
gasping and groaning from the strain of the climb
he'd made getting here, with no thought in mind
but asking for truth he knew must be near;
he'd conquered his worries, his shyness and fear.

And as he lay there, too weak yet to move,
he felt a soft touch on his shoulder, in truth.
He lifted his gaze to behold such a face
as never he'd seen in all his young days.
A word hit his ear that calmed his concern--
"Welcome, my boy! Some answers you've earned."

Barnaby knew that this must be
the Zilligong that he'd come to see.
The Zilligong gave him some water, some bread,
then patted the young boy on top of his head.
"Just rest here a moment, you'll need it indeed,
and later we'll talk of the answers you seek."

"Yes, I do need to rest here awhile."
"Then please do," the Zilligong said with a smile.
So Barnaby sat and he drank and he ate
just as much as he could from his overstuffed plate
and when he had eaten and drunk to his fill,
he lay back and slept as exhausted boys will.

When Barnaby woke he heard music so sweet
that his ears wiggled happily as he tapped his feet.
The Zilligong played on a Tweedler and Frump,
squeezing on one while the other he pumped.
It made the boy sing at the top of his lungs
and dancing and twirling, he jumped and he spun.

When at last all the music had faded away,
Barnaby found himself having to say,
"I've never heard music that sounded so nice.
It made my heart leap twice as high as the sky.
Did you play such music when living in town
or learn it up here, not when you were down?"

"I did it down there, but the folks wouldn't dance.
I did it each day and I gave them the chance,
but they didn't hear me on Tweedler and Frump.
They went on their way, looking down in the dump.
Watching their sadness just made me sad, too,
so moving up here was the wise thing to do."

Barnaby looked at the ground as a tear
escaped from his eye and it fell very near.
Hitting the ground and soaking in fast,
he knew in an instant that sadness can't last,
for where it had fallen, so teary and wet,
up sprang a Borple plant, radiant and red.

Surprise covered Barnaby, from head to toe,
"A tear hits the gound and Borple plants grow?"
"Oh, yes," said the Zilligong, dancing for glee,
"It means that you're heart's like the one that's in me.
It means you have wisdom, your answers are sure,
for deep in your heart lies just what will cure."

"But I'm just a boy, so how could I know
the answers they need and which way to go?"
The Zilligong gently touched Barnaby's cheek.
"The fact that you ask shows wisdom, you see.
The others don't ask, they just carry on,
ignoring the questions 'til wisdom is gone."

Barnaby now scratched his head for a few,
he wrinkled his brow, thinking, 'What shall I do?'
Then something inside him clicked nearly out loud
and Barnaby smile, then laughed and was proud.
"Because I just ask, it leads me to learn,
'cause I never let opportunity burn!"

"That's right!" said the Zilligong, proud as can be.
"Now you have wisdom, now you can see.
The fact that you ask will cause you to find
the answers you seek, expanding your mind.
The others don't ask, so how can they know
when they won't go looking--they won't; oh, no-no!"

And with that the Zilligong stood up so tall
on his toes so high the boy thought he might fall.
He reached for the sky and he smiled at the sun
in a way that told the boy it was just fun.
And dancing in circles, then jumping in glee,
the Zilligong said, "Now you can be me."

"What?!" cried the boy, "How can that be?
I can't be you and you can't be me."
The Zilligong lifted the boy in a hug,
he turned 'round in circles, then reached for a jug.
"Let's drink now some Gurka juice. You'll love it, I'm sure.
It's great with the Borple fruit and this juice is pure."

And Barnaby said, as he turned up his snout,
"Won't you please tell me what this is about?"
The Zilligong looked down with love in his eyes,
a look that was deep and he couldn't disguise.
"Zilligong isn't a name, don't you see?
It is a title; that's how you'll be me."

"I'll be the Zilligong? That's what you mean?"
A nod and pat, "My boy, now you've seen.
I've been here so long and no one has come
to ask me for answers. They want to stay dumb.
And even a Zilligong needs now and then
a little vacation to make some new friends."

Now Barnaby grinned as he thought of the honor.
It wasn't so much as he'd thought--it's not power.
It's loving and learning throughout your whole life,
and sharing with others, with husbands and wives,
with children who ask all the questions they can,
so they can grow up into women and men.

"I'm proud to accept your humble request.
I promise you this, that I'll do my best.
I'll even learn to play Tweedler and Frump,
to keep other folks from feeling down in the dump."
The Zilligong stood and unzipped his disguise
and revealed to the boy a surprise to his eyes.

"I'm not what I seem, young Barnaby boy.
I've been here so long that I almost lost joy.
As you see I'm a man, which is what you will be.
I was once you and now you'll be me.
I'll tell you my name, write it down and don't lose.
The Zilligong really is ol' Doctor Seuss."

And Barnaby said, "Well, I've heard of you!
You're kind and you're funny, you're wonderful, too.
Your stories were read to me while I was small
and now that I'm older, I love them all."
The Zilligong smiled for at last he was sure
that his legacy was safe and his tales would endure.

And there is the story, although it's quite long,
how Barnaby Brundage learned a new song,
and got a new name and made a new friend
and started a mission he knew wouldn't end,
for if there were even one girl or one boy
who wanted to learn, then there'd always be joy.

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Submitted by Steven ODell on 14 March 2009 - 2:28am. | | | | | |

In The Garden
Steven G. O’Dell © 2009

The mild sobbing was barely audible in the wooded, off-the-path setting, and masked only by the singing of birds, it seemed out of place. The arboretum and decorative garden should have been a hot spot of the city, due to its beauty and tranquil atmosphere, but the Gardens were all but ignored in a city where so many other forms of diversion and entertainment were available. Perhaps that was why Cynthia Rheames had come to be found there. The solitude was preferable to the unwanted notice of friends and family she knew she would find elsewhere. Only here could she be alone to wrestle with her considerable burdens.

The solitude was not to last, however. A slight rustling of the vegetation tipped Cynthia to the fact that she might no longer be alone. Quickly rubbing the tears from her eyes, she turned to survey her surroundings. A black Labrador retriever was slowly and methodically sniffing the ground on its way toward her. It was all but impossible to wonder what its mission might be. And coming behind the dog was a tall and well-proportioned man who was apparently searching for the same object, whatever that might be. In a moment Cynthia was discovered by the dog and then the man. Both were exceptionally friendly, so she didn't feel the need to withdraw from her isolated perch on the rock she had chosen within the confines of the wood.

"Oh! Hello. I'm sorry to disturb you. Have you seen a Frisbee come your way?"

That answered for Cynthia the question of the object of the hunt. She knew what the errand was. "No, I'm sorry. Are you sure it came this way?"

"I was relatively certain, but it may have bounced off a tree and gone another direction easily. Timbuk may be disappointed, but it isn't the first time we have lost one and it won't be the last."


"Oh. That takes some explaining. I had thought that if I ever had a second dog to keep the first one company, I would call the second one Timbuktu. I know now how confusing that would have been to the dogs and how foolish I would have appeared to do so."

Cynthia couldn't help but laugh out loud at the thought. For the moment, at least, her depression was gone.

“That’s better,” the man said with a smile.

“I’m sorry, what’s better?” Cynthia was puzzled by the seemingly out of place comment.

“You’re smiling now. I couldn’t help but notice that you were troubled by something when I first approached. It’s good to see you smiling now.”

“Oh, yes. It’s nothing, really.” Cynthia tried to pass it off as being of no consequence, but she was anything but convincing.

“A person seldom comes to tears for nothing. Would you care to have an unbiased listening ear to unload your troubles on?”

“Oh, no; I wouldn’t presume to bother you with such things. Thank you, but no.”

“My apologies. It was never my intent to make you uncomfortable. I sincerely wanted to help, that’s all.” There was a sudden change in his manner as he called the dog to himself and prepared to go.

“No, wait! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you. It’s very kind of you to offer to listen, really. But I wouldn’t want to trouble anyone else with my burdens.”

“I would never have offered if I wasn’t sincere, I assure you.” His manner did assure her of his sincerity.

“Alright. Thank you. Maybe I do need to use someone as a sounding board now and then.”

The stranger found a tree trunk to sit down and lean against, paying immediate and close attention to Cynthia, who then began to pour out her concerns without measure.

“It’s my past. There are just some things I am not too proud of." She hung her head instinctively and stared at the ground. "And I'm not certain how my family will react to what I feel I need to tell them."

"I see. How long have you been carrying this burden?" The man had, in one question, cut right to the heart of the matter. Cynthia looked up in surprise. She had been struggling with the problem itself for many years and then later with the prospect of having to reveal her secret to those who loved her most, for several more. She hadn't counted the cost in that way previously. It had been on her shoulders and weighing her down for far too long. She must remove it, and soon, no matter the repercussions.

"Too long," she said simply.

"It sounds as if it's long past time to lay it down. Your family loves you, I take it."

"More than I ever guessed possible. That's why it will be so hard to hurt them."

"Who is more likely to forgive quickly and completely than those who love you most?"

Cynthia began again to sob softly. What he said was true--she knew it instinctively. Still, somewhere inside was the resistance against disappointing those who cared most about her. The stranger sensed her hesitance.

"Young lady, how quickly would you forgive your family members if they came to you with the same confession?" He waited patiently for an answer. When it didn't come, he continued. "Likely, you never will meet one who is perfect--not in this life. And often, the greatest burden is that we are loathe to forgive ourselves for our weaknesses, so we torment ourselves far longer than the simple act of humble confession and forsaking would hurt. You do understand, don't you, that the sin you keep punishing yourself for was long ago paid and forgiven, in a garden not unlike this one?"

Cynthia lifted her head in surprise.

"In a garden very similar to this one, the Savior took upon himself to the right to own and pay for the sins that would keep all the other sons and daughters of God from returning to their Father's presence. He who was without sin himself, became sin for our sake. If he has forgiven you, can you not forgive yourself?" The question was filled with genuine tenderness and heartfelt compassion that was irresistible.

Cynthia wiped the tears from her eyes and nodded agreement to the unquestionable logic. It was pure truth and plain to see, unless you were so blind or hard-hearted and stubborn that you refused to accept it as such.

"Then I think you know what you need to do next." He rose from his position against the tree trunk and smiled lovingly. "Don't waste any time in rethinking it yourself, alright?"

Cynthia quickly jumped to her feet and without warning hugged the man tightly. "Thank you," she sobbed quietly into his chest. "Thank you for helping me to see things more clearly."

"Isn't that what friends and family are for?"

The words sunk deep into her mind and soul as Cynthia released her sounding board and stood back to study his face. "Yes, I guess it is."

"Then I need to be on my way and you have some healing to see to. The Lord's blessings go with you always, Cynthia." He then called the dog to himself and with a smile, turned to go.

It wasn't until he was gone from sight that Cynthia remembered that she hadn't told him her name. Her mouth hung open for a good long minute before she regained her composure. Again his words came into her mind. 'The Lord's blessings go with you always, Cynthia.' She was fully convinced their meeting was no accident as she looked upward and smiled in complete and utter gratitude.

Before she left to take care of releasing her burden once and for all, she spent a few more moments appreciating the gardens about her and reflecting on the price that was paid two millenia before to ensure her return to good graces with a loving family in eternity. A sense of awe and wonder had now replaced the sobbing and tears that had so recently afflicted her. Everything was going to be just fine—all because of a Garden.

Submitted by Steven ODell on 14 January 2009 - 2:33pm. | | | | |

A Letter to America, In Verse – © Steven G. O'Dell 2008

Goodbye, America; goodbye--'tis bittersweet to see thee die;
yet, it seems, there is no choice. You no longer hear the pleading voice
that cries for justice, sure and true, as once so long ago did you—
when tyrants' hand upon you heavy, did a burdensome weight so levy
and patriots were traitors called, who more than man by God were awed
and loved their land and freedom so, as only God above could know.

And valued was the right to fail, for honest effort was no jail.
We were not spared of consequence and learned how daily to repent.
Yea, truth was cherished most of all—we reveled in its hallowed hall;
Yet, along the path we somewhere strayed and step-by-step we left the grade
That led to peace and happiness and taught the humble soul to bless
A land of opportunity with no promise, but to be free.

We traded for 'entitlements', 'til all our freedom is near spent
and find we still are not secure as when uncertainty endured,
for we gave our feathers to make our nest and now we find we heavily rest
in sorrow that we made ourselves—we shall not fly without God's help.
We must return to our first love—remember Him that sees above.
Oh, follow tenets tried and true; to freedom, America—I pray you do.

For only repentance can remove this blight, replacing darkness with full light.
In the end, the choice is yours; God will not force through any doors.
He only begs that you give heed—the choice was always yours indeed.
Oh, do not say He doesn't care, has forgotten us or isn't there;
The proof is easy as can be--a humble heart and bended knee.
No disposition to do wrong, but only filled with joyous song.

If Justice has a mighty claim, know, too, that Mercy can have the same.
Will you not tire of eating crumbs? Think back on what you have become,
and how you came to be so low; by inch and step you wandered so.
If happiness is to endure, it only springs from souls so pure;
the righteous only know true peace, when hatred, strife and malice cease.
And God's true city will arise to banish all deceit and lies.

Deep down, I think you've always known that mankind reaps what man has sown.
For all things have their opposites; both good and evil do exist.
And so, my friend, I'll pray for you. There's little else that I can do,
'til you desire to make true change and institute a Godly age,
when you care for neighbor, too, as much as you have cared for you.
I only pray you change your fate--before it's lastingly too late.

Submitted by Steven ODell on 5 July 2007 - 4:26am. | | | | | | | |

Relative Size--(C) Steven G. O'Dell Nov. 2005

The warm sunshine felt wonderful on her arms and legs as she ran across the large open yard. The breeze was gentle, but more pronounced as she ran inhaling the fragrant air that wafted from the nearby lilac bushes and rose garden. The grass brushed her toes lightly with each bounding step and all was right with the world in this little girl's life. She felt so alive in this great big world that surrounded her.

With a sudden leap, she rolled to the ground and lay still for a moment, basking in the sunshine that bathed her naked skin and warmed her from head to foot. Catching her breath, she could hear the birds in the trees and in the sky overhead. 'Such a great big world,' she thought. Rubbing her arms back and forth across the blades of grass, as though making a summertime snow angel, the softness of the experience caused her to roll over onto her stomach, where she began to inspect the wonders before her.

Each blade, though seemingly at first glance the same as all its neighbors, was in its own way unique, even if only because the mower had shaved each in a different manner--some smoothly, some more torn, some angled and others straight as could be. She marveled that she had never noticed this before and as she stared closely at one particular blade she noticed the movement of some small creature that caught her eye. It was an ordinary ant, but she was in a state of heightened awareness today that led her to study this insect as she never had before. What a wondrous little creation this was and she marveled over it for several minutes as it went about its business in the grass before her. Until another movement caught her now sensitive eye.

It was incredibly tiny and she actually strained to come closer and focus upon it. What appeared to her fascinated gaze was an almost unbelievably minute creature, red and having all the appearance of a spider in its nature. She was now struck with a sense of wonder that she had indeed never felt. Here was something that she was discovering for the very first time in her young life--as if it were a new world, only now revealed to the eyes of mankind.

The detail she observed in this nearly microscopic creature was stunning. Every needful part was there to allow it to function in its own huge world and each worked to perfection. The young girl suddenly knew two things very clearly. First, large as her own world had seemed but a few short moments ago, there were things that must feel so much tinier than she. And secondly, she knew that she would never see her world in quite the same way ever again.

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Submitted by Steven ODell on 5 July 2007 - 3:12am. | | | | | | | |

Yours For A Wish - (c) Steven G. O'Dell Nov. 2005

The small boy stood eagerly on his porch, watching the deliveryman bring the large crate that he had wished for. Inside, he knew, would be all the wonderful things he had been told of and had come to desire so deeply. He opened the crate excitedly. It was so large. Out spilled all the wonderfully ornate, shiny baubles he expected. His eyes grew wide and he ooh-ed and ah-ed in complete amazement. These were all his and his alone, to do with as he pleased. Now they were all within his reach and his life could begin in earnest.

As he grew, the young man fondled and polished all the shiny accoutrements that he had wanted so early in his life. He noticed how some seemed to have lost their sheen with age. Others appeared to be cracked and nearly broken, but he was a prideful young man and nothing would take these things from him or demean them in any way while he still lived and breathed. They were still his and his alone.

The man grew older still. He was bitter now. None of what he had wished for in his life seemed of any consequence. Old habits die hard, however, and the tarnished baubles were still his and he still clung to them jealously, all the while hating them deeply.

The time came when the old man died and all of his worldly belongings were left behind to be sold cheaply to the next covetous young man who desired to accumulate all the world had to offer him. What the dead man took with him was a simple gravestone that marked his final resting place, soon to be forgotten by all but the groundskeeper.

Another small boy stood wide-eyed on his front porch. His box, too, had arrived. His mother and father handed it gently, almost reverently, to him. They took the time to explain the proper use of all the contents within his wonderful gift box and then bade him open it. With a sense of wonder and awe he carefully began to peel the ribbon from the small container that sat easily within one small hand. He could scarcely conceal his smile, so excited was he to be finally getting what he had been taught to so deeply desire above all else. The lid lifted away, the young man stepped into the full sunlight where he could more easily investigate the contents and to his great surprise, the light that was caught and reflected from the object within was nearly as bright as the sun itself. He shielded his eyes and squinted against the gleam of what appeared to be a beautiful cut diamond. His parents corrected him and explained that it was indeed a rare jewel, but no earthly diamond at all. It was far more valuable than anything so common as a diamond. The boy smiled, hugged his parents and promised to always cherish the gift throughout his life.

The young man had kept his promise and found that as he shared the beauty of his wonderful gift, an amazing thing happened-the shine seemed to get even more brilliant than before and would cast its light to greater and greater distances around him. All who came within the influence of his precious gift were touched and improved in some strange way. What tremendous delight this brought to the young man and all who knew him.

An old man had lived a long and fruitful life. He smiled as he thought back on all that had meant so much to him in this world. It seemed that everything he cherished most could not be bought with money or traded for insignificant worldly goods. What he most treasured were the moments of love and friendship with family and acquaintances. The memories of a lifetime graced the pages of his mind in the last few hours of his mortality, but before he went, he called to his side all of his children and grandchildren and with a shaking hand held aloft the same small box that his mother and father had delivered to him so many years ago. With wide eyes and awe-opened mouths, the family received from his lips the story that his parents had told him in his childhood. When he passed, they were sad to see him go, but knew that to a wonderful and very real extent he remained with them as much as ever. When he passed he took with him no more than the first man had taken. However, far more than the groundskeeper took notice of his passing. His name continued to be spoken within his town and in an ever-broadening circle, for generations thereafter.

The two men came into this life with the same opportunities. Neither had the advantage over the other, except in one thing. What made the difference? The teacher. The first young boy was turned loose without guidance to desire what the world would teach him were things to be prized above all else. He found later in his life that these were but empty and meaningless things that brought no comfort to him or to anyone else that he came in contact with. The second boy, so similar to the first, was taught that what he held was the power to make the world around him a better place, if he would but do so. He was taught that the power he wielded could be used for good or for evil and that it must be used wisely or it would destroy him and all who came into contact with it. He was shown that as he used wisdom, the gift would reach out to enlighten and guide the lives of others, who in turn would enlighten then more lives beyond theirs. So great was the love of this young boy for his first teachers that he carried that gift with reverence all his life, simply to honor their names with each use. And so great was the joy that it brought, he could not help but pass it on to those who had come to love him for his shining example of beauty and benevolence.

You see, we are all placed in this world with the self-same promise-that "nothing shall be withheld from them which they shall imagine to do". We hold within our hands the same gift, though to some it may appear large and to others small. Some trade it for baubles and beads that become mere trash and bring no lasting value to anyone, even their owners. Others learn the priorities of life and become a shining city on a hill, where none can hide the light from all who would draw near and truly see for the first time. You have that power to choose what you value most in life. You also have the power to become a revered teacher in your own right-to anyone you may touch in this life. The choice is yours. What do you wish?

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