Once upon a time there was a little girl. This little girl loved to draw. Not only did she love to draw, but she drew very well. People would come from miles and miles away to the little farmhouse where she lived with her family just to get a glimpse of her wonderful pictures.
When the little girl was nine years old, her mother and father bought for her a set of the richest paints they could find. The blue was clear and lovely like the afternoon sky, the green was crisp and smooth like the spring grass, the yellow was bright and sharp like the morning sun, and there was also red and orange as beautiful as a sunset.
The little girl took those paints and painted the most magical paintings. As word of these paintings spread, lords and ladies living in the distant capital grew intrigued. Many of them traveled for days to see the paintings, and were awed when they arrived. It wasn’t long before rumors of the child’s paintings reached the ears of the queen. At once the queen sent a messenger to the little girl’s home, requesting that she come and paint pictures at the castle for her. The little girl’s parents delightedly began preparations for the girl’s departure at once.
On the eve of the little girl’s departure she went to her brother, who was their parents’ firstborn and only son. She put her small arms around him and he picked her up and spun her around, the way big brothers are supposed to, then held her close. “What is the matter sister?” he asked, though he already knew the answer.
“I don’t want to leave you and Mamma and Papa. And what if the queen is cruel?”
Her brother kneeled so as to be equal to her height and watched her face. After a moment he smiled and stood again. “Come with me,” he said, offering his hand. “I have something for you.”
The little girl took his hand, allowing him to lead her outside and into the warm summer night. He led her to the back of the small farmhouse and presented to her a beautifully carved cage with flowers etched on the bars. Inside the cage was a small bird. “Take this cage with you when you leave tomorrow,” he said, “If you ever want me to come and fetch you, release the bird inside. She will find me, and then I will come.”
The next morning she departed, clutching the cage to her chest, watching her home disappear.
That's not the end of it, but I haven't finished it yet. This seemed like a good stopping point for now :)
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