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<span> In a magic land not too far away, the morning sun rose in the East topping the towering mountains and sending liquid gold rays to lift the mist from the green valley below. </span> <span> A glistening aqua stream flowed through the valley. </span> <span> Beside its rippling waters, a strange and beautiful flower grew. </span> <span> The sunbeams reached through the mist, touching the flower. </span> <span> Its petals slowly opened, and a young unicorn jumped from the shadowed depth. </span></p> <p> <center> <img id="image_01" src="image_s_01.jpg" onfocus="this.src='image_f_01.jpg';" onblur="this.src='image_s_01.jpg';" alt="Furello flys from a huge beautiful flower into the magic valley." tabIndex = 0> </center> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Where am I? he wondered, looking about. </span> <span>  How did I get here? </span> <span> Try as he might, the puzzled unicorn could not remember anything; not who he was, nor where he was from. </span> <span>  Maybe I ll remember later, the unicorn cheerfully decided. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> And off he romped to explore this newly-found world. </span> <span> He raced through the trees, their shadows blurring as he swiftly galloped by. </span> <span> He dived into the stream, splashing happily in the cool water. </span> <span>Then he soared into the sky, his body changing colors as he flew. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Finally, the young unicorn grew tired and came to rest on top of a lofty mountain. </span> <span>  It s so beautiful! he said aloud as he looked down into the colorful valley. </span> <span> Then he turned in the opposite direction to view the other side of the mountain. </span> <span>All that stretched before him appeared to be the barren, empty sand of a desert. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  I don t think I would like to go there. </span> <span> Nothing to see, nothing to do. </span> <span> Suddenly a tiny fleck moving across the flat sand caught his eye. </span> <span> It was the first movement he had seen other than his own shadow. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Curious, the unicorn said,  I must see what that is, and he flew off in the direction of the speck. </span> <span> As the unicorn came closer, the small speck grew into a very old person who shuffled along, head down and shoulders hunched over as though they carried the weight of the world. </span> <span> A grizzled beard sprouted from his chin. </span> <span> Tools and instruments dangled from his belt. </span> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Landing directly in front of him, the unicorn stared up into the man s weather-beaten face. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Hello! The unicorn cheerfully greeted him. </span> <span> The elderly man kept walking in his slow, even pace, without so much as a glance at what was in his path. </span> <span> The unicorn stepped backwards and tried again. </span> <span>  Hello! </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The man still did not answer. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Louder, the unicorn asked him anxiously,  Won t you talk to me? </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Finally, the old man stopped and looked at the unicorn. </span> <span> His pale purple eyes were filled with great sadness. </span> <span>  What did you say, Sonny? he croaked in a rasping voice. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Won t you talk to me? the unicorn asked again. </span> <span>  I m sorry, I have a hard time hearing these days, and can t seem to get my thoughts together either. </span> <span> The man paused for a moment, then mumbled,  Ah, well...what does it matter? </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  I don t understand, returned the perplexed unicorn. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  No ... no, and how could you understand? </span> <span> Yes, indeed, it s a long story, a very long story, the elderly man said. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Won t you please tell me? the unicorn begged. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Well-l-l-l, I suppose. </span> <span> He paused to look out across the sand. </span> <span>  It all started a long time ago. </span> <span> He paused again. </span> <span>  I don t even know how long ago. </span> <span> I have forgotten that, too. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Can t you try to remember? prodded the unicorn, becoming increasingly curious. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Gold, breathed the man. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Gold? </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  Yes, gold! </span> <span> You see, my boy, he moved closer to the unicorn,  I m a prospector, and I ve been looking for gold all my life. </span> <span> Then I found it. </span> <span> Indeed, I did. </span> <span> I found it! </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The confused unicorn just stared at him, not knowing what to say. </span> <span> The prospector continued,  I found a mountain with a cave -- a big cave -- a very big cave, filled with gold. </span> <span> There was gold on the ceiling, gold on the floors, gold on the walls. </span> <span> Everywhere, gold. </span> <span> Gold! </span> <span> But, ah, well, what s the use? </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  You mean, now it s gone? the unicorn asked. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  No, no, no! </span> <span> The gold is there. </span> <span> It s there all right, but I m not happy. </span> <span> I always thought gold was all I ever wanted. </span> <span> His face drooped like a weeping willow vine. </span> <span>  But it s not what I really want. </span> <span> I don t know why, but I m not happy. </span> <span> I keep thinking there must be something more, something more important than gold. </span> <span> I know it. </span> <span> I can feel it. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> He slapped his hand against his chest. </span> <span> Then he spoke softly. </span> <span>  You are young, fresh and eager. </span> <span> Why don t you find out what is more important in this world than gold? </span> <span> That would be the most important thing in the world. </span> <span> Then I will give you all the gold. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  I will, the unicorn promised. </span> <span> Somehow, for some reason that he himself did not yet understand, he wanted very much to help the man. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  One more thing, the prospector rasped. </span> <span>  Take this. </span> <span> He tied a shiny compass around the unicorn s neck. </span> <span>  If you are ever in trouble or afraid, hold this and say: </span> </p> <p> <i> <span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Earth and Sea, Hear My Plea! </span> <br> <span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Magic Compass, Work for Me! </span> </i> </p> <p> <center> <img id="image_02" src="image_s_02.jpg" onfocus="this.src='image_f_02.jpg';" onblur="this.src='image_s_02.jpg';" alt="The prospector gives Furello a magical compass." tabIndex = 0> </center> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Then the searcher turned, bowed his head and continued on in a shuffling pace. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> The young unicorn watched the elderly man s stooped figure fade into the midnight blue dusk of the darkening evening. </span> <span>  I promise to find the answer you are seeking, vowed the unicorn, silently, to himself. </span> <span> He quickly spun around to begin an ascent up the mountain s slope. </span> <span> His hoofbeats made little muffled sounds as he slowly trotted upward into the protection of tall, whispering, silvery fir trees. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span>  I think this would make a good place to sleep, he decided, after examining an inviting velvety green pile of long fir needles resting against closed flowers that were already asleep for the night. </span> </p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; <span> Drowsiness overcame him quickly as he nestled deeply into the soft, comfortable warmth the trees had shared. </span> </p> <br> <br> <br> <a href="chapter_2.html">Click here to go to Chapter 2.</a> <br><br><br> <!-- #EndEditable --></td> </tr> </table> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top" bgcolor="#000000"> <table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td><a href="http://www.host-central.net"><img src="../images/template_design_r6_c1.jpg" width="773" height="22" border="0"></a></td> </tr> </table> </td> </tr> </table> </body> <!-- InstanceEnd --></html>