by Bruce Goslowsky (aka Boomer)
It wasn't very large, about pebble size, but it was beautiful. Very shiny, smooth and a lovely blue color with a band of white running down the middle. It had been around for millions of years, first as small fist size stone, and then after countless rains and winds it had been worn down to its present shape.
The stone was part of a small hill in a hot country. Nearby was a city with walls around it. Once in a while groups of people came out to use the hill when punishing someone. They were using the hill, again, when a Roman soldier sat down to watch his friends spread a small robe on the ground so they could roll some dice. To smooth it out the soldiers removed all the loose rocks beneath it, tossing them aside. One of the rocks was the blue one. It landed beside the seated soldier, who noticed how bright it was, and picked it up. Looking at it, he decided it would look good in a bronze brooch to give to his lady. Placing it in his small leather belt bag, he went back to watching the game.
The stone was placed into a polished bronze mount by a local metal smith, and was still being carried by the Roman soldier when he went into battle with some rabble in the hills. A well aimed stone from a sling ended his life, and after the battle was over, the winners stripped the dead for whatever was valuable. A young boy found the brooch and took it home. It was there a larger boy tried to take it from him. In the ensuing tussle, the brooch was dropped and the stone fell out. Neither boy wanted it then, and the stone laid in the dust, forgotten.
It wasn't noticed until a armored Crusading Knight stopped to tighten his saddle girth and looked down between his mail-covered legs to see it gleaming in the dust. Picking it up, he rubbed it clean and liking the color, he choose to place it in his saddle bags. Years later, it was still in the bag when the Knight boarded a boat to take him home to a land that wasn't full of sand, fleas, and constant heat.
Upon landing the Knight flung his saddle bags down upon the ground, dropped to his knees and gave Thanks to be home safe, once again. Unseen by him, the rock had rolled out of the bag when it hit the ground, and when he picked the bags up he walked away not knowing he had left it behind.
Again, the rock laid there, as years passed. Then a horse stepped on it. It jammed into the cleft of the hoof and was carried aboard a boat going to a cold misty island. When the boat reached it destination, all the horses were unloaded, and driven off the docks to a large corral to be sold. A man buying horses for a large cattle ranch began to inspect the stock. He noticed one of the horses limping, and since it looked like good one, he checked the reason why. Finding the shiny blue stone was the problem, he removed it. While continuing the inspections, he kept the rock in his hand, liking the slick feel of the stone as he rolled it between his fingers.
Placing the stone in his pocket, he decided it was a lucky stone, and carried it and the horses to his big ranch over-seas. Arriving home, he was greeted by his wife and little boy. The lad, after giving his Dad a big hug, asked if he had brought him anything. Yes, I did, he said. I brought you a lucky stone. I got a great horse because of it, and if it brought me luck, it'll bring you some.
The boy carried it constantly. Even taking it to bed with him. He would take it out and rub it, grin, and put it back into his pocket. It was clutched in his hand the night he almost died from the influenza that swept the country. He kept rubbing it over and over, until his fever broke. It was right before Christmas.
Christmas Eve came, and before the little boy went to sleep, the Mother read him the Christmas story. He listened to the tale about the Shephards, the shining Star, the Inn, and the Manger. And how the Wise Men gave gifts to the baby Jesus. After the lights were turned out, all went to sleep. All, but the little boy. After a while he got up from bed and slipped downstairs. In a minute he was back in his bed and fast asleep.
The next morning, when the Mother went down to start breakfast, she passed the little Manger Scene placed upon the mantle between two large candles. Looking down at the scene she saw a bright blue stone placed in the baby's cradle.
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