The Wishing Stone
Amelie's parents were worried. Their daughter was so quiet and shy; all Summer, she had played by herself on the beach in the sun, seemingly too afraid to join in with the other children's games. The family had moved to their new home by the sea just a few weeks earlier and now Amelie's first day at her new school was approaching. Her parents had hoped that Amelie would have befriended a few local children, so that she'd already have friends on her first day. But that hadn't happened...
Amelie was worried, too. At her old school, she had always been the odd one out. Too shy to ask anyone to play with her at break time, she had sat alone, watching the others, wishing she felt brave enough to join in. But she never did. Amelie had gotten used to being by herself. She didn't think anyone would want to be her friend. After all, she wasn't confident, funny or clever. At least, she didn't think so. So what was the point in trying?
Every day, Amelie's parents took her down to the beach in the evening, letting her run through the sand and splash in the sea. Every day, Amelie noticed a group of children playing together on the rocks. Sometimes, she'd pluck up the courage to flash them a smile and hoped they'd ask her to join them. But they never did,
Finally, the last day of the Summer holiday dawned. Amelie watched with butterflies in her stomach, as her mother ironed her new school uniform and left it, folded neatly, on the chair in Amelie's bedroom, ready for the next day. Upon his return from his new job, Amelie's father asked her if she was excited about starting school. Amelie managed a brave smile, but said nothing.
The family walked down to the beach that evening, as they always did. Amelie skipped ahead, enjoying the freedom of the sand between her toes and the salty smell of the sea air. She ran into the waves, kicking and splashing. Her long brown hair blew in the gentle breeze and Amelie turned her blue eyes skyward, with a carefree smile plastered across her face. Eventually, Amelie waded out of the water and ran up the sand dunes to where her parents sat, hand in hand, watching the sun sink lower in the sky.
As she ran, she spotted something glinting in the sunlight. Amelie changed course and headed over the object. Bending to get a closer look, she scooped through the sand with her hands and pulled out a shiny pebble. It didn't look like the other rocks on the beach. This pebble was a soft pink colour and had been made perfectly smooth by the sea. When Amelie looked closer, she could see pretty white flecks on the pebble, like the crests of invisible waves. She ran over to her parents, with the pebble in her hands.
"I found treasure," she gasped, excitedly.
Her father took the pebble into his hands and turned it over. "Oh, this is very special," he told his daughter. "This is a Wishing Stone!"
Amelie grinned. "Really? Does it make wishes come true?"
"Oh, yes," her father confirmed. "Keep it with you on the way home and you can test it out."
Amelie gripped the stone firmly as the family began walking back up the beach. She lagged behind her parents and slowly, she began to rub the stone. "I wish for an ice cream," she whispered.
Suddenly, her mother stopped walking and glanced ahead. "Look," she said. "An ice cream van! Shall we all have an ice cream?"
Amelie's mouth hung open. Had the stone worked? It certainly seemed like it; her wish had come true, after all!
When they reached home, a little later, Amelie decided to try the Wishing Stone again. "I wish for a new Princess doll," she whispered, as she rubbed the pebble in her hands. When Amelie went upstairs to her room, she could hardly believe her eyes. There, on her bed, was a brand new Princess doll. Her parents followed her into her room.
"We thought you deserved a little good luck present, before your first day at school," her father grinned. "And I know you've been wanting a new doll for ages."
"Thank you!" Amelie hugged her parents tightly and climbed into bed, with a smile on her face. As she settled down to sleep, she tucked the Wishing Stone safely under her pillow and whispered: "I wish for pancakes for breakfast."
The next day, Amelie woke to the delicious scent of pancakes and maple syrup, wafting up the stairs. She giggled to herself as she grabbed the Wishing Stone and hurried downstairs to eat.
Finally, it was time to leave for school. Amelie tucked the Wishing Stone into the pocket of her new school dress and tried to be brave as she entered her new classroom. Tapping her pocket, Amelie whispered, in a trembling voice: "I wish for a nice, new friend."
As soon as her mother had gone, Amelie sat down on an empty chair and waited. She smiled at the girl sitting next to her, but the girl merely smirked and turned away to talk to someone else. Amelie sighed. New school, same story...
But as the class stood to go into assembly, a little girl with ginger hair and a face full of freckles came dashing over to Amelie. "Hello Amelie. Your name is really pretty," she told her. "Mine's boring; I'm Jane."
"Jane's a nice name," Amelie smiled.
"Do you want to sit next to me in assembly?" Jane asked.
Amelie nodded, excitedly. "Yes, please!"
Later that morning, when the bell rang for break time, Jane hurried over to Amelie's table. "Shall we play together?"
Again, Amelie nodded and smiled. "I'd really like that!"
All through break time, the two new friends chattered away, playing games and sharing stories. They sat together at lunchtime and by the afternoon, Amelie's new teacher had even moved Amelie onto Jane's table. When the end of the day came, the girls headed out of the classroom together.
"I live right near the beach," Jane told Amelie. "We could go and play together later, if you like?"
Amelie grinned. "That would be great."
Jane linked arms with Amelie as they walked across the playground. "I'm so glad you've moved here, Amelie," she told her. "I didn't really have a best friend at school before."
"Me neither," Amelie confessed. "I was always a bit shy. But then I found this Wishing Stone and..."
"A Wishing Stone?!" Jane exclaimed. "What's that?"
"It makes your wishes come true," Amelie replied. "And I wished for a new friend, then I met you!"
Jane's eyes widened. "Can I see it?"
Amelie dug her hand into her pocket and moved it around, but all she could feel was fabric. The stone was gone! A look of panic crossed her face, as she fished about, trying to find her special, missing pebble. It was no use. Amelie sighed. "I... I can't find it."
Jane shrugged. "Oh well," she said. "It must have fallen out of your pocket, somewhere. But it doesn't matter."
Amelie raised her eyebrows. "Doesn't it?"
"Of course not," Jane laughed. "Your wish came true, even without the stone. You don't need it, anymore."
Amelie smiled. "I suppose you're right," she said. And with that, she gripped Jane's hand and the two girls rushed across the playground to meet their parents and tell them all about their day.
And somewhere on the ground behind them, a perfectly smooth, little pink pebble, with soft, white flecks, lay glinting in the sunlight...