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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Emerald Beads

Nataki spent her days making beads. Her papa brought home bags of stones and jewels and Nataki used her tools to make tiny holes in the middle so she could thread them together. When she finished making the beads, she gave them to all the women and girls in her village. There wasn't one female who didn't have beads around their neck. Even the baby girls wore beads.

Any beads that she had leftover, she took to the other villages to sell. Some people wanted the beads but didn't have money to pay for them. Instead they gave Nataki blankets and baskets and bags of coconut and fruit. Nataki didn't keep them for herself. She took them back to her village and shared them with everyone else.

One day Nataki's papa came to her. “Nataki, I am going into the jungle to find you some jewels and stones. I will be home tonight. Help your mama with the baby and you might have to do some cooking. Mama isn't feeling well today.” Papa gave Nataki a kiss on her forehead and left.

Nataki put her beads down and went to see if she could help her mama. All day long she carried her baby brother, Kimba, on her hip. She cooked the lentils and made bread. When Papa came home, Nataki was tired and didn't make any beads that day.

When the morning sun kissed her cheeks, she jumped up and ran to see if Kimba and Mama were all right. Both of them were sleeping.

Papa whispered to her, “I'll be home today. You can go and make your beads. I brought you back something very special.”

Nataki ran to her chair. The box of beads and all of her tools sat next to it. Sitting in the middle of the chair was a strand of emerald beads and a note.

Dear Nataki,

This is a gift for you, a strand of emerald beads. You do so many nice things for others that I wanted to do something nice for you. Thank you for taking care of Mama and Kimba.”

Love, Papa”

Nataki slipped the string of emeralds around her neck. She felt so pretty and so special. That day she made a lot of beads from the new stones and jewels her papa had brought home for her. When she went to the village to give them away, every person noticed her new emerald beads. When Nataki told them her papa had made them for her, they all smiled and gave her a hug. Nataki was the happiest person in the whole village.

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