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The Pearls

     Jenny was a cute 5-year-old girl.  One day when she and her mother were checking out at the grocery store, Jenny saw a plastic pearl necklace priced at $2.50.  How she wanted that necklace, and when she asked her mother if she would buy it for her, her mother said, "Well, it is a pretty necklace, but it costs an awful lot of money. I'll tell you what. I'll buy you the necklace, and when we get home, we can make up a list of chores that you can do to pay for the necklace.  Don't forget that for your birthday Grandma just might give you a whole dollar bill, too. Okay?"

     Jenny agreed, and her mother bought the pearl necklace for her. Jenny worked on her chores very hard every day, and sure enough, her grandma gave her a brand new dollar bill for her birthday. Soon, Jenny had paid off the pearls.  How Jenny loved those pearls. She wore them everywhere-to kindergarten, bed, and when she went out with her mother to run errands. The only time she didn't wear them was in the shower-her mother had told her that they would turn her neck green!

     Now, Jenny had a very loving daddy.  When Jenny went to bed, he would get up from his favorite chair every night and read Jenny her favorite story.  One night when he finished the story, he said, "Jenny, do you love me?"
     "Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you," the little girl said.
     "Well, then, give me your pearls."
     "Oh! Daddy, not my pearls!" Jenny said. "But you can have Rosie, my favorite doll.  Remember her? You gave her to me last year for my birthday.  You can have her tea party outfit, too. Okay?"
     "Oh no, darling, that's okay." Her father brushed her cheek with a kiss.
     "Good night, little one."

     A week later, her father once again asked Jenny after her story, "Do you love me?"
     "Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you."
     "Well, then, give me your pearls."
     "Oh, Daddy, not my pearls!  But you can have Ribbons, my toy horse.  Do you remember her? She's my favorite. Her hair is so soft, and you can play with it and braid it and everything. You can have Ribbons if you want her, Daddy," the little girl said to her father.
     "No, that's okay," her father said and brushed her cheek again with a kiss.
     "Sweet dreams, little one."

     Several days later, when Jenny's father came in to read her a story, Jenny was sitting on her bed and her lip was trembling. "Here, Daddy," she said, and held out her hand. She opened it and her beloved pearl necklace was inside. She let it slip into her father's hand.

     With one hand, her father held the plastic pearls, and with the other, he pulled out of his pocket a blue velvet box. Inside of the box were real, genuine, beautiful pearls. He had had them all along. He was waiting for Jenny to give up the cheap stuff, so he could give her the real thing.

Author unknown