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The Coral Necklace
by Florence Barr
A love for children, combined with a sensitivity to the deeper truths of life, enabled the authors of these stories, which have been published over a period of years in Rays from the Rose Cross, to express in an appealing way many phases of the wisdom of Nature. To these friends we gratefully dedicate Aquarian Age Stories for Children.
Many boys and girls are aware of the "little people" and other forces of Nature mentioned in these stories. Many others, we hope, will be encouraged to become acquainted with them through reading this little volume.
You have all had birthdays and you know how thrilling it is to open mysterious little packages wrapped up daintily in soft white tissue paper and tied with gay ribbons. So, little readers, you will all know just how Rosalie felt on her birthday and how eagerly she unwrapped her gifts, exclaiming over the surprise that each package held.
The last one to be opened was a little oblong box, different from the other packages. And when she opened it, you should have heard her exclaim, "Oh, how lovely!" for there resting on a tuft of soft white satin were three tiny roses carved out of the daintiest pink coral, and fastened on a slender gold chain.
"Oh, Grandpa, how beautiful! Where did you get it? Do tell me all about the dear coral roses."
So Grandpa lifted Rosalie onto his knee and all the children in the birthday party gathered round to hear the story of the coral necklace.
"Years and years ago - probably thousands of years," said Grandpa, "away over in the warm blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea floated some little creatures, with soft jelly-like bodies, quite like starfish only very tiny. They were looking for a new home, and finding firm rocks in the warm, deep sea, they fastened themselves there securely. They had no feet nor eyes, but through their mouths they drank in drops of sea water, taking in wee bits of lime, which helped to build their bodies into what looked like tiny limestone castles. More and more of this floating coral family - related to the famous polyp family - fastened themselves to the rocks. How firmly they held to the rocks and how patiently and steadily they went about their work of building, doing their part in Mother Nature 's sea garden!
"The settlement grew and grew until after a while it had made quite a high wall. When the bodies of the first families were settled and turned to stone, then out of this stone seemed to grow little buds - almost like the tiny leaves seen in the springtime. Now these were the coral children and quite like other children they were too, for some wandered away looking for a new home, just as the first settlers had done. But other children never once tried to loosen themselves from the family, but stayed at home and helped to build. And so this living wall grew to be very beautiful. It reflected the blue of the sky, the gold of the sunshine, the rose glow of the sunset, and, yes, even the bright scarlet of the sunrise. After a while there grew up lovely forests of coral trees, dainty pink shrubs, and flowers of a deeper hue.
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"Nestling within some of the coral walls were tiny lakes, where brilliantly colored fish sported and darted about, nibbling the soft green seaweed that caught on the coral branches.
"Sometimes other little sea dwellers teased the coral family, saying, 'Come out of your houses and float with us.' And the little coral builders would call back, 'Float away and find your happiness. We can't come out of our houses for our houses are ourselves. But we make play of our work and are happy builders for Mother Nature.'
"The little coral builders could not hear as we do, and of course they could not talk as we do, but the sea dwellers have a language all their own and understand quite well what the other sea families have to say to them," explained Grandpa.
"And so, faithfully, hopefully, and lovingly they built a great coral strand. Of course, it took years and years to build this strand, for these little builders were so very tiny. The earliest settlers had long since left their castle-like limestone houses, and their little life sparks had gone on. But they left their stone houses as a firm foundation for the other coral mites to build upon.
"Now these happy builders loved the dashing waves and the splashing spray. And sometimes the undines—the sea sprites—would whisper to them of other creatures of the sea, telling wonderful tales of Mother Nature's sea treasures.
"The kind Nature Spirits who work with the great polyp family helped them with their coral wall and cheered them as they worked. For in Mother Nature's school it is a rule that those who know how to do things must help those who arc only learning and they must be patient with them until they have learned their lessons.
"Mother Nature is very wonderful and into her tender care the great Father has given the earth and sea children. And Mother Nature guides and watches over all her little children. She loves them with a great understanding love and always rewards their faithfulness.
"So the tiny coral builders did not in the least mind it when in an occasional sea storm the crushing waves would break off a great chunk of their wall. No, that was a part of the reward they hoped for as faithful builders. A new experience was theirs then, for kind fishermen carried away these broken pieces of the coral strand.
"And that brings me to your necklace, Rosalie," continued Grandpa.
"One lovely bit of rare pink coral was taken to a jeweler, who with his loving hands carved these dainty roses. And through their faithful service in Mother Nature's sea garden the coral builders now bring happiness to a little girl on her birthday."
Then grandpa clasped the slender gold chain around Rosalie's soft white throat, saying: "These three pink roses will help you to remember three of the greatest things in life, Rosalie—faith, hope, and love. Faith in Mother Nature's understanding heart—hope to be of service as you go through life's school - and love, love for every living thing.
"As we love the sea creatures, the flowers and animals, and help them to progress in life, so the Angels and Archangels help us to grow strong so that we, too, may progress. Love is the means by which we grow into the likeness of the Father in the Land of Love.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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