• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 11


Karpe didn’t want to read the book in her home, where noises made by other tenants would disturb her. She wanted a quiet ambience.

After dinner, she took the book from a shelf and walked to the town’s outskirts. Here, she sat on a boulder and waited for the clouds to pass and reveal the moon, so she could read by its light.

Before long, a full moon emerged and Karpe opened the book. As she did so, the pages glowed red. The story’s lettering then drifted from the pages and coalesced into a pebble that adhered to the boulder.

Karpe flicked through the book. Every word had gone.

She scowled and addressed the pebble. ‘I will find a way to recover the story you have stolen.’

The next day, she returned to the boulder with a jeweller.

‘I need you to remove that pebble and set it in a gold ring,’ Karpe said.


‘Because within it is the story I had intended to read.’

The nature of this commission intrigued the jeweller, so he did as Karpe asked. A month later, he presented her with the ring.

‘What sort of story does the pebble hold?’ the jeweller asked.



‘I don’t know. I haven’t read it, have I?’

Karpe put the ring on a finger.

‘The band is loose,’ she said.

The jeweller reached out a hand. ‘Give it back. I’ll fix it.’

‘No, I’ve waited long enough.’

That night, Karpe sat on the boulder where she had hoped to read the book. She held up the ring to the full moon.

‘Reveal the story that lies within the pebble on this ring,’ she said.

Nothing happened. In frustration, Karpe shook her hand. The loose ring slipped from her finger and fell into the nearby grass.

For many days, Karpe searched for the ring and its pebble without success. When the temperature dropped and snow fell, she gave up.

If anyone asked her why she looked so exasperated, she muttered about the ring. Most people shrugged; then a young girl heard about the loss.

On an icy night, the girl wrapped herself in thick clothing and ventured out to the boulder. By the moon’s light, she discovered the ring in the grass.



The girl liked the workmanship of the gold.

But the pebble is ugly, she thought, and struck it against the boulder.

The pebble broke from its mount and shattered into thousands of words. These fastened themselves onto the boulder’s surface to form a story.

Unimpressed, the girl pocketed the gold ring. On the way home, she wondered how much the town’s jeweller would give her for it.