STAR COINS

(Original Title: Stern Thaler)
Once upon a time, there was a young girl who had recently lost her mother and father.  She was so poor, she had no place to live, nothing to call her own but the clothes she wore and a chunk of bread that a kindly soul had given her.  But she was good and pious, trusting that fate would not abandon her.  Having nowhere else to go, she clutched her chunk of bread and started to wander, out of the village, into the fields.

On her way, she passed a beggar who told her how hungry he was, and did she not have anything to eat that she might share with him?  She looked at the man and felt so bad for him that she handed him not just a piece of her bread, but the whole chunk.  "Bless you, girl," he said, and she wandered on.

A short while later, she came upon a small child, crying because its ears were freezing and it begged the girl for something with which to cover its head.  Without thinking twice, the girl pulled off her own woolly cap and handed it to the child.

Before long, she came upon another child, this one was freezing because it didn't have a sweater, so she took off her own sweater and put it on the child.  The next child she met, a little girl, was without a skirt, and she gave away her own.  She was now down to her shirt, but it was a pretty long shirt so she wasn't much bothered.

Meanwhile, she had reached the woods.  When she happened upon another child.  This poor mite didn't even have a shirt.  She girl thought a moment.  She was in the woods and it was getting dark, so she trusted that no-one would see her.  And gave her shirt away to the freezing child.

Now she had absolutely nothing left in this world.  But as she stood there, finally contemplating her fate, the stars began to fall from the sky.  As they landed all around her, she saw that they had turned into coins.  And even though she had given away her shirt, she was wearing one again, made from the finest linen, much nicer than the one the had given away.

So she gathered her shirt and collected the coins, enough so that the rest of her days were spent in comfort, but she never turned her back on those less fortunate.
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