There was a small boy by the name of Pietr.

He held a star in his hand, for it had fallen onto his land, and it was now his.

The star said to him, “I belong to no one but the Skies.”

The boy, Pietr, said, “You are mine now.”

The star said, “Only if you agree that you are mine, as well.”

That made the boy frightened.

“What do you mean that I am yours? I am not to be given away like that.”

“Neither am I,” said the star.

“I will keep you.”

Pietr built a cage for the star out of silver and gold and glass, and he brought it to all his friends to see.

“See my star, and see how it shines for me.”

“It shines for all of us, don’t you think? You can see the light, whether it is you who are looking or whether it is me,” said his friend. “That is not so impressive.”

Pietr began to cover the cage with a black cloth, so that no one else could see unless they asked him for it.

The star grew lonely, dimming its light, for it could no longer see the Skies to which it belonged. Pietr’s friends began to say, “Pietr, Pietr, your star is broken. Look how unhealthy it is.”

Peter was angry at the star, for it seemed to be broken. “Stupid star, ugly and black,” he would say. “You are more a lump of coal than a star.” One day, he threw the cage in a river.

It washed away to a small village, where a little girl picked it up.

“What is this cage of silver and gold and glass?” she thought.

Inside, was a lump of black.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello,” said the star.

“You’re beautiful. Do you want to be let out?”

The star blushed a glowing, fiery white. “It has been a long time since I have heard those words. Yes, please, let me out.”

The girl opened the cage, and the star tiptoed its way out of the cage.

“Thank you,” said the star. “Now I can return to the Skies.”

“Will I see you again?” said the girl, hesitatingly.

The star wavered, and nodded. “Yes, for all of time, for your children and grandchildren, too. But we will never be close again like this. It is what it means to be a star for the people, and a star of the skies.”

“Oh,” said the girl, sadly. “You are so beautiful, I would like us to be together like this, forever.”

“I will be yours,” said the star, “If you will be mine.”

“What does that mean?” said the girl.

“It means that I can be with you here, in this village, if you come with me to the Skies. Though if you come, you will not be able to see your Mama and Papa.”

“Oh,” said the girl. “I don’t know about that. I love you, but I love many people.”

The star smiled. “I love the Skies, and all the people I would shine upon for eons and eons. It is my joy and purpose, like it is your joy to be with your people.”

“I will miss you,” said the girl.

The star smiled, twinkling. “And I, you.”

The star returned to the skies, shining brightly.

Years later, the girl grew to be a grandmother, and she would point out the star to her grandchildren.

“You see, that star? I met her once, and I miss her still. But that is where she has chosen to shine, and she will shine brightly for eons over all our loved ones. She is happy, and I am happy for her.”