Short Stories

The legend of the shell

It’s not been raining in that land for a long time. It was so hot and dry that the flowers withered, the grass became brown, and even the big, strong trees were dying. Water evaporated in the rivers, the wells were dry and the fountains stopped gushing. The cows, the dogs, the horses, the birds, and all the people were very thirsty. Everyone felt uncomfortable and sick. In this land was a girl whose mother had become very sick.

– Oh! If only I could find some water for my mother! I’m sure she’ll be fine again. I need to find water!

The girl then took a tin shell and set off for water. He found a tiny fountain high on a mountain slope. The fountain was almost dry. Water dripped, dripped very slowly under the rock. The girl took the shell carefully and tried to catch a few drops. He waited a long, long time before the shell was full of water. He started down the mountain holding the shell very carefully, because he didn’t want to spill a drop.

But on the way, he found a poor little dog that was barely crawling. He was panting heavily for air, and his tongue hung so dry!

– Oh, poor dog! – said the girl. – You’re very thirsty. I can’t leave you without some water. If I give you just a little, it will still be enough for my mother!

Then the girl poured some water into her hand and gave the dog a drink. He drank the water very quickly and felt so good that he jumped and barked as if to say, “Thank you, girl.” The girl didn’t notice, but her tin shell had turned into a silver shell and was as full of water as before. He thought of his mother and walked as quickly as possible.

He arrived home in the late afternoon, when it was already dark. The girl opened the door and ran to her mother’s room. When she entered the room, the old housekeeper, who had been helping with the work and had worked all day without rest taking care of the patient, walked to the door. She was so tired and so thirsty that she couldn’t even talk to the girl.

– Give her some water, my daughter! said the mother. “She worked all day, and needs more water than me.”

The girl raised the shell to the old maid’s lips and she drank some. In the same instant, she felt better and stronger; He walked to his mistress and managed to lift her. The girl did not notice that the shell had turned to gold and was as full of water as before.

Then he brought the shell to his mother’s lips, who drank and drank… Oh, how good it felt to the mother! When he had finished drinking, there was still some water in the shell. The girl was about to take her to her lips when she heard a knock at the door. The maid went to open and there was a very downcast and dust-covered stranger from the road.

“I’m thirsty,” he said. ? Do you want to give me some water?

The girl answered:

“Of course, I’m sure you need her more than me.” Can you drink it all!

The stranger smiled and took the shell with his hands; when she did, she turned into a diamond shell. He turned it upside down and spilled water seeped into the floor. In the place where water seeped in, a fountain emerged. From that moment the fresh water of the fountain gave water to all the people and animals of that land.

Forever. William J. Bennett The Book of Virtues for Children Rio de Janeiro, Ed. New Frontier, 1997 (adaptation)

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