Once there was a girl named Esmerelda. Esmerelda was queen of the most beautiful land in all of Iguia and life for her was wonderful. All her servants, all the citizens, all the children loved her dearly. Even Esmerelda’s enemies couldn’t help but smile at her sight.

But one tragic day, she was attacked. As she sat reading under a large willow tree, two mysterious fellows snuck up behind Esmerelda and stuffed her into a potato sack. This was the last known sighting of the queen. The kingdom wept at the loss of their beloved leader for 20 years, praying she would come back to them.

Every citizen placed pictures of her in their cupboards as a tribute. Of course, they all knew with heavy hearts, Esmerelda was dead.

One very cold winter’s morning, a young girl named Eliana saw a homeless woman shivering horribly. Eliana ran home and took the warmest wool blanket she could fi nd from her mother’s blanket cupboard. She rushed back to the shivering woman. The woman looked up to Eliana, the child instantly recognized the woman. But before she could even blink or speak a word, the child became but dust on the road. The woman, after laughing a sinister cackle, went away in a cloud of smoke. ◆