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The Enchanting World of Salome (by IVY 13/1/05)

In the little town of Malabuyoc, in the southern part of Cebu, in the South of the Philippines, in a little nipa house, a little girl named Salome lived with her family. Because they were very poor, they were not welcomed by most of their neighbours. Though Salome was bullied, and didn't have many friends, she was very cheerful.

One night, while she was looking out of their window, her mind wondering about the world beyond, she saw a sparkling light in their star apple tree. She thought at first that it was just a reflection of the moon. But the more she looked at it, the more she felt drawn to the tree. Leaving the house, she came slowly closer and closer. Then she saw a little shining moth stuck in one of the fallen fruit. She helped it free.

To her astonishment, the little moth turned into a little creature! It was like a human child, but very small, and with wings, about five inches long. Then the little creature spoke.

`Thank you for helping me. In return, I will grant you the dearest wish of your heart'. Salome closed her eyes and thought of her wish. When she opened her eyes again, before she had time to speak, the little creature flew away.

The next day, Salome woke early, still thinking of what had happened. She got out of bed, picked up a bucket and set off to collect water from the nearest spring. But as she approached the spring, she noticed several of the other children already there. `Oh look', began one, `it's the little beast'. Salome ignored them and carried on with her work. She fetched some water and had a bath. While she was doing so, the children kept taunting her, abusing her with all sorts of bad names. Salome ignored them, but deep in her heart she grew very sad. While walking back home, she started crying.

Suddenly she heard someone calling her name. `Salome! Salome! Salome!'. She stopped and looked around. There in a tree stood the little creature!

`Don't cry, my friend. My name is Aura. I am a princess. Would you like to come to my kingdom?'

`Yes, please!', Salome replied. With just one blink they were in another world. Everywhere Salome looked was shining. Everyone bowed to her. It was amazingly beautiful. Salome could hardly believe what she was seeing. Everyone was cheerful and smiling. But then, a strange, sad feeling suddenly gripped her.

`What is the matter, Salome?', asked Aura.

`Your world is so wonderful', Salome replied, `but there is something missing. This doesn't feel like the right place for me. Could you take me back to my world, please, Aura?'

In less than a second, Salome was back exactly where she had been, and the boys were there again, all laughing at her except one called Sid. They started pushing and jostling her, and calling her a witch. Salome burst into tears and ran home as fast as she could. But Sid ran after her, trying to comfort her. And from that time on they became best of friends.

Days, weeks, months and years passed by. Sid left Malabuyoc and went to work in Manila, but Salome was still there. She was now nineteen, and had now become a fine, beautiful lady, though she and her family were still very poor. Her little friend was nowhere to be seen, and she had lost contact with her other friend, Sid, after he had left for Manila.

One Sunday morning, Salome was attending the family service in the Church. After the service, she stayed behind in the church to pray. Then she felt that someone was watching her from behind. She turned her head and saw a man silhouetted against the light from the door. He smiled and said,

`Hello, how are you? Do you still remember me?'

Salome couldn't believe her eyes. It was her long lost friend. Tears of joy coursed down her cheeks. Sid wiped the tears, hugged her and bent to whisper to Salome:

`I love you! Will you be my wife?' Without a second's hesitation Salome replied, `Yes!!' Then she looked at the altar. There was the little creature, smiling at her.

Sid and Salome got married. They prospered, so that her brothers and sisters were able to finish their education and find good jobs. They had a little girl, whom they named Aura. Though they now live abroad, Salome can sometimes still feel her little friend's presence.