Once upon a time, there was a butterfly who was so sad and lonely that he did not want to live anymore. As he stood, very depressed, on the sea-shore, thinking about the uselessness of his life, he heard a soft, clear voice beside him.
"Good morning. Who are you?" The voice asked.
"I'm a butterfly, but who are you? A speaking stone? I don't believe it!"
The voice replied. "I'm not a stone. I'm a shell, an oyster! I'm a living being just like you are."
"Would you like to be my friend?" The butterfly asked. "I have no friends, and I'm very unhappy because nobody loves me. I want to die in the sea."
"I don't want you to die," said the shell. "I am just as lonely and sad as you, and I too have never known what it is like to be loved, but, now that you are here neither of us is alone. Stay with me, be my winged prince and tell me all about the things that you have seen in the world; things that the eyes of a daughter-of-the sea will never see."
The butterfly stayed at the shell's side and they grew to love each other, more than anyone could ever imagine. The butterfly had collected all the colours in the world in his wings and he gave them, as a bouquet, to his sweetheart, while the shell gave, as her gift from the sea, all the mysterious whispers of the deep.
Their joy was short-lived, as butterflies have a shorter lifespan than shells, and when the butterfly died, the shell buried him in the sand. Then she cried and cried so much that she died of her sadness, and was dissolved by her tears.
Next morning, on a small mound of sand, marked with a coral cross, appeared the very first pearl, made from the tears of the shell, the colours from the butterfly's wings and their love.
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