The Glass Ballerina

A master toymaker once made a ballerina out of spun glass. He took the greatest care to choose the right materials; he spun the glass with the utmost patience and skill into intricate details that built up into an exquisitely graceful form. He placed the ballerina on a stand in a case in front of a window and rejoiced to see her there. Now and again he would take her out to stand in the sunlight and twirl on a string as he played music for her, and he delighted to watch this beautiful thing that he had made.

Yet one day, he came to the case and found her crying.

“Here!” he said and lifted her out. “Why do you cry, my lovely one?”

“Oh, Master, if only I were not glass!” she wailed.

“What do you mean?”

“If I were sturdy, like your steel clockwork dancers, men would dance with me.”

“But I did not make you to dance for men.”

“If I were strong, like your brass jewel-box dancers, ladies would watch me and give me their gold.”

“But I did not make you to dance for women.”

“If I were soft, like your frilly plush dancers, little children would cuddle me. If I could bend, like your jointed porcelain dancers, bigger children would play with me.”

“But I did not make you to dance for children.”

“Then why did you make me at all, Master?”

He took a mirror and held her up before it in the sunlight, so she could see what he saw, how the light glowed and reflected and refracted to shine out as beautiful colors in ever-changing hues as she twirled on her string to the music he played just for her.

“I made you,” he said gently, “to dance for me.”


© 2018 Elisabeth G. Wolfe. All Rights Reserved.

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