Once upon a time, a beautiful, sleek magpie discovered a shiny stone in the mud by a river bank. The bird was instantly enchanted by the shiny surface in which she could even see her own reflection. Clutching the stone, she flitted away to her nest before any creature could challenge her for it. Once there, she spent long hours revelling in her prize; the smooth surface, the way it reflected her image, the way it caught the light mesmerised her.
Then, she woke one morning and noticed a small scratch on the surface of thought of her once perfect stone. She was horrified.
“Perhaps,” she thought, “this gem is not so perfect after all. Then again, maybe I can chip the blemish away.”
And so she pecked at the mark trying to smooth it out. Unfortunately, each peck seemed to create even more minute scratches. In frustration, she pecked and pecked and pecked. More and more scrapes and scratches covered the once reflective surface until she realised that it longer reflected her image. Instead, she saw only a vague shadow of herself. This made her more angry and frustrated. She needed her shiny stone to stay shiny!
"This will not do." she thought, "Perhaps I was mistaken and this stone is a fake after all. If it were a worthy gem, it would not scratch so easily.”
Despondently, she tucked the gem away, and tried to forget what it once meant to her. She vainly hoped that she might one day pull it out and find its shine had returned . Each time she gave into temptation and looked at the stone, it remained scratched and dull.
If anything, each time she looked, it seemed duller than the last time.
Finally, she could stand the disappointment no more and decided to break the stone.
“If I can do this,” she thought, “I bet the inside will be as shiny and mirror-like as its surface once was.”
With this thought, she began to peck with desperate determination, harder and harder until, all of a sudden, the stone flew from her grasp and dropped into the deep river below, never to be seen again.