By Ariel Faith Rantung, age 11, Singapore
Luna trudged along the cobblestone pavement in her fishing village of Sol City, picking up little, shiny rocks to add to her collection for her costume-jewelry-making passion. She dreamed to become a successful jewelry designer one day and hoped to help her family out of poverty.
Luna’s father was a fisherman who spent exhaustive hours out at sea every day before dawn until late morning. Her parents would then sell the day’s catch at the village market until late. Luna and her twin sister, Leona, would spend their days after school at Grand-Aunt Anna’s (Nanna’s) curio-shop across the street from their parents’ stall.
Although they were twins, Luna and Leona were as different as night and day. Luna always saw her cup as half-full, but Leona always saw hers as half-empty. Luna appreciated all the little things in their simple life while Leona grumbled about things her friends possessed that she could not have.
Luna enjoyed learning the business and helping around Nanna’s shop while Leona preferred to sit around all day snacking or dolling herself up with the trinkets displayed in Nanna’s shop. Luna loved the handcrafted costume-jewelry section, too, but for different reasons. A creative person at heart, she marveled at the hues and textures of the materials and how Nanna made them come together in the form of beautiful wearable art! Luna soon picked up jewelry-making skills and was allowed to make and sell her own accessories to earn a little money to take home to her parents. She always remembered her father’s words to her: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Although her quaint pieces would sell for 10 copper coins each to one gold coin for the elaborate ones, Luna had bigger dreams for her family’s lifetime!
Luna skipped along merrily to the nearby beach just as the sun was setting—a routine that the spritely 12-year-old had indulged in for the past year. Unlike the village streets, she knew that the sandy shores of the calm coast offered an abundant treasure trove for her “work.”
Sunset was her favorite time to do her “pickings” not only because the air was cooler then but also because Luna was awed by how the golden sunrays illuminated the pebbles and washed-up seashells and corals in a magical way. Somehow, nature’s spoils were made that much more special when they were sun-kissed. They really glistened!
Luna’s smile was as radiant as the sun as she watched the orangey-pink colors wavering low on the horizon. She soaked in their glory, knowing they would be swallowed up by darkness soon.
Shaking off her momentary distraction, she returned to her mission of picking up shiny pebbles and adorable, little seashells of different shapes and sizes—Angel Wings, Top shells, Buttercups, Coquina, Cockles, Moon-shells, Clams…She knew them all by heart, and she was bursting with ideas on how she would thread them into beautiful earrings, bracelets, anklets, and necklaces. After dropping the last few items into her basket, Luna cheerfully ambled home, looking forward to crafting her new collection at Nanna’s shop the following day.
Over the months, Luna was able to earn from 6 to 12 gold coins a month. She would spend half her earnings on copper wires, stronger thread, beads, and crystals. She then gave one third of the remainder to Nanna and the rest to her parents. However, at the end of each day, Luna’s back hurt, and her fingers became blistered. She hoped to eventually engage someone to help her execute her designs. Despite her young age, Luna’s understanding about growing wealth and her sparkling spirit inspired everyone around her—Nanna, Mama, Papa, her neighbors, even her idle twin sister!
After two years, Luna managed to earn enough to set up a stall beside Nanna’s shop and hired her mother and sister to join her little business.
With the help of kind neighbors, she erected four wooden poles and painted them magenta and draped bright yellow drapes above them. Her amazing father built her a wooden display case for her jewelry collection. Luna felt especially proud when they raised the banner with the word “Glisten” boldly painted on it.
Luna’s humble business grew, and slowly, word of her designs spread to neighboring villages and, over the years, to other territories. She progressed from simple creations using modest materials to intricate masterpieces boasting semi-precious and precious stones.
By the time Luna was 28 years old, she had opened her eighth international “Glisten” boutique and bought a large home for her parents and Nanna. She also built an extensive academy in Sol City for children to develop their passions in jewelry-making, carpentry, pottery, and design. Although her twin sister, Leona, did not like working or planning for the future, Luna did encourage her to manage one of her boutiques. Luna still lived with their parents.
20 years later…
Lyana and Lulu skipped along merrily to the nearby beach just as the sun was setting—a routine that the spritely 12-year-old twins had indulged in since they were little.
They squatted down to pick up pretty, little pebbles, shells, and corals, squealing as the brittle tide rushed over their feet.
“They’re glistening, Mama! They’ll definitely feed our village!” they echoed, looking up at their mother.
Luna beamed down at her twin daughters.
“Yes, they are,” she said lovingly.
Luna looked out over the large ocean, remembering her father’s wise “fishy” words over 20 years ago. “And yes, they will. They will,” she whispered to the wind.