The Necklace of Pearls
In a tiny cottage on the steep rocky hillside of one of the islands of the Azores there lived a poor woman and her only son whose name was Francisco. Every day the boy went fishing in his little boat, and every night he brought home fish for his mother to cook for their evening meal and to carry into the market to sell. In this way they lived very comfortably, and they loved each other so dearly that they were as happy as happy can be.
Francisco, with his fair skin, blue eyes and thatch of curly golden hair, was the handsomest boy in the whole parish, and by the time he was sixteen years old there was many a rich man's daughter who had smiled upon him. However, the lad thought only of his fishing boat and his mother and did not notice the smiles.
One night the moon was so bright that Francisco could not sleep. He awakened his mother who was dozing comfortably in her bed.
"I'm going fishing, mother dear," he said as he kissed her. "The moonlight is calling me."
His mother started up from her bed in terror and amazement.
"Why, my boy, do you do such a thing as this?" she asked. "You have never been fishing in the night before. Some evil will surely befall you."
"Don't worry about me, dear mother," replied Francisco, laughing at her fears. "I know how to take care of myself. It is as light as day. Think how many fish I'll bring back for you to sell in the market to-morrow."
His mother shook her head anxiously, but, with another loving kiss, the lad ran out into the bright moonlight. He quickly launched his little fishing boat and soon was floating smoothly along on the peaceful waters of the bay which gleamed like a silver pathway in the moonlight. The soft air, the gentle rocking of the little boat, and the face of the moon upon which his blue eyes were fixed combined to send sleep to his eyelids. Soon he was nodding in the little boat. A few moments later and he was fast asleep. The moon's rays upon his curls made them shine as if they were indeed made of gold.