By Erin Miller
1990-91 Erin Miller was a student of Bonnie Farrar at
Williamsburg Independent School in Williamsburg, KY.
Reprinted in AppLit with permission, from Journey Through
Fantasy Literature: A Resource Guide for Teachers.
Vol. II, pp. 60-61. Ed. Roberta T. Herrin.
Developed during a Teachers Institute sponsored by East
Tennessee State University and the National Endowment for
the Humanities. In 1990-91, participants took the
institute goals and ideas back to their classrooms for a
year-long study of fantasy literature. Guided by mentors,
they worked in small cluster groups, which met once in
the fall of 1990 and once in the spring of 1991. This
story was published in a section on the theme of
friendship, showing connections between children's
fantasy and adult classics.
Activities on Folktales
of Student Writing in AppLit
The Magic Ruby is another fantasy story by a
Eleven-year-old Jill began writing in her diary:
This is our third day at the new house. We are pretty
much all settled in except for cleaning out attic which
we probably won't start for about another week. It's a
I still haven't met any
"good" friends. I've only talked to a girl
named Katie who claims our big, white house is haunted!
locked her diary and set it on her dresser. Then she hid
the key in her jewelry box.
The next morning Jill was braiding her long blonde hair
when she saw a pink tassel dangling from her diary.
Quickly, she got her diary key and opened it. Inside was
an old fashioned bookmark. It was cloth with yellow lace
around the edges. In the top left-hand and bottom
right-hand corners flowers and a butterfly were
embroidered. In the middle, "Friends are
Forever" was written. Jill loved it, but who could
have given it to her?
The next night, Jill wrote in her diary again:
Today Katie informed me that there was a party and I
wasn't invited. Oh, well.
I went hiking with my family. We had a picnic at Singing
Bird Ridge. It was sort of fun except I didn't get to
meet any new kids. I plan to look tomorrow.
Something strange has
happened to me. I found a bookmark that said
"Friends are Forever" in my diary. It looks
really old. Maybe it's something my mother found? I'm
going to watch for clues.
quietly shut her diary and placed it on her white
dresser. This time she put the heart-shaped key in her
The next morning Jill awoke to the early morning sunshine
coming through her window. Jill decided to see if the
gift-giver had come again, and to her surprise he had!
Resting on the diary, Jill found a pretty light blue
flower with a yellow middle. It had been carefully
pressed and a yellow ribbon was tied around its stem.
Jill began to write in her diary:
I just found the most beautiful flower I've ever seen on
top of my diary. It even has a little yellow bow around
it. It would be so nice to have a patch of these flowers
in the yard.
days had gone by and Jill hadn't heard from the gift
"Maybe it was Mom who gave me the gifts after
all," Jill thought to herself.
Saturday morning Jill got her jeans and tee-shirt on and
went to her dresser not expecting to see any surprises.
She about flipped when she saw a small, pink calico bag
labeled "asters." She carefully untied it and
there were some seeds.
"The pressed flower I got yesterday could have been
an aster! Jill said to herself. "I'll plant these
She ran to the shed and got a spade. She found a pretty
section of the yard where there were three white
dogwoods. She began digging in the middle of the circle.
Jill put the seeds in the soil. As she emptied the last
seeds, a thin slip of paper drifted out. Jill picked up
the paper, which looked like it had been torn from a
Bible. It said, "A friend loveth at all times"
She read the words over again and again. Then it came to
her. The gift-giver had been very generous. She wanted to
show that she appreciated their thoughtfulness.
Jill ran back to the house and searched through her
jewelry box. She found a heart locket on a chain. The
locket was silver with a flower engraved on it.
That night, Jill laid the locket and chain on her diary
and went to bed. The next morning she was awakened by
thunder and the rain tapping on her window. Jill ran to
her dresser. The silver heart locket and chain were gone!
She dressed and went to breakfast. Jill could hear her
parents cleaning up in the attic. Soon her mother came
down the stairs balancing an old lamp and a book in her
"Jill, look what I found," her mother said
excitedly. "It's an old photo album dated
Jill started to look through the album. She came to a
large picture of a young girl about eleven or twelve. The
girl was sitting in a wicker chair in front of three
dogwoods. She had light, curly hair, and had on a fluffy
white dress. The girl was holding a bouquet of asters and
around her neck was a heart-shaped locket with a flower
engraved in the middle. A cold chill ran down Jill's
spine, but then she smiled and thought to herself,
"I wonder if she likes strawberry suckers."
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