Betty found the little crown in a bed of zinnias, of all places. Not around stems of prize roses, not atop a pile of jewels. Zinnias. The same simple country flowers that thrive in farmer’s gardens, across from the okra or corn.
She might never have seen it at all, had it been a completely cloudy day. In fact, it’d been a full score of cloudy days up to then. But the sun persevered just long enough on that particular day to glint off the gold as she walked by.
It was too big to fit on her finger like a ring, too small to slide on as a bracelet.
“What is it?” she asked the flowers. “A doll’s crown?”
They didn’t answer, of course, though she waited for a reply.
But even she–whose only piece of jewelry was a simple silver cross–knew that it was too fine for dolls.
The zinnias, they wanted to warn her. To tell her to put it right back where she found it, tell her you don’t play with fairy-sized things that haven’t been given you. (Zinnias are the kindest of the flowers, after all. If only they could talk.)
As it was, she thought it was a pretty trinket and probably valuable, too. “I best put it in my jewelry box,” she said. “Somebody might come looking for it.”
So she put it in her vacant jewelry box and told nobody about it. She’d take it out and look at it, sigh and wish it was the right size to wear somehow. She’d polish it and admire it and dream up stories about it, none of which were anywhere near the truth. But there was one thing she was right about.
Somebody did come looking for it.