A ship waited, anchored, in a harbor. Her owner and builder, Captain Valor, originally built her to serve as his flagship, but loved her so much that he did not wish for her to be soiled by the rough sea waters. So he kept the ship tied in the harbor. Day after day, he sat and admired the beauty of her majestic sails, her intricately carved mahogany wood, her shiny bronze helm. She was the gem in his eyes, perfect in every way.  He decided to call her “Sea Pearl.”

The people of the nearby village loved ships and always came by to acclaim Sea Pearl. The final question was always, “when are you going to take her out on the high seas?”

To which Captain Valor would laugh and say, “never! Sea Pearl is too beautiful, I would never take her out because then the winds would tear her majestic sails; the water would soften her intricately carved mahogany wood and my hands would dull her shiny bronze helm. No, she is staying right here in the harbor, where she will be safe forever!”

There were other ships in the harbor. Their owners took them out regularly — fishermen,  oil riggers, leisure boats, sailboats. Captain Valor knew none of those ships could compare with his Sea Pearl in terms of beauty. None of those ships lasted nearly as long. Their sails were wind-torn, their wood was softened and the bronze color of their helms was grimy and dull. Sea Pearl’s harbor-mates changed as often as the seasons.

As time went by, Captain Valor noticed something. Fewer and fewer villagers were coming by to admire Sea Pearl when they visited the harbor. It was gradual — the adults would head for the other ships, but the children still wanted to see Sea Pearl. Then, even the children stopped coming, preferring instead to look at the other ships. Soon, his only visitors were parents bringing their very young children who had never before seen Sea Pearl. He was confused. What could possibly be so interesting about those other boring ships that would be junkyard material at year’s end?

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