There was once an heiress who lived on her estate and whose greatest treasure was not the exquisite inanimate things she owned, but the sweetest little puppy she cared for in her old age. The heiress had the most elegant old blue silk pillow, where the little puppy would lay, with tassels mixed with golden threads and padparadscha sapphires embellishing each end. Each day, she would caress the little puppy’s curly hair, speak to it affectionately, and hum to it soothing melodies.
However, this little puppy was unsatisfied with its pampered and mostly sedentary life. At mealtimes, it would sneak away to climb up and gaze out a window and growl and bark at anything it suspected was unruly. On some occasions, the little puppy would growl so intensely, its whole body would tremble, and it would bark and run away. While sleeping on its pillow, the little puppy would dream of chasing rabbits, squirrels, and other creatures conjured from its mind. Yet, the puppy was never allowed outside.
One day, the little puppy heard the squeaking sound of a hinge; the heiress had opened a door which led to the mansion’s backyard to let in the fresh air. The little puppy saw its chance, swiftly ran from its favorite window, scampered through the halls, brushed passed the heiress’s ankle, and snuck out the door.
The heiress shrieked out in surprise and worry that her precious little puppy would be lost forever. She hastily pursued it, called out its name, and even hummed the soporific melodies that had so often induced its slumber. But the little puppy was so entertained with its new surroundings, it hardly noticed its caregiver's desperate pleas or shouting. Whenever the heiress tried to catch it, the little puppy’s tiny legs and quick strides would outrun hers. All the while, the heiress could hear the distant, riotous noise of children playing. Weary from her pursuit of the little puppy, the heiress called out to them in distress, and three small children arrived. In desperation, she promised to give a large slice of lemon cake to the child who would recover her little puppy. All of the children agreed, but only two of them stayed, while the third ran away.
The first child was a fast runner, so he chased the puppy, but it was always just out of reach. The second child was industrious, so he crafted a net, but the puppy always evaded it. The two children realized that the little puppy was too quick -even for them! At last, both of these children agreed to work together so long as each of them would receive half of the large slice of lemon cake. Still, the little puppy thwarted them and barked to egg them on. To the little puppy, after all, this was all an exhilarating game. Eventually, the two children became so exhausted from their attempts, they collapsed to the ground. It was soon after that the little puppy excitedly emerged from a bush and darted passed them both. The two exhausted children curiously turned their heads to look where the little puppy had gone. To their amazement, she had jumped into the arms of the third little boy who had just returned.
Overjoyed and relieved by what she saw, the heiress hurried to the third child holding her puppy, thanked him profusely, and asked him what he had done to inspire the little puppy to run into his arms. The third child replied that he had run home to fetch some deli meat from his refrigerator, which the puppy could not resist. Upon carrying the little puppy, the heiress could hear it whimper; it had enjoyed so much its outdoor game with the children. Its cries saddened the heiress’s heart so much, she asked the third child if he would return each day to play with the puppy, and he agreed. She also said that if the third child would allow her to have the slice of lemon cake she had originally saved for herself, she would give him an even greater reward. The third child agreed.
As days, months, and years passed, the third child eventually surmised that the heiress had completely forgotten about his reward, but he was still content playing with the sweet little puppy outside. When all of its joyful years of life had been consumed, the sweet little puppy died, which broke the heiress’s heart. She said to the third child, who was now a man, that if he would still visit her now that she was alone, she would give him an even greater reward. The man had lost interest in his reward long ago but agreed to continue visiting the heiress and help her if she should need it.
Many years passed, and the heiress eventually died. She had not purchased another puppy because none could replace the one she had cherished so much. The man felt saddened by the heiress’s death, but he knew her life could not have been enjoyable since losing the sweet little puppy she loved so dearly. In the days following her funeral, the man unexpectedly received a parcel from none other than the heiress, herself! She had mailed it to him shortly before her death, and it had a strong wooden odor. The man curiously opened the parcel, and it revealed a letter resting upon something wrapped in fabric and surrounded by cedar wood-shavings. Curiouser, he opened the letter, and there he read the words: “For the treasure of my heart.” He unwrapped the fabric, and there he saw the elegant old blue silk pillow, where the little puppy had laid so many years before, its golden threads still shimmering and its sapphires still twinkling in the sunlight.