If I asked you to name the greatest treasure in the world, what would you say?
In this story, we’ll meet a man who knows all those riches rather well, and he values them dearly. Until he learns that sometimes the greatest treasure isn’t the one you think.
Our story is called “All That Glitters.” Versions of this tale originally come from Thailand, in southeast Asia.
Voices in this episode include Lee Overtree, Peter McNerney and Meghan O’Neil: three of the hosts of The Story Pirates Podcast, from Gimlet Media. Each week, the Story Pirates crew takes original stories from real kids like you, and turns them into a super-fun comedy podcast.
This episode was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir. Original music and sound design by Eric Shimelonis. Our artist is Sabina Hahn.
ADULTS! PRINT THIS so everyone can color while listening. We’re also keeping an album so share your picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it! To access all the coloring pages for past episodes click HERE. Our resident artist is Sabina Hahn and you can learn more about her HERE.
Things To Think About After Listening
Think about what you treasure in your life. Maybe it’s a thing, maybe it’s a place, maybe it’s a person! Whatever (or whoever) it is, find a piece of paper and draw a picture of your treasure. Then show it to someone you have fun with — a family member, a friend — and tell them why you treasure this person, place or thing so very much.
You can also send it to us so we can share it with other Circle Round listeners! Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Like a xylophone, the glockenspiel is a percussion instrument featuring tuned bars you play with mallets. But while the xylophone’s bars are made of wood, the glockenspiel’s are made of metal (though — fun fact! -- the glockenspiel originally was made of bells; in German, glockenspiel means “to play the bells”). Traditionally, the glockenspiel has been most prevalent in classical music. However, more modern, diverse artists such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead and Panic at the Disco all have used the instrument’s glittery, tinkly, bell-like tones in their most well-known songs.
NARRATOR: When he was growing up in the city, the jeweler on Main Street never wanted... to become a jeweler.
His father had been a jeweler, his grandfather had been a jeweler, and his great-grandfather had been a jeweler, too… all in the shop on Main Street.
The jeweler always thought he’d break away from the family business and do something different with his life. Yet here he was... a grown man… running the same shop his great-grandfather had established all those years ago.
The truth is, though…? The jeweler enjoyed it! And his customers enjoyed him. They called him ‘the most skilled and honest jeweler in the city’: praise which made the humble jeweler blush redder than a ruby.
One day, the jeweler was standing behind the counter, polishing some silver, when in came the tailor from down the street.
JEWELER: Hello, my friend! I haven’t seen you in a while! How are things?
NARRATOR: The tailor frowned and shook his head.
TAILOR: I’ve seen better days, man. Business has been so slow lately. That’s why I’m wondering if you can help me sell…
NARRATOR: He reached into his apron pocket.
NARRATOR: Dangling from the tailor’s fingers... was a necklace. The pendant was clear, like a diamond. As it caught the sun’s light through the window, rainbow specks danced across the walls.
TAILOR: This necklace has been treasured by my family for generations. My great-grandmother used to say it was the most priceless thing in her house… more valuable than her crystal, her china, even her silver! A few years back my mother gave this precious heirloom to me, and it pains me to have to sell it. But hey - a man’s gotta eat!
NARRATOR: The jeweler took the necklace and gave it a closer look. The pendant was well-cut… and it certainly sparkled like a precious gem... but his expert eye knew it wasn’t a precious gem at all. It was plain old glass!
TAILOR: So? What do you say? Will you help me sell it?
NARRATOR: The tailor seemed awfully desperate. The jeweler didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth.
JEWELER: (not sure he knows where he’s going with this) You know? You’ve been such a good friend to me and the shop all these years… recommending us to your customers, giving us scraps of fabric for polishing our jewels... I’ll see what I can do for you.
NARRATOR: The tailor ran behind the counter and gave the jeweler a hug.
TAILOR: Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! Everyone says you’re the most skilled and honest jeweler in the city... but you’re also the most generous friend in the world!
NARRATOR: And he went skipping out of the shop.
The jeweler slung the necklace over a hook on the wall, right next to his coat. Then he slumped down on the counter, his head in his hands.
JEWELER: Oh no. What am I going to do? This necklace is nothing more than cheap glass! Do I tell the tailor his so-called “treasure” is anything but ‘priceless’...?!?
NARRATOR: That night, the jeweler spent hours tossing and turning in bed. At one point, he glanced at the clock on his night table.
JEWELER: Ugh. Three A-M and I haven’t gotten a wink of sleep!
NARRATOR: Frustrated, he threw off his covers and began pacing the room.
JEWELER: (talking to himself as he paces) (sighs) I don’t know; maybe I should just try and sell the necklace for the tailor. After all, to the untrained eye, it looks like a diamond! My friend could make a nice profit and put food on his table! Wait - what am I talking about? My customers praise me as “the most skilled and honest jeweler in the city.” If I pass off this worthless piece of glass as a diamond, I’m not being honest at all!
NARRATOR: The jeweler stopped his pacing and gazed out the window. The full moon was shimmering like a big round gem in the sky.
JEWELER: That settles it. First thing in the morning, I’m going to get the necklace from the shop, then march right over to the tailor and tell him I can’t help him out. (yawns) Now, maybe I can try and get at least a little bit of rest…?
NARRATOR: And…having made up his mind… he drifted off to sleep.
A few hours later, the jeweler got dressed, ate a nice big breakfast, and made his way to the jewelry shop on Main Street. He was an hour early. But when he got there, he discovered he wasn’t the first to arrive.
Standing by the locked front door was an elegantly-dressed woman whom the jeweler didn’t recognize. He smiled at her, then pointed at the sign listing the shop’s hours.
JEWELER: Good morning! I’m afraid we’re not open yet. I just need to run an errand and then I’ll start letting customers in. But for now, if you don’t mind waiting, there’s an excellent cafe just a few doors down (gets interrupted) -
NARRATOR: The woman cut the jeweler off mid-sentence.
WOMAN: (no-nonsense) You are the owner of this shop, I presume?
NARRATOR: The jeweler nodded.
JEWELER: I am.
WOMAN: The one everyone calls “the most skilled and honest jeweler in the city”?
NARRATOR: The jeweler... blushed.
JEWELER: (blushing) I am.
WOMAN: Then you’re exactly the man I’m looking for. I’m here on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.
NARRATOR: The jeweler felt his eyes bulge out of his head
JEWELER: The Queen?!? Sent you… to me…?!?
WOMAN: Yes! Her Majesty has scoured the country, seeking out the jeweler with the most expertise… and the most integrity. She did a lot of asking around… and then she found… you. She sent me to see if you’re really as good as everyone says you are.
NARRATOR: The jeweler’s heart began to race, but he tried to appear calm.
JEWELER: (trying to appear nonchalant) Well, come in! Come in! My errand can wait.
NARRATOR: The jeweler’s fingers were like butter as he fumbled with the lock on the door. Finally, the latch gave way, and he led the woman inside the shop. Quickly, he hung his coat on the wall, and stepped up to the counter.
JEWELER: (takes a deep breath) So. How may I help you?
WOMAN: Well. The Queen is looking to buy a precious stone: a diamond of the highest quality. She will use the diamond as a pendant for a necklace, to give her daughter the Princess on her sixteenth birthday. Would you be good enough to show me what you have in the way... of diamonds…?
NARRATOR: The jeweler was so excited...and flattered... that he forgot all about the tailor. He forgot all about the tailor’s necklace, too. Instead, he rushed around the shop, bringing out his finest diamonds for the woman to examine.
One by one, she took the diamonds and squinted as she held them to the light. But with each and every stone, she’d frown, hand it back to the jeweler, and say:
WOMAN: Too small!
WOMAN: Too many flaws!
WOMAN: Not bright enough!
NARRATOR: At last, the jeweler had run out of diamonds.
JEWELER: I’m sorry, but you’ve come to the end of my collection. That’s all I’ve got.
NARRATOR: The woman looked surprised.
WOMAN: Oh? There’s nothing else? What about that… over there?
NARRATOR: She pointed her finger at the wall, where the jeweler had hung his coat.
And do you remember what was draped over the very next hook?
The tailor’s necklace.
NARRATOR: What do you think the jeweler will do? Will “the most skilled and honest jeweler in the city” try passing off a piece of glass… as a diamond, to help his friend?
We’ll find out… after a quick break.
NARRATOR: Welcome back to Circle Round. I’m Rebecca Sheir and today our story is called “All That Glitters.”
When we left off, the jeweler had just shown all of his diamonds to a representative of the Queen. She found fault with every single one of them. But then… she asked about the tailor’s necklace. The pendant was hanging on a hook on the wall. The tailor had fallen on hard times, and wanted the jeweler to sell the pendant; he told the jeweler it was priceless. But the jeweler knew it was just plain glass.
WOMAN: Well? What are you waiting for! I must see that necklace at once!
NARRATOR: Trembling, the jeweler handed the woman the tailor’s necklace. She wrapped the chain around her fingers and ran to the window. As she held the pendant up to the sun, a million rainbow specks danced across the walls.
WOMAN: Well! I am speechless!
NARRATOR: The jeweler threw up his hands.
JEWELER: (thinking she’s seen the truth, very apologetically) I know! I’m sorry! I was going to say something, but you caught me so off-guard and -
WOMAN: (interrupting) Wait! What are you talking about?
JEWELER: (unsure as to what’s going on) What... are you talking about?
WOMAN: I’m talking about this necklace! It’s positively... stunning! I’ve never seen a diamond of such brilliance, such clarity! Don’t you love the way it sparkles in the sunlight? And to think: the stone is already set as a pendant! It’s perfect for the Princess! I’ll take it!
NARRATOR: The jeweler felt pearls of sweat form on his brow.
JEWELER: You’ll take it…?
WOMAN: Yes! How much do you want for it?
NARRATOR: The jeweler felt his tongue tie up in a thousand knots.
WOMAN: I said… How much do you want for it? (pause) Alright. I see how you operate here. How about I make you an offer? I’ll give you five-hundred gold pieces.
NARRATOR: Again, the jeweler couldn’t speak.
WOMAN: Hmm. Not high enough for you? Six-hundred, then. (pause) Seven-hundred…? (pause) Alright. One-thousand gold coins. But that’s my final offer!
NARRATOR: The woman reached into her purse.
WOMAN: Here’s the thing, though: I only have one-hundred gold coins with me. I can give you the rest tomorrow.
NARRATOR: As the one-hundred coins landed on the counter with a clink, the jeweler was finally able to blurt out… something.
JEWELER: But... wait! The necklace - (gets interrupted)
WOMAN: (interrupting) No ‘buts’ about it! You must sell me the necklace; I insist. I will come back for it tomorrow. Goodbye!
NARRATOR: For the second day in a row, the jeweler slumped down on the counter, his head in his hands.
JEWELER: I can’t believe this! Am I really going to sell the tailor’s necklace… to the Queen? I mean, one-thousand gold pieces! Even with the cut I’d take as the seller, the tailor would be left with a nice chunk of change. But lying…? To the Queen…? I’ve never lied to anyone! If I don’t tell the truth, my honor will be as worthless as the tailor’s piece of glass.
NARRATOR: Again, that night, the jeweler couldn’t sleep. By the time the sun came up, he was groggy… and struggled to keep his eyes open.
When he arrived at the shop, the woman was already waiting outside. In her hands was a small wooden chest.
WOMAN: Good morning! I brought the rest of the gold coins!
NARRATOR: She followed the jeweler as he shuffled into the shop and turned on the lights.
When the woman opened the wooden chest, the nine-hundred gold coins were glittering so brightly, the jeweler had to shield his eyes!
WOMAN: Should we get on with our business deal, then? I’ll take the necklace... you take all the money.
NARRATOR: The jeweler took a deep breath.
JEWELER: You know what? How about we renegotiate that business deal?
WOMAN: What do you mean?
JEWELER: How about I keep the necklace... and you take all the money?
NARRATOR: The jeweler held out a sack containing the one-hundred gold coins from yesterday.
JEWELER: I’m sorry... but I can’t sell you this necklace. The Queen wants a diamond of the highest quality… but this pendant isn’t a diamond. It’s glass. It’s not a precious stone. It’s not ‘precious’ at all!
NARRATOR: To the jeweler’s surprise, the woman… smiled.
WOMAN: (sly, knowing, mysterious) “Not ‘precious,’” eh? Are you sure about that...?
NARRATOR: Just then, who should come bursting in to the shop but… the tailor!
TAILOR: Oh good! You’re here! I hope you haven’t sold my necklace yet, because… I need it back.
TAILOR: I know what I told you two days ago. But I’ve been thinking. This heirloom has been in my family for generations. My great-grandmother wore it at her wedding... then my grandmother.... then my mother! I’m getting married next month... and I want my bride to wear it, too.
NARRATOR: Suddenly, the jeweler understood what the woman meant when she asked if he was “sure about” the necklace not being “precious.”
He turned to the tailor.
JEWELER: Well, what a coincidence! I was actually going to return the necklace to you today. Your family has valued it for so long. I can’t sell it for you.
NARRATOR: Gently, he placed the necklace in the tailor’s hand.
TAILOR: Thank you so much! I’ll find another way to make some money. Selling something this priceless isn’t the answer.
NARRATOR: After the tailor had dashed out of the shop, the woman walked up to the jeweler… and shook his hand.
WOMAN: Congratulations. You’ve passed the Queen’s test.
JEWELER: I’ve what…?!?
WOMAN: It’s like I told you yesterday: the Queen wanted to find the most skilled and honest jeweler in all the land. She sent me to find out if your reputation was well-deserved… and indeed, it is.
JEWELER: Wait a minute - did you know that necklace was actually glass?
NARRATOR: The woman nodded.
JEWELER: And yet you were going to give me a-thousand gold coins for it?
WOMAN: Had you taken those gold coins, you would have failed the test. But now that you’ve passed — with flying colors, I might add — you may receive your reward. All those diamonds you showed me yesterday… each one was more beautiful than the next. I will buy them all.
NARRATOR: And... she did! The jeweler was suddenly wealthier than he’d ever imagined. But he knew he couldn’t keep all the Queen’s money for himself.
He marched right over to the tailor’s shop and offered him half of the woman’s payment. It was enough to cover the wedding, and to keep the tailor and his wife comfortable for years.
The jeweler had spent his entire life dealing in things that glittered, sparkled and shined. And all of them brought a very good price.
But he’d learned an important lesson: when it all comes down to it, it’s the value of things that really matters. And you can’t put a price tag... on that.