The winding road, with a boulevard of trees looked welcoming. A yellow rain of flowers on either side left a subtle perfume in the air. At the end of this winding road, stood a wondrous piece of architecture- the town’s library. The sandstone building’s arched turquoise blue windows made it stand out. The windows had the most beautiful stained glass that glinted in the soft morning sunshine.
Dew was still fresh on the patch of lawn around the ancient library and old Eleanor walked towards the door. It was time to open the library for the day. She’d been the running the library for as long as anyone in the town could remember. The door creaked open and she walked in, every day with the same excitement. Eleanor’s desk was always tidy and in the perfect spot near one of the huge windows. Her mornings were always busy making sure all the records were up-to-date and the inventory maintained. Old Eleanor was bent over but she would muster all her strength and shuffle as fast as she could through the aisles of books. It would take all morning just to cover maybe a small portion of the endless library. Oh, the number of books the shelves held and that too dating back to times immemorial! But Eleanor knew each one of them like the back of her palm.
One would think Eleanor’s library had little or no visitors but this quaint little town loved their reading time. Children, youngsters, people of all ages would come in, searching. Her kind and intelligent green eyes would peer at them through her oval spectacles and smile fondly. Then she would needle through the shelves with her dainty wrinkled fingers, pause, look again and exclaim when she found something special for the reader.
Stories of fairies, dragons, kingdoms, brave warriors, knights, people, magical creatures, the curiosities of science, philosophy, languages around the world, culture, life from different eras and so much more was found in these books. Some of the books had fragile spines, fading leather binding and yellowing brittle pages. Some had a lone ink blotch or a stain from a beverage someone had been drinking while poring over the book. Many of the books had tiny notes scribbled on the sides- maybe by a student who was studying, a writer looking for ideas, a researcher or a reader just wanting to spill their thoughts.
These scribblings, creases, and stains were stories within the stories the books held- quiet stories that stood in the shelf, waiting for Eleanor to hand them to the next earnest reader.
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