The books that lined the shelves were of many different colors, of many varying ages, and of many various authors. The bindings were leather and paper and even a cotton fabric material, and the lettering embossed upon them was in gold and silver and sometimes in plain ink. Authors that had been passed on reverently from age to age sat mightily in their rightful places, next to their respective equals: such writers as Defoe and Hawthorne sat side by side, while others, like Whitman and Thoreau surrounded them. Each book had been lovingly placed in its specific niche, and as the little girl gazed about the room, it was obvious to her that many hours had been spent placing and caring for this massive collection.
There was a distinct smell about the room--not the moldy mothball scent that a lot of people can smell when they walk into a well-aged library, but a smell that reminded the young girl of school and very faintly of knowledge. Strength seemed to give off a permanent kind of glow in this room, as though the books knew that neither time nor age would ever be able to reach them. The smell of age and wisdom and education overwhelmed the little girl and she stood staring up at the many rows of books in awe.
When the old woman came into the room, she found the small girl standing in the center of the room and spinning slowly around as she tried to take in every one of the books with her eyes. The old woman smiled down at the little girl.
"Are these all yours?"
"In a way, I guess they are," the old woman said with another smile. "But how can one really own a book in the first place?"
The little girl cocked her head in bewilderment.
The old woman laughed. "At one time, some of these books used to belong to my father, and his father, and his. This collection has been slowly built through the generations. One day, when you wish them, all of them will be yours, and then you can add your own favorites to the library."
The little girl stared at all the books surrounding her once more, and she could feel a sense of herself wrapped up within the aging volumes. Books were a part of her heritage and her history--they were something infinitely personal, and yet, she was able to share them with others easily. The wisdom that could be found in the books was something timeless, endless, and eternal....