Farin dusted off the shiny thing and put it in his vest. His feet carried him back up the hill – for he would need to find a new cup – and did not notice the sting of the brambles on his bare soles, so wroth was he at fate.

But Farin’s little Uncle Bengilo faced a similar conundrum in their small thatch home that sat on the other side of the hill. Bengilo was a happy man, and happy men are often eccentric, if they can afford it. Uncle Bengilo was a metal-man. He had made the copper cup. He had also made humanoids. The townspeople were much in awe (at least the nicer ones), when they were not cursing his good luck – for indeed, it takes much good luck to make one’s way in the world.

But the humanoids, though finely-carved and brilliant, did not run.

That unfortunate aspect was soon to change for Uncle Bengilo. He was an adventurer after he was an inventor. And on his most important adventure (which the townspeople knew the least about), he had come out of the far side of a mountain of fine jewels with his chubby hands wrapped about two halves of a golden heart. The heart, if it stayed together, would bring a copper humanoid to life.

However, the heart had a most curious problem. For no matter how many chords bound the halves together, or whatever glue Bengilo concocted to keep them to each other, the heart would hold no longer than a single day without breaking pathetically apart. The humanoid would die.

And every time the heart would break, the bigger half (if it is not silly to say such a thing) would disappear and not show up for many days.

How it came to be outside the house, so far away – uphill no less – on that gray morning in fall, no one might have guessed.

When Farin came in through the low cottage door, he saw Bengilo sitting by the dank fire pit with a pipe in his lap. And above Bengilo stood the most important-looking wizard Farin had ever seen.

He was as gray as the old autumn sky, and wore nice blue robes, and a woody wand was slipped into his belt. He turned to Farin and the beard parted from the mustache where his mouth was.

“This is the boy, then? Your nephew is not very tall, Bengilo. I hope you have fed him quite enough.”

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