True Value (The Gift)

True Value (The Gift)

All of us at one time or other have come upon these wise words: “Don’t judge a book by its cover. “ Yet in our fast paced society, we often rush headlong into things, make erroneous judgements, form ill conceived opinions and then follow the wayward paths that lead us astray. We would fare far better if cool heads prevailed. Be open- minded, don’t rely so heavily on the first impressions and remember: a second opinion would help to determine the truth.

Once upon a time there was a wise young geologist named Leon who chanced upon a very rare find during excavation in high altitudes. The item was half buried in the riverbank alongside a rushing turbulent stream. To the untrained eye, the object resembled a huge chunk of ice with a slightly pinkish hue, only it was solid as a rock. But Leon having at once recognized its true value carefully stored it away until he could acquire a very elaborate box to contain it.  This rosewood box had jewels inlaid on its side with brilliant patterns of stars and constellations carved in gold and silver all the way around it. Inside was lined with the finest plush, soft velvet.

At the end of his carefree adventurous days, having grown rather opulent, Leon decided to settle down and remarry in order to provide his precious young boy Kori with a more stable home. A pretty young widow with a single child of her own appeared to be the most suitable candidate and so before long they were married in an elaborate ceremony.  Unfortunately her true nature soon surfaced and he discovered their underlying incompatibility. Struggling with his inner dissatisfaction over the years Leon suffered some setbacks and fell on hard times. On the urgings of his second wife he parted with most of his precious possession in order to keep up with her and her daughter’s extravagant demands but always resisted the idea of selling his rare find.

Once on a quiet day alone in his study with his son, who also shared his interest in reading, Leon had allowed Kori to handle the pinkish stone. “You like it too, don’t you son?” He’d asked with bemused smile on his lips as he reached to retrieve the stone.

“Yes, papa, I do, it’s such an interesting rock. Tell me again how you found it.”  In truth Kori loved the story more than the rock itself and never got tired of hearing it. His father equally enthused, always obliged him with such colourful elaboration. This day at the end of his narration however, his father looked grim and said, “I ‘m sorry you had to suffer such unwarranted hardships on my account but I could not bring myself to part with it. “ He looked up earnestly then and said the strangest thing. “Actually, I’ve been saving it for you. “  With a shrug he then arose and, after carefully placing it into that beautiful box again, walked over and promptly placed it in the safe concealed behind an obscure painting hanging above his desk.

When some years later Leon fell mysteriously ill and died intestate his holdings and the affairs of the entire estate were bestowed upon his wife.  She lost no time in selling the property, the land and everything of value, including the precious box that, by the way, fetched a pretty handsome price.  But as for the lump of stone inside, before selling the box, she’d simply taken it out and on the verge of throwing it away, after a second thought, thrust it into the palm of her stepson and said, “Now, don’t go complaining that I haven’t given you anything from your dad.”

The boy remembered well what his father had said that day long ago, though he’d never shared this with anyone. And so he graciously accepted this paltry gift from his stepmother and happily tucked it away in his pocket.

Predictably, she’d next sought to rid herself of the burden of Kori, and sent this poor orphan packing to a distant paternal relative.  The boy grew up there modestly and without incident, till one day, when he was handling this rock in the classroom, it drew the attention of his Geography teacher.

The rest as they say is history.  The piece of rock proved to be an uncut, priceless pink diamond that fetched a fortune at auction, affording the poor little boy comfort and riches beyond anyone’s imagination.

By Bo and Steve

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