LESSON XVIII – THE WIDOW AND THE MERCHANT
- A merchant, who was very fond of music, was asked by a poor widow to give her some assistance. Her husband, who was a musician, had died, and left her very poor indeed.
- The merchant saw that the widow and her daughter, who was with her, were in great distress. He looked with pity into their pale faces, and was convinced by their conduct that their sad story was true.
- “How much do you want, my good woman?” said the merchant.
- “Five dollars will save us,” said the poor widow, with some hesitation.
- The merchant sat down at his desk, took a piece of paper, wrote a few lines on it, and gave it to the widow with the words, “Take it to the bank you see on the other side of the street.”
- The grateful widow and her daughter, without stopping to read the note, hastened to the bank. The banker at once counted out fifty dollars instead of five, and passed them to the widow.
- She was amazed when she saw so much money. “Sir, there is a mistake here,” she said. “You have given me fifty dollars, and I asked for only five.”
- The banker looked at the note once more, and said, “The check calls for fifty dollars.”
- “It is a mistake–indeed it is,” said the widow.
- The banker then asked her to wait a few minutes, while he went to see the merchant who gave her the note.
- “Yes.” said the merchant, when he had heard the banker’s story, “I did make a mistake. I wrote fifty instead of five hundred. Give the poor widow five hundred dollars, for such honesty is poorly rewarded with even that sum.”