Sunday, December 18, 2005

Heart & Soul

Here's the story goes......

A wealthy man and his only son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works they had accumulated.

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war.He was very courageous and died while trying to rescue another soldier. The father was notified and he grieved deeply for his son.

About a month later, just before Chrismas, there was a knock on the door. A young man was standing there, with a large package in his hands. He said:"Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day...he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art."

The young man held out the package."I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."

The father opened the package. Inside was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured his personality in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes of his son that his own welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.

"Oh, no sir. I could never repay what your son did for me. It'a a gift."

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time he had visitors, he would show them the portrait of his son, before showing any of the other works he had collected.

The man died a few months into the new year. Soon after that, there was to be a big auction of his collected paintings. Many influential people gathered for the event, excited about viewing his collection and getting the opportunity to purchase one or two pieces for themselves.

On the auction platform sat the painting of he son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel.

"We will start the bidding with this picture. Who will bid for it?"

There was a silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted,"We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."

But the auctioneer persisted:"Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding?$100?$200?"

Another voice cried out angrily."We didn't come to see this! We want to see the Van Goghs and Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!"

Still, the auctioneer continued,"The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the long-time gardener of the man and his son."I'll give $10 for the painting."It was all he could afford.

"We have $10. Now who will bid $20?"

"Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters."

"$10 is the bid. Won't someone offer $20?"

The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.

The auctioneer pounded the gavel."Going once, twice...SOLD for $10!"

A man sitting in the second row shouted," Now let's get on with the collection!"

The auctioneer laid down his gavel and said, "I'm sorry, the auction is over."

"What about the paintings?"

"I'm sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. And whoever bought it would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings by the masters. The man who took the son gets everything!"

That's it. In the eyes of the world, the name and the price are the worth. But often, we do cast the most valueble thing aside because of its true.