Mysterious Gifts & Honest Boys
If you’ve read any old literature at all, you’ve run across at least one of these stories. Possibly originally published in a Sunday school paper in the early 18-19th century, they revolve around the Poor But Honest Young Lad. The PBHYL usually has a saintly mother who washes clothes for a living, rubbing her Christian knuckles raw across the dirty linen of the town. This boy doesn’t swear, smoke or drink and he spends 18 hours every day sweeping the streets or selling papers.
Suddenly, a Secretly Wealthy Man shows up on the scene. Maybe his horses bolt and the young lad boldly seizes the reins and stops them from killing their master. Or maybe the SWM hires the young lad as a clerk to check his books.
Usually, this Rich Man arranges some kind of weird morality test. He leaves $500 in cash on his desk and leaves the poor clerk all alone in the office with it. Or he says, “I know I can trust you, here’s the key to my safe deposit box. Take this large lump of gold and put it into there, please.”
Now, in Real Life, the young man would do the moral thing. He would steal the $500 and save his mother from the drudgery of being a washwoman. However, in these stories, the young man valiantly resists temptation—although one wonders how stupid you would have to be to seize such obvious bait—and suddenly, the Rich Man realizes that this is the honest, good boy that he has been looking for.
”John,” he says, laying a fatherly hand on the young lad’s shoulders, “I’ve made a lot of money in my lifetime. Never had time to have my own family. I want my money to go a good person, the kind of person that I know will do good with it. You’ve proved yourself to me, and now you’re heir to my millions.”
I love these stories. I’ve always wanted to have some rich person randomly leave me their fortune because I held the door open for them or because I smiled at them. This lovely vision provides a lot of incentive to be kind and good, even though these fantasies belong strictly to the realm of, “It only happens in books,”.
So, when I first posted in the RAK group on Ravelry (Random Acts of Kindness) I didn’t really expect anything to happen. I simply said that I wanted a spindle or roving, and that Little Si looked nice. Suddenly, I received a message from a lovely woman called knittinggalore sent me a message. Not only did she have a spindle, she had a Little Si that she didn’t want to use anymore!
But the story doesn’t end there, although it certainly brightened my day! I’m waiting for it to arrive. THANK YOU, Heidi!
Continuing on: in my Thursday post, I included some pictures of my local yarn store, Market Street Yarn & Crafts—check out the new website! I sent a message to Jamie, the person who is putting the website together and told her that she could use any of my pictures on the site. She sent a quick message back, saying that next time I dropped into the store, I would have to sign a form stating that I gave her my permission, etc, just to have everything proper and legal. I said, of course, that’s fine.
So when a large envelope came from the yarn store, I immeaditely assumed that Jamie had mailed me the release/permission form. I slid my finger under the seal and promptly cut my finger on the metal tab. I yelled, handed the envelope to my older sister, and ran to dab at the cut with some tissue. The Artist (my sister) opened it for me and handed me a sheet of paper. Still holding the tissue around my finger, I grabbed the picture, ready to affix my signature to wherever it needed to go.
Then I paused.
This wasn’t a permission form.
Across the top was emblazoned, “Market Street Yarn & Crafts Gift Certificate.”
I sucked in my breath. Under Gift Certificate Amount was not an amount of money. It simply said two words.
Yes. That’s right. In my bloodied and trembling hands, I held a certificate for the Beginner Spinning class that is starting next month. The Beginner Spinning class. The spinning class that costs seventy-five bucks! The class that I’ve wanted to take, but was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to afford.
There was nothing on the certificate to tell me who sent it. I sent an incoherent message to Leanne (aka: Elrond) asking if she knew anything about this. In the midst of my wild hope, I somehow wondered if there was some trick involved.
Leanne sent back a discreet message, stating simply that the gift certificate came from an anonymous donor, not associated with the yarn store. Not someone that I knew from the yarn store. It was, in fact, a genuine mysterious person.
I have been in shock all day. I still can’t quite believe that this is true. I have racked my mind, trying to pinpoint who it could be. It’s not my parents, I know that. It’s not from my knitting buddies. I have no idea who gave me this very amazing gift.
So, Mysterious Person, if you read this blog, you know that I’m saying THANK YOU. Just…thanks.