The Son

2007-10-04 | 11:25:34 EST

A rich man and his only son had great passion for art. There was everything in his collection: from Picasso to Rafael. They would often sit down to admire the works of the masters.

Unfortunately, the son left for the war. He was very brave and died in combat while rescuing another soldier. The father received the news and suffered indescribably.

A month later, just before the Christmas, somebody knocked on the door. A youth with a large package in his hands said to the father, "Mr., you don’t know me? I’m the soldier who your son died for. He pulled me to a safe place, when a bullet hit him in the chest. He very often spoke of you and of your love for art."

The boy reached out to give the man the package. "I know that this isn’t a lot. I’m not a great artist, but I believe that your son would have liked you to have it." The father opened the wrapping and was silent. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young soldier.

A few months later the man died and there was announced an auction of all the paintings he possessed. Numbers of wealthy people went with high hopes. The son's portrait was on the platform.

The auctioneer pounded his mallet to begin the sale.

"We’ll begin the auction with this portrait. Who will make the first bid on 'The Son?'"

There was a great silence. Then a voice yelled out, "We want to see the famous paintings. Forget that!" However, the auctioneer persisted: "Does anyone want to offer $100... or $200?" Another voice rang out with anger: "We didn't come here for that; we came for the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts!... Let’s see the real works!"

Still, the auctioneer continued: "The Son, The Son, who will make an offer?" Finally someone in the back spoke. The old gardener of the father and son —a very poor man— offered ten pesos, all that he had. The auctioneer shouted: "Ten, going once; ten, going twice!... Sold!"

"Let us begin once and for all with the collection!" called out those present. The auctioneer loosed his mallet and said, "I’m very sorry ladies and gentlemen, but the auction has concluded. According to a secret clause of the owner's testament, only the painting 'The Son' would be sold. Whoever bought it would inherit everything."

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