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A Father's Love




Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young 
son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, 
adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. 
Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate. 
The widowed, elder man looked on with satisfaction as his only child 
became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind 
caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.
As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left 
to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a
telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector 
anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within 
days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a 
fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the 
upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a 
season that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no
longer.
On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old 
man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only 
reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, he was 
greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced himself 
to the man by saying, "I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was 
rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to 
show you."
As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had 
told everyone of his, not to mention his father's, love of fine art. "I'm 
an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old 
man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the 
man's son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, 
the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail.
Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang 
the picture above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had
departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the 
painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars of 
paintings.  Then, the man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift 
he had been given.
During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even 
though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because 
of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued 
dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the 
stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and 
satisfaction began to ease the grief. The painting of his son soon became his most 
prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums
around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest 
gift he had ever received.
The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art 
world was in anticipation! Unmindful of the story of the man's only son, 
but in his honor; those paintings would be sold at an auction.
According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be
auctioned on Christmas day, the day he had received his greatest 
gift.  The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to 
bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be 
fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would claim "I have the
greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on 
any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son. The auctioneer 
asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. "Who will open the bidding 
with $100?" he asked. Minutes passed. No one spoke. From the back of the 
room came, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. 
Let's forget it and go on to the good stuff." More voices echoed in 
agreement.  "No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "Now, 
who will take the son?"
Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. "Will you take ten dollars 
for the painting? That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have 
it.  "I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer. After more
silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once, going twice. Gone." The 
gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get 
on with it and bid on these treasures!" The auctioneer looked at the audience 
and announced the auction was over.
Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What 
do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of some old guy's 
son.  What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars of 
art here! I demand that you explain what's going on here!" The auctioneer
replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, 
whoever takes the son . . . gets it all." 




 


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