The story is told of a man who married his childhood sweetheart.
After a couple of years, they decided they would like to start a family. Whereas all of their efforts to that end did not seem to be working out, they resigned themselves to being childless.
The man had good fortune in his choice of professions and quickly began to accumulate a goodly amount of wealth. Sharing a great love of art, they began traveling the world seeking out and, as they were able, purchasing works that appealed to them.
But one day, they discovered they were going to be parents after all.
The child was a healthy son and they were ecstatic. Unfortunately, there were some difficulties and the mother did not survive the birth.
The Father poured all the love he had for his wife into his son.
The son grew and over the years began to share in his parent’s love of the great masterpieces and other works which appealed to them..
In honor of his wife, the Father commissioned an artist whose work he admired to paint a portrait of his son. When this was completed, he chose a special place on the wall of the main gallery of his palatial home.
A few months thereafter, the son was killed in a tragic automobile accident.
Years past. As the Father continued to acquire various works of art, his collection became the envy of art collectors all over the world.
In his 75th year, the Father died. Having no heirs, the Father willed that every piece of his highly valuable collection be sold at auction. The world wide community of art collectors were both stunned and excited.
On the day of the auction, and in light of the number of world class masterpieces that were being offered, those in attendance were puzzled as to why a portrait of the man’s son had been given such a special position on the main wall of the gallery.
The Auctioneer announced that the auction was to begin. Everyone assembled in the main hall of the mansion.
The Executor of the Estate was introduced and he began reading the will of the deceased.
“It is the will of the deceased that the portrait of the
son on the wall of the main gallery be the first
item to be auctioned.”
This was not well received. The portrait of the son was by a relatively unknown portraitist and not of the quality of the other pieces. There was considerable murmuring about this and those present began verbally admonishing the Auctioneer to get on with the auction. They wanted the bidding to begin on the masterpieces they were hoping to acquire.
The Auctioneer opened the bidding with the son’s portrait. No one was interested in it.
The gardener, who had worked for the family even before the son was born, was standing in the back. He loved the son, had watched him grow up and had become sort of a mentor to the boy. When no one spoke up with a bid, he raised his hand and said he would bid $10.00.
After repeatedly attempting without success to secure additional bids, the Auctioneer said, “GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE, GOING THREE TIMES…. SOLD! FOR TEN DOLLARS, to the man in the back.
There were palpable expressions of relief whereupon the Executor began reading the rest of the Will.
It read as follows:
“Whoever purchases the portrait of my son, shall
be entitled to receive the balance of the
collection at no additional cost.”
The level of unbelief on the part of those present was almost unmeasurable. After repeatedly trying to get the Auctioneer’s attention and finally getting it, one man asked: “You mean, whoever has the Son, has it all?”
Auctioneer answered: “Those are the wishes of the Father.”
OH! REALLY? Hmm...
P.S. No one present seemed to note the use of the present tense in the Auctioneer’s initial reading of the deceased’s will nor in his reply to the man’s question above.