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THE RICHEST MAN’S DEATH


Carl was a very rich man who owned a great estate. One of his favorite pastimes was riding horseback through his valley, looking at everything he owned & congratulating himself on his great wealth.


One day, as Carl was riding along, he came up over a hill & in the distance saw one of his tenant farmers, an old man named Hans. It was lunch time, & Hans had set a little table under a shade tree & was getting ready to eat. But before he ate, he bowed his head & folded his hands in prayer to thank God for his food.


Carl watched the old man as he prayed. Then he looked at his meal. It was only a slice of coarse bread & a piece of cheese. With a sneer Carl said, "If that’s all I had to eat, I wouldn’t even bother to pray." Hans replied humbly, "It’s enough, & I’m thankful that God has provided it."


Taken aback by the old man’s answer, Carl turned his horse & prepared to ride away. But before he could leave, old Hans said, "Wait a minute. I need to tell you something. I had a dream last night. In my dream I saw a beautiful scene, & then I heard a voice saying, `Tonight the richest man in the valley will die. Tonight the richest man in the valley will die."


"Poppycock!" said Carl as he rode off toward home. But as he was riding, the words of old Hans haunted him, "Tonight the richest man in the valley will die." Up to then he had felt quite well, but now he was beginning to experience pains in his chest. He wondered, "Could it possibly be true? Am I going to die tonight?"


When he reached home he called his doctor & told him of old Han’s dream & of the pains that he had been feeling. The doctor said, "Well, it doesn’t sound like anything you ought to be concerned about, but just to put your mind at ease, I’ll come over & examine you."


So the doctor did. After the examination was over he said, "Carl, you’re as strong as a horse. There’s no way you’re going to die tonight." Carl said, "Well, I feel mighty foolish that I paid any attention to the old man’s dream about the richest man in the valley dying tonight. But I just wanted to be certain."


So, reassured, Carl went to bed. The next morning there was a knock on his door, & the messenger said, "Carl, old Hans died last night." Truly, the richest man in the valley died last night.


SOURCE: In Henry Garrity’s book, "Portraits of Perseverance."

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