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One afternoon a little girl, who had eagerly wished to go, turned back from the Sunday-school door, crying bitterly because there was no more room . . . [I] asked her why it was that she was crying, and she sobbingly replied that it was because they could not let her into the Sunday-school . . . I said to her that I would take her in, and I did so, and I said to her that we should some day have a room big enough for all who should come.



She was a lovable little thing — but in only a few weeks after that she was taken suddenly ill and died; and at the funeral her father told me, quietly, of how his little girl had been saving money for a building-fund. And there, at the funeral, he handed me what she had saved — just fifty-seven cents in pennies.


At a meeting of the church trustees I told of this gift of fifty-seven cents — the first gift toward the proposed building-fund of the new church that was some time to exist. For until then the matter had barely been spoken of, as a new church building had been simply a possibility for the future.


The trustees seemed much impressed, and it turned out that they were far more impressed than I could possibly have hoped, for in a few days one of them came to me and said that he thought it would be an excellent idea to buy a lot on Broad Street — the very lot on which the building now stands.


I talked the matter over with the owner of the property, and told him of the beginning of the fund, the story of the little girl. The man was not one of our church, nor, in fact, was he a church-goer at all, but he listened attentively to the tale of the fifty-seven cents and simply said he was quite ready to go ahead and sell us that piece of land for ten thousand dollars, taking — and the unexpectedness of this deeply touched me — taking a first payment of just fifty-seven cents and letting the entire balance stand on a five-per-cent mortgage!


(Dr. Russell H. Conwell, Acres of Diamonds, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1915 pp. 88-92. Authenticated by Snopes.com)

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