"I wish my mother had a ring like those the ladies wear at the hotel," said Hiram Green to himself one day.
"There isn't one of those ladies as pretty as my mother; she ought to wear
Hiram was the son of a fisherman, but the fisherman had died when Hiram was a little boy. Hiram's mother took in sewing and fancy work to earn money to support herself and her
son. He helped her what he could out of school hours, and in vacation.
He had two uncles who wad taught him how to catch shrimps. With the money
he earned by selling them he could buy things for his own use or pleasure.
He had a bank almost full of what he called his "shrimp-money." He did
not mean to count his money until the bank was full.
Now Hiram loved his mother more than
anything else in the world. Whenever he dreamed of being rich some time,
as boys often do, it was not for himself he wanted the money, but that
his dear little mother might drive in a carriage, drawn by a pair of horses
with clanking chains.
The sight of the flashing gems on
the hands of some of the summer visitors at the fishing village in which
he lived had added a new article to the list of beautiful things his mother
was some day to own. He had heard that just one single diamond was sometimes
worth five hundred dollars or more. This had discouraged him very much.
But one day happening to pass a shop in the neighboring town he saw a number
of rings displayed in the window. Diamond rings which flashed and sparkled,
it seemed to him, just as those worn by the ladies in the hotels. He stopped
fascinated, ana pressed his face against the glass eagerly to see if any
prices were marked upon them. Imagine his surprise when he saw upon the
largest one a tag marked $4.75. He looked again to see if he had not made
a mistake. Perhaps it was $475.00. But no, he knew enough about figures
to see that he was right the first time.
Home he went as fast as he could
get there, and ran up into his bedroom. Then, for the first time since
he had begun to save his "shrimp-money" he opened his bank and counted
its contents. "Three dollars and twenty-two cents!" he cried, "almost enough.
I was going to buy something for myself this time, but I'll have that ring
before another week."
Hiram worked early and late for the
next few days. He caught more shrimps than he had ever caught in the same
length of time, and sold them readily.
"I think there must be something
you are wanting, very much, my boy," said his mother.
"Yes, there is," replied Hiram.
At the end of the week he had the
sum he desired. Hurrying to the shop where he had seen the ring, before
going inside he gave one hasty, almost frightened look into the window.
Could it be gone! No, there it was flashing and sparkling as before.
That evening, he placed it on his
mother's finger. She looked at it in surprise. "It is yours, mother," he
cried, proudly, "your very own, I bought it with my shrimp money. I was
determined my mother should have a ring as handsome as those ladies wear."
"My dear boy," said his mother, while
something as bright as the shining stone flashed in her eyes, "Not one
of those ladies can value their rings as I shall value mine."
Years afterwards Hiram learned that
what he had bought for a diamond was only a bit of glass.
"Did you know it then, mother?" he
His mother nodded. "And you never
"It was brighter to me than any real
diamond," she said, "the brightness I saw flash in it was the unselfish
love of my boy."
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