Sometimes people miss the most precious things around them, while others can enlighten and become the lucky ones.
Once upon a time, there was a man who was very frugal but spent lavishly on art. Over the years, he collected many famous paintings. One year, his country was involved in a war, and his only son joined the army.
Not long after, the father was informed that his son had died on the battlefield. His son had initially retreated to safety, but to save his wounded fellow soldiers, he ran back into the fray to carry them out one by one. As he was carrying the last one to safety, a bullet hit him.
The first Christmas after his son’s death, the doorbell rang. The father opened the door and saw a young man.
“Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the wounded soldier your son was carrying when he died.
“I am very poor and have nothing of value, but I remember your son said that you love art. Although I am not an artist,” said the young man with tears in his eyes, “I have painted a portrait of your son to thank him for saving my life, and I hope you will accept it.”
The father took the package, opened it layer by layer, held the portrait in his hands, took down the famous painting over the fireplace, and hung up the portrait of his son.
With tears in his eyes, the father said to the young man, “Son, this will be the most precious piece in my collection. It is worth more to me than any of my other paintings!”
A year later, the father passed away and his entire collection was to be auctioned off at Christmas. The first lot was the portrait of his son, not the masterpiece that everyone expected. Everyone asked the auctioneer to put up the famous painting first, but the auctioneer said, “The portrait must be sold before the auction can continue.”
Just then, an elderly man stood up and said, “Sir, will ten dollars do? That’s all the money I have on me. I knew this young man. He died protecting his fellow soldiers.”
The auctioneer said, “Sold!”
Just as people were looking forward to the “main event,” the auctioneer said, “Thank you all for coming! Today’s auction is now over.”
Everyone in the audience was stunned. None of the famous paintings had been put up for auction yet. How could it be over?
The auctioneer said, “According to this man’s will, whoever bought his son’s portrait would own his entire collection. That was the reserve price!”
Collectors who had gathered for a chance to buy those famous paintings did not realize that the portrait the old man purchased for ten dollars was the most valuable one of all.