Jacob was a 67-year-old man who led an honest and quiet life. He had been a retired construction worker for more than 10 years and struggled to make ends meet. He was also a beloved member of his community. He spent a lot of time working with the local schools and teaching kids to play soccer.
One day, Jacob was collecting his mail from the mailbox when he saw a strange envelope with an unfamiliar address. When he opened it, it was a letter from John Douglas, his father’s lawyer. “This is strange, I haven’t heard anything from the man in 30 years,” he thought to himself.
The letter read: “Mr. Jacob Green, I was your father’s lawyer and he asked me to write you this letter 30 years after his death. He asked that you and your sisters Elin and Linda meet tomorrow in the forest near the old bridge. Below are the directions. Your sisters received the same letter.”
He decided to visit one of his neighbors to help him decide whether to go to the forest. “My friend, it’s nice to see you here,” said Karl as he opened the door to see Jacob standing outside. “Why are you here so early though? Is something bothering you?” Karl asked.
“You know me too well. I received a letter from my father’s lawyer this morning. Here, read it,” Jacob said as he gave his friend the letter.
“Wow! This is surprising. What’s the problem?” Karl asked.
“Well I’ve never told anyone this in many years, but my father was a very rich man. He owned a fleet of long-haul trucks and ran the business successfully for decades. When he died, his lawyer told us that my two sisters, Elin and Linda, and I, didn’t get anything,” Jacob said.
Karl was shocked at this revelation. “I know you and your sisters don’t talk but I didn’t know that your father was so wealthy,” he said.
“Well, we don’t talk because we fought a lot after his death. None of us believed that our father left us nothing, which made us turn on one another,” Jacob explained.
Karl advised his friend to to go the location the letter instructed him to go to. “Maybe this is the closure you need to understand why your father left you siblings nothing, and maybe this would also reunite you with your sisters,” Karl said.
Jacob heeded his friend’s advice and went to the forest. When he arrived, he saw his sisters already waiting. They walked around the forest quietly but didn’t see anything unusual. Until Linda saw an arrow leading to a small hut. They all followed the arrow and entered the hut. As they walked in, they saw a hatch with a note written on it.
“My dear children, I did not give leave you an inheritance after my death because I knew that if I did, you would definitely quarrel. Therefore, I wanted each of you to grow up, gain life experiences, realize your desires, goals, and needs first. You, Jacob, have always been honest, you knew what you wanted, you never wanted someone else’s, and did not have a goal to get rich.”
Linda and Elin giggled. “Jacob the saint,” Linda sneered. Jacob continued reading. “Linda and Elin have always been different. I love you very much, my daughters, but I knew that getting rich quickly could ruin you. That is why I did not leave you an inheritance then. Now I ask you to go one by one into this hatch and take yours. You can decide among yourselves who will go first.”
Linda moved to whisper in her sister’s ear. “Let’s go first, take everything, and leave this saintly idiot with nothing,” she said. Elin agreed and told Jacob to wait his turn.
Jacob suspected his sisters would do something like this but didn’t care for the inheritance. He was just disappointed that they hadn’t changed after 30 years.
The sisters opened the hatch and walked in. They spent about 30 minutes in there together and came out gloating at Jacob while carrying all the jewelry they could find.
“It’s your turn, Jacob, if you still find anything in there,” they said, laughing as they walked out.
Jacob walked in and found a family photo of them while they were children. It was in a gold frame. When he turned it over, he saw a note.
“Jacob, I am more than sure you’d be reading this because most likely your sisters took everything else. Below are the instructions for accessing my personal bank account. That’s where all my real wealth is. They’re all yours.
Your father.” Jacob laughed when he read the note. He had always loved his father’s mischievous side, but he outdid himself now!
Jacob rushed to the bank and was told that his father left more than a million dollars in his account for him. The money had gained interest over 30 years and would give him a very comfortable life.
Jacob decided to donate the majority of the money to the schools he often worked with and used the rest to buy himself a better house to give him a quiet and comfortable life.
What can we learn from this story?Selfishness never yields good results. Elin and Linda could have used the time apart from Jacob to become kinder people and possibly share in the inheritance, but their selfish actions meant they walked away with a lot less than they could have.
Generosity given is generosity returned. Jacob’s father knew of Jacob’s generous character and rewarded him for it decades after he died.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a poor girl who had to let go of her house due to debt but later found a hidden cellar inside it.