A story is told of a man who loved old books. He met an acquaintance who had just
thrown away a Bible that had been stored in the attic of his ancestral home for
generations. "I couldn't read it," the friend explained. "Somebody named
Guten-something had printed it." "Not Gutenberg!" the book lover exclaimed
in horror. "That Bible was one of the first books ever printed. Why, a copy just sold
for over two million dollars!" His friend was unimpressed. "Mine wouldn't have
brought a dollar. Some fellow named Martin Luther had scribbled all over it in
Our Daily Bread, June 7, 1994.
In April 1667, English poet John Milton signed an agreement with Samuel Simmons, a
London publisher, by which he sold the copyright of Paradise Lost for five pounds, plus
five pounds for the sale of each of three subsequent editions, an edition comprising 1,500
copies. Milton received a second five pounds in April 1669, making a grand total of 10
pounds to the author of England's greatest epic. After his death, Milton's widow Elizabeth
sold all remaining rights for eight pounds to Simmons, who became perpetual copyright
owner. It's hard to imagine someone selling something of such great value for so little.
Today in the Word, April 7, 1993.
American artist James Whistler, who was never known to be bashful about his talent, was
once advised that a shipment of blank canvases he had ordered had been lost in the mail.
When asked if the canvases were of any great value, Whistler remarked, "not yet, not
Today in the Word, December 3, 1992.
At age 16 Andor Foldes was already a skilled pianist, but he was experiencing a
troubled year. In the midst of the young Hungarian's personal struggles, one of the most
renowned pianists of the day came to Budapest. Emil von Sauer was famous not only for his
abilities; he was also the last surviving pupil of the great Franz Liszt. Von Sauer
requested that Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged with some of the most difficult works
of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, von Sauer walked over to him and
kissed him on the forehead. "My son," he said, "when I was your age I
became a student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying,
'Take good care of this kiss--it comes from Beethoven, who gave it to me after hearing me
play.' I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, but now I feel you deserve
It was reported that eleven millionaires went down on the Titanic. Major A. H. Peuchen
left $300,000.00 in money, jewelry and securities in a box in his cabin. "The money
seemed a mockery at that time," he later said. "I picked up three oranges
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly:--'Tis dearness only that gives every
thing its value.
Kristin Lewis, about 8 years old, mentioned that her mother's birthday was soon
approaching. I asked her if she was going to make a birthday card on her father's
computer. She said, "No. If you make one on the computer they don't keep it on the
refrigerator as long as when you make one yourself."
We know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.