The boy halted his breathless dash to stare in wonder at the towering shelves of books covering two walls. "What is it, Davey?" asked Grandpa Josiah, as he looked up from his worn black book.
"Oh, Grandpa, could we walk to the pond?--but you are reading, and Mama says I should never interrupt. Pleeease, could we go for a walk when you are done reading? Oh, Grandpa, Iíve never seen so many books! You arenít going to read ALL of them before we can go to the pond, are you?!"
Josiah chuckled, "No, Davey, Iím done reading. Iím going to spend the rest of the day with you my precious grandson. Besides, Iíve already read many of them."
"Grandpa, why do you read so much?" Davey asked as Josiah headed for the door.
"Itís because Iím curious about the world God made," Josiah said, "and books help answer my questions. The book I was just reading is the best book ever written for doing that...and itís more valuable than all the treasure on earth!"
"Wow! That must be one special book, Grandpa!" exclaimed Davey as the two paused to put on jackets.
"I just thought of something. While we are walking to the pond, why donít I tell you a make-believe story about curiosity--and books?"
"Yes, Grandpa! I love stories!"
"There lived a rich man who was curious about EVERYTHING. He spent much money so he could own every important book, and he spent every spare moment reading every one of those books. Since he didnít want to forget anything he read, he never got rid of a single book--so he had to keep building bigger rooms in which to store them all."
"Just like the library in your house, huh, Grandpa?"
"Oh, no, Davey! His was much bigger--bigger than three of my houses put together!"
"Wow," sighed Davey.
"Well," Josiah continued, "one day the man heard about a very old book that was said to give the answers to all the questions of life. The man needed to spend all his money in order to purchase the book, and he traveled thousands of miles to collect it."
"When the man reached his destination, he gave his bags of money to the owner of the very old book, and said, 'I have come with all my remaining money to buy your wonderful book to add to my library of the most important books in the world.'"
"The bookís owner bowed to the man, saying, 'I would be honored to give you my book in exchange for your money, but I must warn you: do not remove the book from its box until you are home and it is midnight on the first full moon after the first day of spring. If you remove it any sooner than that, it will be destroyed and you will be ruined!'"
"The man thought to himself, 'Iíll do no such thing! How can he expect me to wait five whole months before I open the box? I am a curious man and I must know the answers to all the questions of life RIGHT NOW! I will pretend to obey his words, and when I get home I will open the box.'"
"The man reached home one day in mid-October, sat down, and opened the box. There lay the book with its golden cover begging to be opened. The man lifted the cover and suddenly a horde of insects poured out and scurried throughout his house. When the man calmed, he turned the first page of the book only to have it--and all the rest of the pages--crumble to dust. The man gave a moan, and sprang up, rushing into his huge library. Only piles of dust lay on the shelves where once thousands of books sat. The rustle of chewing insects could still be heard in the distance. 'No! No! Not ALL my beautiful books!' cried the man as he scanned his library. Only one book remained undisturbed: an old black Bible like the one I was reading this morning, Davey."
"--And more valuable than all the treasure on earth, right, Grandpa?"
"Yes, Davey. The man sat down and re-read that Bible from cover to cover, and then he re-read it again, and again. And you know what? Every time he read it he found out a few more answers to his questions of life, and he never again felt the need to own another book."
This is a work of fiction.
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