A Silly Love Story
A young man was walking through his village one morning on his way to see his fiancée. In his hand he held his father's yardstick and a moneybag holding three silver dollars. As he strolled into town, the local printer spied him and the yardstick. Inquisitively he asked, "My dear boy, where are you going with that stick in your hand?"
"It's not a stick," the young man replied, chuckling and wondering if the printer needed an eye examination. "Well, actually it is a stick of sorts … a yardstick to be exact," he said with a wide smile. "I'm going to measure the love that my fiancée has for me to see if I should go through with this marriage."
"A little nervous, eh?" the printer asked with a wink.
The young man looked down at the yardstick and twisted his face as he pondered the question. Though he was somewhat embarrassed to admit it, after a moment of thought he finally responded, "I guess so."
The printer laughed. "Everyone feels that way to a certain degree, my lad. But you can't measure love with a
"You can't?" the young man exclaimed.
"No, no, no," the printer answered in the wisest of tones. "You must use a water table to measure a woman's love."
The young man had never heard of such a thing. But the printer was older and apparently wiser than he, so he asked, "Where can I find a water table?"
The printer had broken his yardstick the day before and had been too lazy to go to the mercantile to purchase a new one. He saw this as a way to avoid the trip and make a little money from the naïve youth. "I happen to have one that I can sell to you for one dollar and that ruler."
"Yardstick," the young man corrected.
"Whatever," the printer replied. "Are you interested?"
Without thinking, the young man pulled out his moneybag, gave the man one of his silver dollars and then handed over the yardstick. The printer flipped the coin in the air, caught it in his hand, and put it into the pocket of his apron. With a skip he entered the print shop and in only a moment emerged with a large glass jar, complete with markings on the side.
The youth was so mesmerized with the device that he didn't even ask the printer how to use it. He turned and joyfully ambled along Main Street staring at the large jar in his hands, joyful that he had found the true way to measure love. Snickering, the printer patted his apron pocket and sauntered back into his shop.
It was a wonderful spring morning and many people were out on the street, including old widow Parker, the town's best jam preserver. The woman was sweeping her front porch as the gentleman walked past. "Young man, young man," she called, tossing her straw broom aside and hurrying down the steps toward the street. "What is in that jar you're carrying there in your paws?"
"Oh, it's a water table," the man replied after adjusting his eyes to see who had summoned him. "I'm on my way to measure the love of my fiancée."
The old woman suddenly became very hospitable, sensing the smell of boondoggle in the air. "Well, don't you know that the U.S. commission on weights and measurements just revised the standards on regulation love measurement contraptions?"
"Noooo," the young man said in surprise.
"Yessss," the old woman said in response, her eyes wide with intrigue.
"You mean this won't…"
"Won't do you a darn bit of good in this country. Why, you couldn't measure a tick's wing on the back of a hound dog with that thing," the elderly woman declared, her hands just itching to pour boiled peaches into the jar.
The man's heart dropped and he slumped down on the old woman's front steps. "The printer must not have received the news," he said dejectedly. "What can I do?"
"There, there," old widow Parker said, patting the young man on the shoulder. "I can help you out…" her face brightened with a mischievous smile, "…if you have the price."
The man looked up with anticipation. "Anything! Name it."
And so, in exchange for a silver dollar and the glass jar the woman gave him an old bathroom scale. "Why, this is all dented," he exclaimed.
"It's last year's model," the woman replied as the screen door slammed behind her. "But it still works fine." With that she closed the large oak front door and pulled down the shade.
Undaunted, the man turned and walked down the stairs and back onto the street, happy that he would soon see his sweetheart and measure her love according to the United States government.
By now the sun was high in the sky and the town was full of activity. But the young man barely noticed the others on Main Street as he carefully examined the modern machine in his hands. As he strolled through town he passed Al's Antique Shop. Now Al, the proprietor of Al's Antique Shop, was a big, burly man, standing about 6 foot, 2 inches, and weighing somewhere in the vicinity of 275 pounds. The barrel-chested man chewed a day-old cigar as he peered out the window onto the street. Suddenly he spied the young man and the dented bathroom scale. With a crash the front door of his establishment burst open and Al flew out onto the street.
"Where in tarnation is you headed with that thar bathroom scale, my friend?" Al asked with a roar.
The crash of the door startled the young man and he almost dropped the precious measuring device. "I'm on my way to my fiancée's to determine her love for me," he replied, a little upset at being stopped yet again.
"Why, how are you gonna measure a woman's love with that thing?" Al asked between coughs and sputters.
"Well, old widow…"
The shrewd salesman cut in before the youth could utter a full sentence. Putting his big arm around the shoulder of the impressionable young man, he led him to the array of various items on display in front of the shop. "Let me show you the only magical, undeniable way of measuring a lassie's affection." The man wheezed as he bent over and picked up a single piece of clear glass cut the day before while replacing a broken window. "Here, my friend, is the newest, finest, most confidential way of finding the heart of a woman." Spying the confused look on the young man's face, the salesman elaborated, "It has even been tested by the United States Cavalry."
This caught the young man's attention. "The Cavalry, you say?" he asked putting the scale down and gingerly taking the glass from the salesman.
The corners of the antique dealer's smile slowly edged upward. "I can give it to you for the low, low price of one dollar and that hideous bathroom scale."
The young man was dumbfounded by the fantasy he saw before him. He dug deep into his moneybag and pulled out his final silver dollar. Grabbing the coin and the scale the businessman walked casually back into his shop, chewing now and then on his cigar.
"Oh sir," the young man poked his head into the antique store. "How does it work?"
"You just hold it up to the woman standing ten yards away," the salesman sputtered. "If you can see her through the glass, she loves you."
The young man tilted his head like a Golden Retriever looking at an unopened door, pondering the wonder of this device. After a moment he shrugged his shoulders and returned to the street.
As he arrived at the other end of town he turned off Main Street and onto the wooded path that led to his girlfriend's home. In the excitement of the moment, he began running up the narrow lane toward the house. But his foot got caught on the root of a tree and he tumbled to the ground, dropping the measuring glass and shattering it into tiny pieces.
"Undoubtedly this ruined the magical effect," he said aloud as he picked himself up from the ground and wiped the dirt from his jacket and pant legs. As he stood, he spied some daisies growing on the side of the path. "At least I can give her these," he pondered, "seeing that I spent all the money that I had intended to use for a present." He gently picked the flowers, making a bouquet with some other wildflowers and baby's breath that he found along the way.
As he neared the house, his fiancée saw him from her front porch and ran down the path to meet him. "I missed you so much," she cried as she threw her arms around him in an embrace. Sheepishly he held out the bouquet, which was now very beautiful with a large assortment of flowers. "Oh, they're gorgeous!" she exclaimed. Taking them in her hands she breathed in the lovely fragrance. "I love you!" she said with a smile, as she leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek. "Come on, let's go put them in some water!"
She took hold of his hand and the young couple raced up the path and back toward the house. As he followed his fiancée down the path and up the stairs into the house, suddenly the young man realized what he had known deep down all along. You don't need a yardstick, or a water table, or a scale, or a magical glass to measure someone's love. If a person loves you, you'll know it in your heart!
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NASB).
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