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The death of Uncle William
It all started with the death of the wealthy man William. Amongst friends and relatives; Uncle William. William was a nice and considerate man, but without children. Therefore, he gave all his love to nieces and nephews, and one niece in particularly. Her name was Suzanne, and she was seventeen years old. Suzanne lived with her grandparents, and had done that since her parents died when she was six. They were killed in a car accident. Nevertheless, Suzanne had a good life. Her grandparents loved her very much, and she never lacked anything. On the contrary, Suzanne was quite a spoiled young girl. Her grandparents felt so sorry for her that they let her do whatever she wanted to. Except from her grandparents and uncle, very few people liked Suzanne. She had a couple of friends, but they were just the same. What I am trying to say, is that Suzanne was indeed a very unpleasant person. Enough about her, now let us start the real story.
When William died, everybody was sure that he had split his fortune equally amongst his dearly beloved relatives. They were all very surprised when they found out he had not. In his bank box, they found his testament and a note. The note, had written some words that did not make sense at all on it. And the testament did not make things better. It said that everything he had owned would go to Suzanne, IF she found the secret hiding place before she turned eighteen. If she did not, everything would go to charity. Suzanne foamed with rage. “How can he do this to me? To ME?” she screamed when she read it. She had been convinced that her uncle would leave her a lot of money; it was the least thing he would do to her when she had been so good to him. “What am I supposed to do now? Go play hide and seek with the bloody money?” Suzanne screamed to her grandmother. “Well, we can search through the house and see if we find them”, she answered carefully, afraid to make things worse. “It can be anywhere on the huge manor!” Suzanne snapped back. However, she did not have any better ideas, so they left for Uncle William’s property.
It took them twenty minutes to drive to Uncle William’s house, and all the time Suzanne had been nagging about how unbelievable this situation was. “I simply can’t understand it”, she said, “Why couldn’t he just give me the inheritance? Oh no, uncle had to make a trick. So typical him”. She was interrupted by her grandmother telling her that they had arrived, and stamped out of the car.
The great manor towered in front of them. “Well, we better get started, right?” Suzanne’s grandfather said, “You turn eighteen in three days”. Suzanne groaned. “We will never find it”, she said with a sigh, looking resignedly at the house.
When they had searched through every nook and corner in the house, they had a break. “I can’t believe it. We haven’t found the money anywhere!” Suzanne said. “I do not intend to give my money to charity.” Her grandparents looked at each other, thinking that they must have done something wrong when they raised her… “But what did the note say, Suzanne? It’s probably a clue too you, to easier find the money”, said her grandfather. “Yeah right… That stupid note. “It won’t help us anyway”, Suzanne answered crossly. “I’m not so sure of that”, he said, “Can you tell us what it said? I can’t remember.” “Okay then! It said: Down by the pond. We liked it so much. Remember? Don’t be angry.” William had a tiny lake below his house, where he and Suzanne had spent a lot of their time together. “We’ll have a last look down there, then”, the grandparents decided. And so they went.
After searching thoroughly through the area around the pond with no result, Suzanne said: “That’s enough. I want to go home. Right now!” She marched up to the car with angry steps.
Suzanne had gone to bed, exhausted and disappointed after the fruitless treasure hunt, when her grandmother entered her room. “Does it really matter if we find the money or not? You do have enough money already, you know. In addition, charity is a good thing. There are a lot of people in the world who needs the money much more than you do.” “It’s my inheritance, and I want it myself. That’s all I have to say”, she said and turned her face against the wall. “Young lady, you should be ashamed of yourself! There is not a single drop of generosity or sympathy in you! I know we haven’t raised you in the best way, but I had never thought it was this bad. And I am absolutely not proud of it.” With these words, she went and left Suzanne shocked alone in the dark.
The next morning, Suzanne’s grandmother did not even want to look at her. Her grandmother had never yelled to her before. It was as if Suzanne had realized something with this quarrel, and the good thing was; she thought she knew where her uncle had hidden the money! Suzanne went down to her grandfather. He was reading the newspaper. “I think I know where the money are hidden, grandfather. You know the bed down by the pond? The one with the beautiful roses?” She could see the eagerness in his eyes. “Uncle put a chest underneath the rocks that surround it, a chest where I kept my collection of stones. The stones were beautiful, and we often opened the chest and looked at them. I was so proud of them. I think that must be the place. He must have put a check in the chest.” Her grandfather was smiling. “That’s great, Suzanne. Go get grandmother and we’ll leave.”
They walked slowly towards the pond. It really was beautiful there. Suzanne remembered how lovely it was here in summer, when she had visited her uncle. They had been playing and swimming in the pond all day. “This has to be the right place”, she thought. Down by the bed, Suzanne dug up the right rock, and there the chest was. She picked it up, her hands shivering, the complete silence surrounding her. The chest was dirty, and one could easily see that it had not seen daylight in years. Suzanne opened it. Her stone collection was still there, but the chest also contained a note. “Read it”, her grandparents said. “Dear Suzanne. You found it at last. As you can see, there is nothing here. I have already given everything I had to charity. I hope you are mature enough to accept that. The only thing I have not given to charity is this property. It is yours. I love you. Your dearest, Uncle William.” They sat silent for a while. Suzanne’s grandparents were waiting for her to explode, but the only reaction they could see, was a single tear running down her face. Suzanne was the first to break the silence. “What kind of person have I become? The most important thing in life is not to have a lot of money. Why haven’t I realized that until now? I’m so sorry, Uncle. And I apologize to you, too”, she said to her grandparents. “It’s okay, darling. At least you have realized it. It’s better than nothing”, her grandfather said as he was wrapping his arms around her. “From now on, I will be a new person”, Suzanne said. “I owe you a lot, grandmother. Thank you for reviling me”, she smiled. “And Uncle. Thank you”, she said as she was looking up towards the sky. “You were a clever man.”
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