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The risky diamond delivery

2006-07-14 00:14

  Diamonds are the most precious stone. They sparkle as if they have light in themselves. And they are the hardest stone that men know. In Africa and India miners dig great holes in the ground to find this precious stone among the rocks. Because there are so few of them in the world. The larger the diamond the costliest they are.

  A few years ago, there lived a young diamond cutter in Amsterdam, Holland. He lived happily with his wife and a little baby. Amsterdam is famous for cutting and polishing of Diamonds in the world over. This young man, Frank worked for a man who did a great business in diamonds.

  One day the headman came to Frank where he was working alone and in low voice said, “Frank, I want you to do something for me. The diamond you have been working on is, as you know, worth a large sum of money. When it is finished, I want you to take it Bombay, India, for it belongs to a diamond merchant there. I would insure it and send it under heavy guard; but that costs too much. Times are hard; many diamond cutters want work, so I have had to do this one very cheaply. I cannot afford to pay much to have it taken to Bombay. So you must take it for me. You are a workman here and no one will think you have the diamond.”

  Frank was very much surprised at this. He hardly knew what to say. He had never been out of his country, and would have liked very much to take the trip across the ocean and see the Great country of India of which he had heard so much. But to take diamond as costly as this one! If robbers should find out that he had it, they would kill him and take it from him; for he could not think of letting anyone have it without fighting to death to keep it.

  He thought of his nice home, his beautiful wife and pretty baby, of how much safer it would be to stay here right there and polish diamonds all his life, rather than to risk his life for this one diamond. But his employer‘s word was law for him. He was glad that he trusted him. The man was sure he would not steal it. After thinking about it a long he said, “I will go.”

  “Good,” said the headman, “be ready the day after tomorrow, when the ship sails. I have made all preparations.” Frank went home and told this to his wife. They talked about far into the night. She did not want him to go and leave her and little one. He had never left them before, and he might never comeback; he might be killed. But she was proud that he could be trusted. So they prayed for God to protect him on the journey, and were content.

  But some how thieves came to know that the precious stone was being send to India, though they did not know who was to take it. Perhaps they paid money to some dishonest man working at the same place where Frank worked, to tell when diamonds were sent away.

  Without telling anyone else that he was going, the careful Frank slipped on the shipboard with the diamond sewed in a bag inside his shirt, and tried to keep out of sight as much as he could. But the first night out he saw that two keen-eyed men had the cabin just across from his. They looked at him sharply as he went in and locked his door. He did not like the looks of their faces. He spent a wakeful night. The sea was rough; but Frank got up early in spite of his feeling a little seasick, and went to breakfast. The two men also followed him, and had seats on either side of him. His fears arose anew. But they were friendly, and wanted to talk to him. He could not very well get away from them. The steward gives seats at the table on the shipboard to each passenger; and he always sits in the same seat.

  His seat-mates had been to India before, they said, and were ready to tell him all about what he would see in Bombay; and offered to take him around to see the sights. Soon Frank was speaking to them freely, and forgot his fears. After breakfast they went on deck and played some games. Well, Frank thought that the voyage is going pleasant enough. That evening, when Frank decided to go down to his cabin and read a little before going to bed, his two friends of the day insisted on going with him and boldly came into his cabin and sat on the bunk, to visit as they said laughingly. In course of their talks they wanted know all about him, his business, why he was going to India, if he had much money to spend, and other things. They were free to tell that they were travelling salesmen, and had been in many parts of the world. It was late when Frank got rid of them and went to bed. He had told them as little as he could about his business but his fear returned again as he thought of how friendly they were getting.

  He could not sleep that night. The following day his pick-up friends kept close to his side wherever he went, and became friendlier than ever. In the afternoon they were all three seated on deck, exchanging ideas about different things when Frank lowered his voice and whispered:

  “You two are good friends of mine, and I ought to be able to trust you. I am going to tell you a secret. I have in my pocket one of the largest and most beautiful diamonds you ever saw. I am taking it to a diamond merchant in Bombay from the man I work for in Amsterdam. Would you like to see it? It‘s a beauty!”

  His two friends looked Frank with mouths open as he spoke. Then they looked at each other; and Frank thought he saw the faintest wink. Yes. One of them said, they would like to see that diamond, since they had never seen a large one before. Frank took the stone out his pocket and held in his hand. The men‘s eyes flashed behind his back; but they did not act very much interested when he was looking at them. It was beautiful, they agreed.

  “A valuable stone,” he whispered, “and I‘ve got to take good care of it. I wouldn’t show it to everybody.” He wrapped it up, and put it in his pocket again. In a little while one of the men excused him and went below. The other soon followed him. Frank was left alone for the first time. But he was far from happy. He had taken a great risk, and he knew it.

  His two friends were still friendly; but they left him much alone for the remainder of the voyage to Bombay. And he was glad of that. He noticed them from time to time trying to become friendly with some of the other passengers. When the ship docked in Bombay, Frank went directly to the diamond merchant, and turned over the stone. With a receipt for it in his pocket, he walked down the streets of India‘s gateway city. He was standing on a corner when someone touched him on his shoulder. He turned to confront his two friends of the ship. They looked far from happy.

  “Friend Frank,‘ muttered one of them, ”that was a good game you played with that paste diamond. Maybe you don’t know; but in these days they can make diamond out of paste that looks much like real ones that no one but a man who works with diamonds can tell apart. We knew there was a man on that ship who was bringing valuable diamond to Bombay, but didn‘t know who he was. At first, we were sure you were the one. But when you showed us that stone of yours, we knew no man would be fool enough to show a real diamond like that. So we left you to find out who had the real stone. You must have been sent to lead us off the track, and you did it for a while. Trouble is, we never did find the man who had the real stone. But, forgetting that, that paste one of yours was pretty good. Would you mind letting us glance at it again?“

  “Sorry,” answered Frank, “but I just delivered it to the man I brought it to. It was a real stone. I work with diamonds”

  The men frowned, looked hard at innocent Frank, and hurried away.

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