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Emile M Tubiana

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A test to find the appropriate bride for his deceased friend's son. - Translated by the author from the French original below.

The Wedding Test


            Once upon a time, there was a young man and his name was Gregory.  He had just lost his dear father Bill.  The latter had been very close with his childhood friend, whose name was Harry.  Bill and Harry had been like two brothers and always stuck together.  After Bill’s funeral Gregory kept all the religious rites and did everything to honor his father. 

            Before his passing, Bill had made an agreement with Harry, in Gregory and Charlie’s presence.  Charlie was Harry’s son.  They agreed that if one of them should die, the survivor would be in charge to care for the deceased’s son and do his best to marry him to an honest young lady from a good family.  This agreement also stated that the inheritance would first automatically go to the survivor as a trustee, who would then give it to the friend’s son, but only after his wedding and after he made sure that the bride was worthy of the young man and deserving of the inheritance.

            Harry was very sad about the loss of his friend Bill, but he did not forget to watch over Gregory until after his wedding.  The year of Bill’s passing Gregory was only seventeen years old and Harry did not dare talk to him about marriage.  On top of that, the loss was so painful for Gregory that Harry did everything possible to fill the void left by his friend.  When Gregory turned eighteen, Harry threw a party for the young man and used the occasion for inviting a few young ladies from good families.  Gregory did not seem interested.  Harry did not insist at all and preferred waiting for the proper moment for intervening.  Several years passed this way, without Gregory being interested in young women.  However, the best friends had promised each other that the other’s son had to get married by age twenty-five at the latest.

            Harry saw himself obliged to intervene, since he did not have the right to keep the inheritance after Gregory would have reached the prescribed age.  This time Harry invited Gregory and had a long conversation with him about his destiny and his future, but Gregory did not seem to be interested.  This is when Harry told him that he had to choose a bride, since otherwise he would have to pick one for him.  Gregory, who respected Harry like his father, replied:

            “Harry, I trust you and I count on you to select a wife for me.”  Thereupon Harry mentioned the name of a nice young lady.  Gregory seemed to like her and responded:

            “Go ahead.  I follow you.  The day of the engagement, as the young couple was alone in the room, Harry appeared followed by two strong men carrying a heavy chest.  He gave a tip to the two guys and let them go.  Gregory was surprised, but he welcomed Harry, who, without wasting a minute, told Gregory:

            “My son, as soon as you have a moment of time, please take this chest and put it on top of the wardrobe.”

            That evening, after the engagement party, while Gregory was alone, Harry appeared briefly.  He noticed that the chest had not moved from its spot and during his conversation with Gregory he told him that this was not the fiancée he deserved and that the engagement needed to be cancelled.

            A few months later Gregory met a nice young woman and thought he fell in love with her.  The engagement party was prepared and just like the first time, Harry entered the room with two men carrying the same chest.  Before leaving, Harry told Gregory:

            “Please, if you have a moment of time, take this chest and put it on top of the wardrobe.”  The new fiancée told Gregory:

            “He is funny, your guy, he can wait, not the day of our engagement.”  Again, the chest did not move from its spot and Harry broke up the engagement, just like the first time.

            After a few months Gregory met a new young lady and once again the engagement was announced.    As usual, Harry came the day of their engagement party accompanied by two strong guys carrying the same chest.  This time they left it right at the door of the room.  Before he left, Harry repeated his request, that they may lift the chest on top of the wardrobe, as soon as they would have a free minute.  As soon as Harry left the room, Gregory smiled and said:

            “I don’t think we can lift that, the chest is very heavy.”  But his fiancée said:

            “Don’t worry; if we lift it together it won’t be that heavy. If this gentleman is like your father, as you say, let’s do him this favor.”

            “You are right,” replied Gregory and as the young lady had said, it didn’t take even one minute and the chest was on top of the wardrobe.  In the evening, when Harry appeared in the room, he happily noticed that the chest was on the wardrobe.

            The next day, he told Gregory:

            “We must set the date of the wedding as soon as possible.”

            After the wedding, while he was having a conversation with Harry, Gregory asked him:

            “Tell me, please, why did you have me cancel the first two engagements?”  To which Harry responded:

            “I wanted you to find a true companion for life, one who would be able to carry the burden of life with you.  This last one was the only one to accept lifting the chest with you.  Therefore, she is the only one deserving you.”

            The young man understood the moral meaning of Harry’s words and thanked him.  Whereupon Harry said:

            “Now I can remit to you and your dear wife the inheritance that your father entrusted me with.”





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