The Cape
Brad Fregger

There once was a boy who lived long ago and was born into a very poor family--so poor that they didn't have enough of anything to keep them all alive. But, they were full of love and they decided they would give everything they had to the boy so that he would have a chance to live and maybe find happiness.

When he was ten he found himself all alone--his mother, father, and grandparents had all died in the cold winters and with the lack of food and clothes to keep them feed and warm. He remembered their love, and even through his struggle and disappointment he believed things would be better and that their sacrifice would pay off and he would find happiness.

His first winter alone was a very cold one and he wasn't sure he would make it through until one day he met an older man on the street, who offered his his wool cape if he would only guide him home. It seemed he was lost and didn't have money with him to hire a carriage. The boy jumped at the chance and carefully guided the old man home and then left with his prize, a wonderful wool cape to keep him warm. He could wrap it completely around himself and to his delight it did keep out the chill and the winds of winter.

As the years went on the cape was always there for him, giving him warmth when he needed it and letting in the breezes on the hot summer days while keeping out the suns cruel rays.

His luck began to change almost immediately after getting the cape, and he quickly got a job running errands for a wealthy man. As the years went by the man saw how industrious the boy was and he promoted him, giving him more and more responsibility.

As he prospered he began to wonder if he shouldn't buy a new cape--one that suited his new position. But, as he shopped he never could find one he liked more, and it was surprising to him how the one he had received so many years before seemed to look better and better as the years went by. He became very attached to the cape and decided he would always keep it.

Finally, he took over the wealthy man's business and was soon invited to attend the coronation ball for the new king. "Just this once" he said, "I will wear a new cape. One that has silk and jewels, one that will fit in the castle and will be better suited to a man attending a coronation ball."

So he went out and bought a beautiful cape with gorgeous black silk, jewels of all sorts, and a golden braid to hold it on. The clerk treated him with care and kindness and placed the new cape in a beautiful box that would keep it just right until the boy (now a man) was ready to put it on for the ball. He placed the box carefully on the seat beside him in his carriage and started for him. All at once the horses bolted and ran out of control down the street, narrowly missing some passers-by and other carriages--around a sharp corner and "thud" the box fell from the carriage, landed in the street, and was quickly picked up by a man who saw it fall--and then the man was gone--into the crowd--and the horses were finally brought under control.

As he went home, minus his new cape, the boy (now a man) decided that he would wear his old one. He loved that cape and thought that if it was good enough to be with him from the beginning when things were far from well, it was good enough to go with him to the king's coronation. He arrived home and went up to his bedroom to get ready for the ball, opened the closet door, and there in the closet was his old cape. But as he looked closer he noticed that it was different in some way. Yes, there it was. For the first time he saw that the cape was reversible and that the most gorgeous black silk lining he had ever seen was a part of it.

How could this be? Why hadn't he seen it before? The cape was beautiful--rich, yet simple, the perfect thing for the king's ball.

Could this be why his life was so special? Why he had found happiness? Was the cape a magic cape, bringing to him all he needed, and then changing to meet his new needs as his life changed?

A companion--sharing ups and downs, while providing the magic that brought happiness into his life.

As he put it on that evening, he blessed the old man who had given it to him and he thanked God for bringing them his way.

And, never again did he even think about wearing another.

The End

April, 1983

Copyright 1983, Brad Fregger. All rights reserved.

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