Edwina was very upset because her little sister spilled water on her science project. And, this was not the first time that her sister had spoiled her school work. Therefore, Edwina requested her parents to buy her a study table with drawers where she could safely keep her books.
Edwina's parents could not afford to buy a brand new table. However, they agreed to buy her a table from a second-hand furniture store. One day after school, Edwina's mother took her to the second-hand furniture store, so that she could buy the table of her choice. However, there were not many choices in that store, Edwina pretended to look around.
She casually opened a drawer of an old black table. And, guess what did she find? A small transparent plastic bag with some dollar notes.
"Maybe I have found somebody's secret stuff. Am I the luckiest twelve-year old? My birthday is approaching. With this money, I can buy myself great presents…. maybe a bicycle, stationery, dresses... and maybe I can even buy things for my family", Edwina thought. She was overcome with greed and quickly slipped that bag to the end of the drawer.
She went to her mother and told her that she wanted to buy that black table. Edwina's mother told her that the table looked too old and she should look for something better. "No, I like this one. I will paint it and glue some stickers on it to make it look better", Edwina insisted. She was feeling scared from inside but her greed prompted her to lie.
Edwina could not wait until everybody left after the table was organized in the room. She locked the room, quickly opened the drawer and took the plastic bag with notes out. She found a paper along with that money. It seemed that some old lady was saving money for her children and grandchildren. Edwina began counting the money. She could hear her loud heart beat when she finally reached a count of $1200.
But now, with the money she had, she thought that she would have to make up many lies to spend that money. She would have to hide the money all the time and was already feeling scared. She thought, "This money is not meant for me. The old lady had been saving this money for her family. She must have passed away and nobody would have known about the money in the drawer. Therefore, the family would have sold it to the second-hand furniture store."
Edwina thought about her past week, "First, I failed my math test and then my little sister destroyed my science project. I was not even selected for the sports team. Finally, I found this treasure and that too when my birthday is approaching! Yet, I do not feel good about it… Why?"
But she already knew the answer. She had felt a constant fear of getting caught from the moment she thought of stealing. She knew she would have to lie to spend the money and one lie would eventually lead to another. Edwina had lost her peace of mind but she knew the right way from wrong. She had lost her honesty for a while but wanted to regain it back.
She called her parents in the room and showed them the plastic bag. She confessed to them that she had seen the bag in the store itself but was overcome with greed and hence stole it. "Let us take it back to the store and find the old lady's family", Edwina told her parents. Edwina's parents did not scold her but appreciated her honesty.
The storeowner was quite surprised on hearing the story. "You mean to say that you found almost $1200 in cash and you are here to return it?" he asked.
Looking through the records, he found the family's telephone number. Within a few minutes, the family came over to the store. The family was similar to Edwina's family. They were still sad about her death and were also in need of money. They had been praying for help and it turned out that Edwina brought in an answer to their prayers. Edwina's parents had tears in their eyes.
Edwina thought, "I have never felt better after stealing. No new bicycle or clothes can make me feel better. I may have failed the math test but I passed more important test - lost and found test of my honesty."