parcels of large pearls. Whilst displaying them, however, one
exceedingly fine gem jumped clean out of his corn-tongs and was gone.
The whole office was turned upside-down for it, the carpet was taken
up, every piece of furniture examined, desks taken to pieces, and
chairs probed. Then the three men voluntarily and with apologetic
laughter undressed and searched each other's clothes, for it was an
embarrassing situation for all of them. However, the jewel could not
years went by. The owner of the office in which the pearl had been lost
was dead, the merchant who had lost the stone was dead, and since the
latter had no kin that could be traced the Republic had stepped in and
become his heir-at-law.
perhaps because things had become so desperately bad with him that
neither he nor his wife could ever be sure of their next day's dinner,
lived on. Then, on the eve of another Rosh Hashana (Jewish New
Year), when Kalman brought out his antediluvian top-hat to be furbished
up in readiness for the Synagogue, his vigorous brushing solved the
fifteen-year-old mystery. Out upon the table dropped the long-missing
remembered that he had worn that top-hat fifteen years before on the
day when he had seen the gem become thin air. How the pearl had leaped
into the lining of the hat was no matter. There it had certainly hidden
during those long years. And now here it indubitably was, found again.
in fact, was fully fifty thousand francs, and he, Kalman, not knowing
at that moment where to turn for his rent. His first thought, however,
was "Police!" His wife saw in the gem a direct answer to prayer. But
Kalman poor was still Kalman honest, and without heeding the
remonstrances of the woman, he went straight to the Commissary of
Police of his arrondissement and reported the case.
would have thought, as Kalman did, that the official would have patted
him on the back and called him a fine fellow and bade him hope for a