Once in a dank February evening an old man was walking down towards his house, slipping on a frozen sidewalk. His life, which happened to be shrouded in mystery, was quite unremarkable at first sight, but indeed it was full of spectacular events. However, nobody cared, people took no notice of him, and no one on earth glanced at him affably at that moment. It was Mr. Richards – a man of few words, diffident and unsociable by nature and that kind of person who from time to time had doubts about his own existence. His life was akin to hermit’s life, as long ago he stopped talking to people.
This gloomy day became a turning point in his destiny. Walking down the deserted streets, Mr. Richards bent his head in order not to stumble and didn’t pay attention to what was going on around him. A long-drawn-out howl of dogs returned his consciousness to reality. The first thing that caught his eye was a little girl who stood lonely at the threshold of his house. A girl leant against the shabby suitcase, fiddling with a letter in her one hand and a dirty teddy bear in another hand. The clothes she wore could hardly be called in such a way: her tights were full of holes and there seemed to be no laces in her shoes, therefore she was trembling with cold. Mr. Richards stared in mute astonishment at that girl, recognizing slowly her features, as her appearance resembled his own in looks.
He didn’t have time to recover from just seen, as unexpected heavy hailstorm had started, so Mr. Richards was forced to grasp girl’s hand and push her inside his modest dwelling. There was not too much warmer than outside. The girl remained silent, either because of unexpectedness of his action or because of the events she had gone through before, so a man took a letter from her hand and opened it. It was too brief, but the things it revealed, scared him as anything else in his life. His only daughter who left home years and years ago was dead. She died leaving behind just a little angel in whom Mr. Richards recognized his granddaughter.
The next day all the neighbors could observe the smiling face of Mr. Richards, his warm-heartedness towards a little child whom nobody knew. People started to treat the man with suspicion; being known as unsociable ever before, from that moment he was beaming with happiness and friendliness. Due to this striking change, the neighbors made a decision to call the police in order to check what was actually going on.
The matters stood in unfavorable position for Mr. Richards as the girl had no identification documents and it was almost impossible to prove their familial relations. The public criticized the stubborn struggle of an old man for child custody. Considered to be poor and sick, it seemed that he had no rights for bringing up a girl, so people surrounded his house and persuaded the police to take away a child.
While the police was trying to figure out at least some information from Mr. Richards who was mumbling and stammering because the agitation seized his heart, a little girl flew away to the house. In a few seconds everybody were looking in wide-eyed astonishment at her hands, as she carried a small bright case.
– May I ask you what is that? –people cautiously stepped forward. – Where have you taken it? – asked a policeman. A girl stayed calm and spoke aloud to the crowd:
– That’s the treasure of my granddad. I found it under the chair. So he is not poor and I will never go with you, – shouted she, pointing to the policeman.
Everyone cast a look at Mr. Richards waiting for his explanations, so he had to reveal his closely guarded secret. When he started to build his house, he found this case deep in the ground and he promised then that those treasures would destine for his daughter when she grew up, but after her escape he couldn’t even touch a single coin as it was a painful reminder of her. But now when his life acquired sense again, all the money would pass to his little angel and he would spend his last days with a glow of happiness.