The Magic Carpets

I  chatted once with some British antique dealers – a married couple – who come out to Vancouver every year to see family.  They have apartments in London and Paris and are very successful at their business.  They made a lot of their money dealing in estates.  They would be called in to value the full contents of a house or apartment, then sell off what the heirs didn’t want and dispose of the rest.

One time they were going through the house of an elderly woman who had recently died.  Together with her son, they looked over her household furniture.  The son pointed out some carpets on the floor of one room.  When one carpet got worn,  the woman simply put another one on top – there were four of them.  The dealers lifted the edges and saw the carpets were both unremarkable and well-worn.   They said, sorry – not worth anything.  The carpets were rolled up together, bound with twine and put out in the front yard with other goods to be discarded.

Later, there was a knock at the door.  A woman walking by had seen the carpets, saw they were being disposed of and wondered if she could buy one.  That was fine.  The dealers went out with her, unbound the carpets and pulled them apart so she could get a good look at all of them.

There was over $10,000 in British pound notes in between two of the carpets.

Ideally, it’ll take about an hour to clear out my place after I give up my ghost.  Any money will be clearly visible in the penny jar.  I own very little intentionally.  I admire Diogenes, the Greek philosopher who lived the life of an impoverished beggar as he roamed from town to town in his famous search for “one honest man”.   One day he tripped in the street while begging and broke his begging bowl.  He got up, looked at the shards of the broken bowl and shouted “Free at last!”.

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