The Wise Investor
even the most flippant and off-hand comment.
Often these comments taught me the most. I listened to
the famous and the obscure, the rich and the poor.
From every person I learnt something, even if it was only
how the rest of the world thinks.
Finally, and most importantly," he said after a pause, "I
made mistakes. Many, many mistakes." John turned to his
granddaughter, and said with half a smile, "hell, Kate, I've
made so many mistakes, if you lined them up like
matchsticks, you could pave a road to China."
Kate laughed and hugged her grandfather. There was,
she knew, times when you had to laugh, smile and relax.
This was a flaw in John's character, and for all his success,
he still had trouble just playing around. She sometimes
wondered why he was like this. Perhaps even he, himself,
did not know.
The afternoon was growing old, the shadows were
lengthening and the air was cooling down. John was in two
minds whether to stop for the day, or continue with his last
topic. At length, he decided to continue, as next week would
begin a whole new area of discussion. "Kate," he said, "there
is only one more topic I would like to talk on today."
"Very well, grandfather," Kate said with resignation. It
had been a long day for her, too, but she wanted to finish
their talks at a sensible place.
John breathed deeply for a few moments, then looked up
at Kate. For all his age, she thought, he recovered his
strength remarkably quickly.
"Think about the valley again, my dear. In the valley,
there were many businesses, trades and farms in operation.
One day, one of the blacksmiths looked at his bellows, and
realised he had a problem. His whole operation was based
around a very hot fire, kept alive by a leather bellows.
However, it was a small bellows, and the fire was not
large enough to work the bigger pieces of iron. Much of the
work his customers wanted done was lost to other
blacksmiths, because his equipment could not handle the job.