Church bells rang in the distance, echoing over fields and trees. Delicately, Cardinal Fratelli signed a cross upon his chest.
“That reminds me…” he then said.
“What!” the children collectively demanded.
“I have another story to tell you: a story about two brothers.”
The boys chimed, “Go on, go on, hurry!”
“There once were two brothers, who lived in the country of Parma, who had an old, dying father . Before he left this earthly life, the old father gave his two sons one request: “Please go to my grave and pray every day. Do this and I shall be happy.”
Both brothers said: “Yes, always dear father!”
After the funeral the two brothers faithfully arrived to their father’s grave to pray. They would sing one Psalm: “Domine Pastor es meus…” pray “Ave Maria” seven times, a “Pater Noster” and then the readings of the hours. In time, however, the older brother became an illustrious merchant and fell in love with a beautiful maiden. He told the younger brother one day, “I don’t have enough time, not even a spare hour, to pray at father’s grave, you do it.”
The younger brother happily obliged. Over many years, even in storms and snow, he trudged up the hill where his father laid and said the daily prayers. By himself, he would sing one psalm, pray “Ave” seven times, a “Pater Noster” and the readings of the hours.
One summer day, news came that a wealthy prince had lost a rare jewel, while traveling through the countryside, lost amidst his great company, and that he searched for it without avail. Upon the cathedral door, a decree was posted, that whoever finds this treasure will be rewarded with riches beyond compare. Now the older brother busied himself in search of the rare jewel. He went out day and night and did not find it. When the younger brother went for his daily prayers, he spoke to his father: “If I find this jewel, I shall be happy and content to the end of my days but if not, my father, I still have you.”
Suddenly, a voice came from heaven. It said: “My son, oh, my dear son, it was you who faithfully climbed this hill every day, wither in storms or snow, to fulfill my dying wish. In heaven, I see everything and I know where the Prince’s treasure lies. Go to it now.”
The young son followed his father’s voice and arrived in a field of wild hay. Beneath some dead grass and dirt, he dug and took in his hands a diamond that looked as if made of pure gold, having many faces, glowing with many colors and hues. He rushed and returned it to its rightful owner, the prince. Blushing joyously, the Prince did as promised and bestowed the younger brother with great riches. Suddenly his older brother stormed into the palace, jealous and angry. “I searched day and night for that jewel and you find it without even telling me!”
“Dear brother, don’t be upset. Had you gone with me to pray at father’s grave, you would have found the treasure. No small and meaningless labor goes without reward in the eyes of heaven. In my faithfulness, I was blessed. By giving up my time and earthly comfort, I found favor. But know this: my reward is yours also- whatever is mine, is yours.”.”