Children’s Story – Honesty Pays Off

Over the front door of a certain house in Warsaw you will see an iron tablet with a very unique engraving in it. The house was built in the late 1700s by King Stanislaus for a peasant named Dobry. The engraving, along with a few sentences below it, tells this story.

Dobry’s grandfather had trained a raven which he later set free. The raven flew into the front door just as Dobry had opened it to see if the landlord’s hired men were coming to throw him, his wife and family, and their meager possessions out into the cold.

Dobry had been out of work for some time. Their money had been spent and they were now in arrears with the rent. He had gone to his landlord three times to appeal for mercy, but in vain. This was the last day they could remain in the home despite the fact it was the middle of a very severe winter.

Having heard very little about God, it seemed very strange when Dobry suggested that they ask this God to help them. He knelt on the cold, hard floor and poured out his broken heart to the “God who answers prayer.”

After he had finished his pleadings, his wife told him that she had a tablet on which she had copied some parts of a hymn her mother had sung a few times before her death. Together, shivering as they sang, the words filled the tiny home, “Dein werk lann neimand hindern,” which means “Nothing thy work suspending.” The rest of this Lutheran pastor’s old hymn went like this, “No foe can make Thee pause When Thou, Thine own defending, Dost undertake their cause.”

After singing the few verses, they sat down and said nothing to each other. Then Dobry spied the raven once again.

“He’s got something in his beak!”

He took the object from the bird’s grasp and held it up for closer examination. It was a beautiful and very expensive ring.

“God has answered our prayers,” his wife said excitedly. “He sent us this valuable ring.”

“But, the ring isn’t ours,” Dobry said. “We don’t know where that raven got it. Maybe we should see if we can find the owner.”

“Dobry!” his wife almost shouted. “You just prayed for God to help us. Here is the answer! Let’s sell the ring and get the money God sent us.”

As Dobry looked at the emaciated faces of his little babies, and his crying wife, he tried to decide what was best to do.

“If we go and try to find out who lost this ring, we’ll come back to find our things piled up in the snow. God sent us this ring. Let’s sell it and live!”

Dobry was torn apart with mixed emotions. “If God did indeed send the ring, He could have just as easily have sent the raven with a bag of gold,” he told himself. “Was this the answer to my prayer?”

His mind was whirling. “I just cannot believe God would want me to have something that belonged to someone else.”

He decided that it was better to be poor than to be a thief. So, he trudged the long snow-filled road to the heart of Warsaw. He went to see the Christian minister.

When he had told the minister of his condition, his prayer, and of the raven, he showed him the ring. The minister stunned Dobry as he said, “I believe I know who this ring belongs to. It looks exactly like one I saw King Stanislaus wear. As you know, there aren’t many men around who can afford such an expensive ring.”

Dobry thanked the minister and left. Once again his mind was flooded with all kinds of thoughts as well as fears. “If I tried to sell it, I would have been arrested for stealing it.”

After a long interrogation by several guards, Dobry was allowed to wait in a chamber while someone went to discuss it with the king. Dobry was terrified with the thought that the king wouldn’t believe that a pet raven had brought the beautiful ring to him in his beak.

To Dobry’s surprise, the king agreed to see him. Dobry was even more surprised to see the minister there, too.

“I have heard all about you, Dobry, and I’m proud that there is a man in my kingdom who would allow his family to be thrown out into the snow before he would keep my ring.”

Dobry’s heart was pounding faster than it ever had in all his life.

The king gave Dobry a large sum of money with which to pay his rent, buy food and clothing, and live on until the summer came. Then came a surprise that almost took Dobry’s life through disbelief.

The king had ordered a new home built in Warsaw for Dobry and his family where he lived comfortably the rest of his life.

The iron tablet with the unique engraving, of course, stands over Dobry’s front door. The engraving? A picture of a raven with a ring in its beak.

W.A. Spicer and Helen Spicer Menkel, The Hand That Still Intervenes, Concerned Publications, Inc., Clermont, Florida, 1982.

The Polish peasant knew how the prophet felt. “God will provide; He who fed Elijah by the brook, making a raven His messenger, will not suffer His faithful ones to want for food.” The Review and Herald, September 21, 1876.