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Download MP3Our story today is called “Luck. It was written by Mark Twain. Here is Shep O’Neal with the story. Storyteller:  I was at a dinner in London given in honor of one of the most celebrated English military men of his time. I do not want to tell you his real name and titles. I will just call him Lieutenant General Lord Arthur Scoresby.

I cannot describe my excitement when I saw this great and famous man. There he sat, the man himself, in person, all covered with medals. I could not take my eyes off him. He seemed to show the true mark of greatness. His fame had no effect on him. The hundreds of eyes watching him, the worship of so many people did not seem to make any difference to him. Next to me sat a clergyman, who was an old friend of mine. He was not always a clergyman.

During the first half of his life he was a teacher in the military school at Woolwich. He meant, of course, the hero of our dinner. This came as a shock to me. I could not have been more surprised if he has said the same thing about Nepoleon, or Socrates, or Solomon. But I was sure of two things about the clergyman. And, his judgment of men was good. Therefore, I wanted to find out more about our hero as soon as I could. Some days later I got a chance to talk with the clergyman, and he told me more. About forty years ago, I was an instructor in the military academy at Woolwich, when young Scoresby was given his first examination. I felt extremely sorry for him.

He was a nice, pleasant young man. It was painful to see him stand there and give answers that were miracles of stupidity. I knew of course that when examined again he would fail and be thrown out. So, I said to myself, it would be a simple, harmless act to help him as much as I could. I took him aside and found he knew a little about Julius Ceasar’s history. But, he did not know anything else. So, I went to work and tested him and worked him like a slave. I made him work, over and over again, on a few questions about Ceasar, which I knew he would be asked. If you will believe me, he came through very well on the day of the examination.

He got high praise too, while others who knew a thousand times more than he were sharply criticized. By some strange, lucky accident, he was asked no questions but those I made him study. Such an accident does not happen more than once in a hundred years. Well, all through his studies, I stood by him, with the feeling a mother has for a disabled child. And he always saved himself by some miracle. I thought that what in the end would destroy him would be the mathematics examination. I decided to make his end as painless as possible.

best up luck

best up luck

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