The sun shone brightly, melting away the dreary days of winter. From the arbor on the front porch of the Einstein home fragrant Purple wisteria blossomed. The garden was bursting into a riot of color with red tulips, yellow roses, blue cornflowers and a multitude of other flowers of various hues.
Albert had been down the street at his aunt’s house. The family was celebrating his Cousin Benjamin’s sixth birthday. Albert had turned six the month before and was therefore far more worldly than his little cousin, at least to his way of thinking. But he loved his “little” cousin
Later that afternoon Hermann came home early from work. He opened the door, which creaked slightly, and poked his head into the room. Pauline sat in the chair next to Albert’s bed spoon feeding her son, who was propped up on pillows and still looking quite weak
Pauline turned at the sound and smiled at her husband. "The herbs Dr. Weiss recommended broke his fever."
Hermann shared a wink with Pauline as he walked into the room and sat on the edge of the bed. He patted Albert’s leg under the bedding, “I am so relieved to see you feeling better.” Albert raised his tiny hand to acknowledge his papa. He did not remember the Angel or leaving his body.
Hermann reached inside his moleskin pants and pulled out a round, brass object on a silver chain. The twelve gems on top glistened in the morning light. He dangled the curious object in the air in front of Albert’s face.
Albert’s eyes grew wide. “What is that, Papa?”
Hermann smiled, happy to see Albert’s curiosity had not been dampened by his illness. “This is a compass, Albert.” A quizzical look came over the young boy’s face. Hermann opened the brass cover to show Albert how the strange device worked. Hermann’s eyes glowed as he pointed to a slender arrow suspended above the face of the compass. “See this arrow?” Albert nodded, his eyes wide. “it always points north. This is because the tip is a charged magnetic needle that aligns itself with the Earth’s magnetic field.” Albert nodded, looking even closer. “The compass is for navigation, to help you find your way.”
Mesmerized Albert reached out and grasped the curious object. It felt heavy in his little hands. He twisted, turned and gently shook it. No matter how he moved it, the mysterious needle pointed north. “Where did you get it, Papa?” Albert asked, still staring at the needle.
Hermann smiled. “A new electrical customer, Mr. Vogelsang, gave it to me to pay for installing lighting in his house. The compass has been in his family for many years.”
He must have been reluctant to give up such a treasure, papa,” Albert said, tearing his eyes away from the compass.
Hermann shrugged. “He seemed happy enough for me to accept and reduce the price for his job,” Hermann said his eyes twinkling. “And I thought you’d find it interesting.” As Albert grinned, Hermann pointed to the edge of the object. “See the twelve gemstones on top? This is a unique compass. Be sure and keep it safe.”
“I will, Papa!” Albert said emphatically, his eyes being drawn back to the compass as if the magnetic needle pulled them. The excitement of receiving the new gadget gave Albert a spurt of energy, but it soon waned. Despite his best effort to continue examining his wonderful compass, under his parents’ loving gaze, Albert fell asleep.
Pauline reached out and touched Hermann’s hand, “What a wonderful gift for Albert. He seems even better since you gave it to him.”
Hermann smiled, pleased he was able to lessen his wife’s concern.
In his sleep, Albert, too, smiled as he clutched the compass to his heart.
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