It is a curious thing how the interwoven threads of fate join the destinies of people worlds apart. Unknowingly connected, they go their entire lives ignorant of each other's existence. But then, sometimes, in the threads of fate they are thrown together, their destinies inextricably entwined.
The trees were ablaze with autumn, and already the fallen leaves had created a multicolored blanket over the forest floor. While out enjoying a stroll along the small river, a man stopped to inspect something glinting in the shallows. His curiosity excited, he stooped down beside the water, reached in, and fished out a ring like no other he had ever seen. Perfectly round and fashioned out of shining gold, it was studded with polished gems. Almost secretively, he slipped it into his pocket.
Many months later, the man fell on hard times and was forced to pawn the ring for a hefty sum of money. The piece of jewelry sat gathering dust until a woman entered the pawn shop one chilly November afternoon. Once she saw it, she had eyes only for the ring. While this same woman was perusing the storefronts in town the following spring, the ring simply slipped off her finger as if it had a mind of its own, and rolled away into the gutter. It ended up in the lost and found of the Greenbriar, Vermont police department some weeks later. When no one came to claim it, it was auctioned off with a collection of similar items, bid upon and won by the eccentric proprietor of the local antique shop. On the day before his eleven-year-old daughter’s birthday, an off-duty police officer stopped in front of the store window that proclaimed in aged, gilded letters: Mr. Fate’s Antiques and Collectibles. He pushed the door open.
Barnabas Fate was a curious figure who appeared to be from a history that never existed, in striped trousers and high-collared dress shirt, his waistcoat covered in glittering, swirling designs. His head was adorned with a fashionable top hat, his eyes hidden behind gold-framed spectacles. When he smiled, his teeth were a patchwork of gold and stained ivory.
After watching his customer browse shelves and tables loaded with chipped china tea sets and antique dolls and tarnished jewelry, he offered up something a little out of the ordinary. From beneath the counter he took a velvet pouch, and from this he pulled the most exquisite ring of gold studded with gems. He ended up selling it to Officer Lionel Macomb for an outrageously low price.
The very next day, Officer Macomb’s daughter was immediately enchanted by the best birthday present she had ever received. And the little gold band, as if by magic, perfectly fit the ring finger of her right hand.