The hardworking blacksmith Jones used to work all day in his shop and so hard working was he that at times he would make the sparks fly from his hammer.
The son of Mr. Smith, a rich neighbor, used to come to see the blacksmith everyday and for hours and hours he would enjoy himself watching how the tradesman worked.
"Young man, why don't you try your hand to learn to make shoe tacks, even if it is only to pass the time?" said the blacksmith. "Who knows, one day, it may be of use to you."
The lazy boy began to see what he could do. But after a little practice he found that he was becoming very skilled and soon he was making some of the finest tacks.
Old Mr. Smith died and the son on account of the war lost all his goods. He had to leave home and was forced to take up residence in another country. It so happened that in this village there were numerous shoemakers who were spending a lot of money to buy tacks for their shoes and even at times when they paid high prices they were not always able to get what they wanted, because in that part of the country there was a high demand for soldiers' shoes.
Our young Mr. Smith, who was finding it difficult to earn his daily bread, remembered that once upon a time he had learned the art of making tacks and had the sudden idea of making a bargain with the shoemakers. He told them that he would make the tacks if they would help to get him settled in his workshop. The shoemakers were only too glad of the offer. And after a while, Mr. Smith found that he was soon making the finest tacks in the village.
"How funny it seems," he used to say, "even making tacks can bring a fortune. My trade is more useful to me than were all my former riches."