There was a woman named Matilda. She was beautiful, but she was very poor. She didn’t work, and her husband only made a little money. Matilda wanted to buy many things, but she couldn’t. She saw other women with beautiful clothes and big houses. But Matilda and her husband couldn’t buy these things. They didn’t have enough money. Their house was very small. And Matilda didn’t have good clothes. She only had old clothes. Matilda was always sad because she wanted more money.
One day, Matilda and her husband received an invitation to a party. The invitation was from a rich person they knew. It would be a very fancy and elegant party.
But Matilda was sad.
“Why are you sad?” her husband said. “You love parties! And this is a special party. Many important people will go to the party.”
Matilda looked at her husband. Now, she was angry. She said, “But I don’t have any good clothes for the party. And I can’t buy any clothes. We don’t have enough money!” She cried.
But Matilda’s husband had an idea. He said to Matilda, “Talk to your friend Claire. She has lots of beautiful things. Maybe she will let you borrow clothes for the party.”
So the next day, Matilda visited Claire. Matilda said to Claire, “Can I borrow a dress and a necklace from you for the party? And after the party, I will give them back.”
Claire gave Matilda a black dress and a beautiful diamond necklace. Matilda loved the dress and the necklace. The necklace was the most gorgeous diamond necklace she had ever seen. The diamonds were big and shiny and perfect.
That weekend, Matilda went to the party. Everyone at the party looked at Matilda, and everyone wanted to talk to her because she was so beautiful. Matilda loved the party. At the party, she imagined she was very rich.
Matilda and her husband left the party at 1 am, and they went home. When they got home, Matilda looked in the mirror, and she saw that the necklace wasn’t around her neck. She lost the necklace!
Matilda and her husband looked everywhere for the necklace. They looked in her pockets, they looked on the floor, and they looked outside. But they couldn’t find the necklace anywhere.
A few days later, Matilda went shopping. She wanted to buy the same necklace and give it to Claire. She went to five different stores. Finally, she found the necklace at a store. But the necklace cost $5,000. Matilda couldn’t buy it! She didn’t have enough money. But Matilda didn’t want to tell Claire that she didn’t have the necklace. She needed to buy it.
So Matilda’s husband talked to his brother, and his brother gave him $5,000 to pay for the necklace. They bought the necklace, and Matilda returned it to Claire.
But now, Matilda and her husband needed to pay back the $5,000.
Claire and her husband moved to a new apartment that was even smaller and dirtier. They ate only a little food. They never went out to the movies or to restaurants or anywhere that cost money. It was a very difficult life.
Slowly, over time, Matilda and her husband paid back the money. It took them ten years to pay back all the money.
One day, Matilda was walking outside, and she saw her friend Claire. They hadn’t seen each other in ten years. Claire still looked young and beautiful, but Matilda looked old after working so hard for the last ten years.
Matilda decided maybe it was time to tell Claire what had happened.
“Do you remember that diamond necklace you let me borrow for the party I went to ten years ago?” Matilda asked.
“Yes,” Claire replied.
“Well, I lost it. So then I bought a new one for you. It was very expensive, but we’ve slowly paid for it over the last ten years.”
“Oh, no!” said Claire. “The necklace I gave you was fake. Those weren’t real diamonds. It only cost me about $20 dollars.”