Three Similar Black Umbrellas
Sally was a smart pupil in her third term of university. It was going to be her mother’s birthday that Thursday, September twentieth. She wanted to buy her a present that would be nice and useful but not expensive.
She had a week till her mother’s birthday, so she went shopping after a quick and simple lunch. She thought a personal mirror or a pair of tickets to the national museum might be nice, but she hadn’t the money. When she had been looking for half an hour, she found a shop that was selling cheap umbrellas, and decided to take a black one, since her mother had lost her orange one the month before. She thought, “You could carry that when you are wearing clothes of any color.” So she decided to buy a lovely black umbrella.
On her way back home in the train that evening she felt hungry because she had such a small lunch that she went along to the restaurant car and sat at a table and ate a sandwich, a plate of salad and cup of coffee. She paid her bill from the change in her purse.
She pulled the door open and shut it behind her. She had left the black umbrella above her seat, but when she got back, it was gone! When she had left her seat, it had been absent of passengers, but now there were three: a couple and a single person.
Sally went pale and began to cry when she saw that the umbrella was no longer there. She climbed a steel ladder and lifted herself to examine the upper level, but still couldn’t find it in that position. The other passengers felt very sorry for her and asked what the matter was. She told them that the black umbrella she had bought for her mother was gone, and that she had to get out at the next station. Nobody had seen it and her spirit was weighted down as she had lost this treasure she valued. After the three other passengers heard the story, they asked her for her mother’s address so that they could send the umbrella to her if somebody had taken it by mistake, and brought it back after Sally had got out of the train.
The next week, Sally heard from her mother. It said, “Thank you very much for your lovely presents, but why did you send me three similar black umbrellas?”