The Prettiest Angel

The Prettiest Angel

From A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul

The Prettiest Angel

The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in his heart.

Benjamin Franklin

For the past 20 years I have spoken to all kinds of audiences in the character of Benjamin Franklin. Even though the majority of my engagements are before corporate and convention audiences, I still like to talk to school groups. When I work for corporate clients outside the Philadelphia area, I ask them to sponsor appearances in two schools as a service to their community.

I find that even very young children relate well to the message I present through the character of Benjamin Franklin. I always encourage them to ask any questions they wish, so I usually get some interesting ones. The character of Benjamin Franklin often becomes so real to these students that they willingly suspend disbelief and are caught up in a dialogue with me as if I am really Ben Franklin.

On one particular day after an assembly for an elementary school, I was visiting a fifth-grade classroom to answer questions for students who were studying American history. One student raised his hand and said, “I thought you died.” This was not an unusual question and I answered it by saying, “Well, I did die on April 17, 1790, when I was 84 years old, but I didn’t like it and I’m never going to do it again.”

I immediately asked for any other questions and called on a boy at the back of the room who raised his hand. He asked, “When you were in Heaven, did you see my mother there?”

My heart stopped. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. My only thought was, “Don’t blow this!” I realized for an 11-year-old boy to ask that question in front of all of his classmates it had to either be a very recent occurrence or of utmost concern. I also knew I had to say something.

Then I heard my voice say: “I’m not sure if she is the one I think she was, but if she is, she was the prettiest angel there.”

The smile on his face told me that it was the right answer. I’m not sure where it came from, but I think I just may have had a little help from the prettiest angel there.

Ralph Archbold

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