Alfred P. Mathews is the very definition of a miser. He wears a ratty old overcoat and complains about the price of everything so people will think he is poor. He doesn’t have any friends and keeps his family away because he thinks they are all after his money.
He never goes to see a movie or to a restaurant. Instead he eats week-old bread and goes to bed early to save on electricity. He has a regular income from something he invented years ago, but keeps it a secret.
He doesn’t trust banks. Where does he put all his money? He buries it, under a tree in his backyard. Every week he sneaks out, when it’s dark, to dig up the box.
One night a robber, zoning through the back streets, sees Alfred shoveling dirt into a hole.
- Interesting, he says. I wonder what the old man is up to.
The next evening the robber retraces his steps and settles at a comfortable distance from Alfred’s house with a pair of binoculars. He is patient.
A week later, right on time, Alfred is in the yard again with lantern and shovel. The thief moves a bit closer. He watches in wonder as Alfred opens the box and sits with his back against the tree to count his money. He then carefully returns the money in the box, closes it and places it back in the hole.
- Well I’ll be darned, just look at that, says the robber...