The $30,000 Bequest
written by Mark Twain
"The $30,000 Bequest:" One of the funniest of Mark Twain's short stories, this masterpiece centers on how an imagination can lead a person in the wrong direction. In anticipation of a $30,000 inheritance, a lower-class couple with two daughters receives a letter from a rich relative telling them that he will leave them the inheritance, but it must remain a secret, and they must never inquire as to when he dies. For years, the couple scrapes by while they invest what little money they do have. They become multi-millionaires, but lose everything in a stock market crash and owe everyone. They didn't worry, because they knew the bequest would come eventually. When a bill collector comes to their house one day, he tells them the benefactor has died penniless. They couple wasted their lives dreaming of what they never had.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the "greatest humorist the United States has produced", and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature". His novels include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), and the latter often called "The Great American Novel".