Ian was working his plan. It had taken him a while to think of it—and even more time to find the nerve to try it. Now, in the predawn light, he heaved the basket of fruit and grain down heavily at the offering spot. It landed with a loud thump. Ian rubbed his shoulder. It was his second trip to the mountain with a bonus offering in as many weeks.
He had thought extra fruit and greens would be just what the workers needed, but the results had been disappointing. Each day the basket was empty, so the offering had been accepted. But there was no sign of improvement in the quantity of jewels.
He knelt and fingered the cracked gems in the bottom of a chest. No change in the quality either. He started to close the chest . . . but thought better of it. He had an idea.
Why not? he reasoned, as he dug into his pocket, finding a small piece of parchment. Carefully, he wrote in his best script:
"Thank you for your good work. Great job."
He rocked back on his heels and considered the insincere words for a moment, then crumpled the paper up. He took out another piece and tried again:
"I noticed 40 undamaged gems were added to the chest today, and they look incredible! I know it takes a lot of effort to treat them gently and protect them from damage. So thank you for those efforts."
He centered the paper on top of the gems and shut the chest.
Now, he could only wait and see.
It was another week before he could return to the offering spot. And it surprised him how nervous ...