morning I was a hopeless, aimless bit of garbage in the ash
Tonight, I wouldn't change places with a
Currier sat alone in the café. He dreamed of better times and sipped his coffee. Suddenly, the
door opened and Sturtevant walked in.
Sturtevant was an undeniable failure. Even though he was an artist of more than ordinary talent,
he had fallen on hard times. And yet there was something new and strange in his appearance.
Currier could not remember when he had invited Sturtevant to dine with him, but involuntarily
Currier beckoned to him.
Sturtevant said, “I see that I
have surprised you. It is not strange, for I
am a surprise to myself. I am a new man,
a different man -- and the alteration
has taken place in the last few
You have seen me come into this place 'broke' many a time -- when you have turned away so that I
would think you did not see me.
Tomorrow my new career begins. Within a month I shall have a bank account with funds.
Why? Because I have discovered the secret of success. My fortune is made.” said
“I have been reading a strange story -- and since reading it I feel that my fortune is assured.
It will make your fortune, too. All you have to do is read it. You have no idea what it will do for
Nothing is impossible -- after
you know that story. It makes everything
as plain as A, B, C. The very instant
you grasp its true meaning, success
This morning I was a hopeless, aimless bit of garbage in the metropolitan ash can. Tonight, I
wouldn't change places with a millionaire. That sounds foolish, but it is true. The millionaire has
already spent his enthusiasm -- but mine is all at hand.”
"You amaze me," said Currier, wondering if he had been drinking absinthe.
“This morning I was starving. I hadn't any credit, nor a place to get a meal. I was seriously
meditating suicide. I had gone to three of the newspapers for which I had done work, and had been
handed back all the work I had submitted. I had to choose quickly between death by suicide and
death slowly by starvation.
Then I found
the story and read it. You can hardly
imagine the transformation. Everything changed
When I discovered this strange story,
I began casually to read it, and in a
moment I was interested. Before I left it, I
had read it through many times, so that
I could repeat it almost word for word.
It affected me strangely -- as if I had
come in contact with some strong
After I had read it several times, I began to think it over. I couldn't stay in the house, so I
seized my coat and hat and went out. I must have walked several miles, buoyantly, without realizing
that I was the same man -- who only a short time before had been in the depths of despondency.
It is the most remarkable story you
have ever heard. It made a new man out of
me. Within twenty-four hours I was on my
feet -- and I've hardly known a care or
a trouble since.”
"Sturtevant, where did you find
“I found the strange story pasted in an old scrapbook bound in rawhide -- which I purchased for
three cents on Ann Street. The printed pages were formed with odd yellow paper and homemade
parchment. It could have originated in no other brain than that of its author.
It’s remarkable that the story has remained in print for so long. There isn't a clue about what
publication the story originally appeared, or who wrote it. I’m very fortunate to have found
Sturtevant said, “Everyone who has
heard the story has done well since. They’ve
all experienced the same results that I
have. It’s not the story itself that
performs the surgical operation on the minds
of those who are familiar with it; It is
the way the story is told -- in
The author has, somehow, produced a psychological effect which is indescribable. The reader is
hypnotized. He receives a mental and moral tonic. There seems to be a personal element in the story
that applies to everyone who reads it.
It seems incredible that a mere story can have such a tonic effect upon the success of so many
persons who are engaged in such widely different occupations, but that is what it has done."
"Won't you tell me the story? I
should like to hear it.” said Currier.
"Certainly. I mean to tell it to the whole world."
"Sturtevant, I am rapidly being driven mad by the existence of this confounded story. If you
have any consideration for an old friend – you will tell me this story right now.”
"All right," he said. "You shall have
it. But you must read the story for