While doing some routine purging and closet cleaning, he came across the box. It was a plain enough looking box, sort of a tan color, and slightly smaller than a shoe box. It had no markings or notable features, just a lid that flipped back to reveal its contents.
And so he opened it. No ills nor hard toils escaped, no heavy sickness leapt from the box. What fell out were a multitude of small silk-like ribbons.
1st place. Winner. Champion. These were ribbons he had won as a child, dozens of them. Not all of them were first place ribbons. Some were secon place ribbons, some third place, even one sixth place ribbon. But the vast majority of them were 1st place prizes.
He had earned these ribbons in games of endurance and fitness and sportsmanship. He had won chess tournaments, science fairs and public speaking contests. Some of the ribbons were academic achievement awards, and others were awards of recognition for public service.
Like the box suddenly opened, he discovered the child he had once been. And he promised himself he would never let that child be lost in the bustle of life again.
Hope in the form of childhood ribbons had sprung from the box.