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The Candidate

(from the January 1977 New Mexico Freemason)

A young man passed a pawnbroker's shop. The moneylender was standing in front of his shop, and the young man noted that he was wearing a large and beautiful Masonic emblem. After going on a whole block, apparently lost in thought, the young man turned back, stepped up to the pawnbroker, and addressed him,

"I see you're wearing a Masonic emblem. I'm a Freemason too. It happens that I'm desperately in need of $25 just now and if you could lend it to me I shall be happy to repay it within ten days. You don't know me, but I wonder whether the fact that you are a Freemason and that I am a Freemason is sufficient to induce you to lend me the money on my personal note"

The pawnbroker mentally appraised the young man who was clean cut, neat and well dressed. After a moment's thought, he agreed to make the loan on the strenght of the young man being a Freemason. Within a few days the young man repaid the loan and that ended the transaction.

About four months later the young man was in a Lodge receiving the Entered Apprentice Degree; he had not really been a Freemason when he borrowed the money! Looking around the Lodge room he saw the pawnbroker from whom he had borrowed the $25. His face turned crimson and he became nervous and jittery. He wondered whether he had been recognised by the pawnbroker. Apparently not, so he planned at the first opportunity to leave the Lodge room and avoid his benefactor. As soon as the Lodge was closed he moved quickly for the door, but the pawnbroker had recognised the young man, headed him off and, to the young man's astonishment, approached him and greeted him with a smile and outstretched hand.

"Well, I see you weren't a Freemason after all when you borrowed that $25," said the pawnbroker.

The blood rushed to the young man's face as he stammered, "No, I wasn't, but I wish you'd let me explain. I had always heard that Freemasons were charitable and ready to aid a brother in distress. When I passed your shop that day I didn't need the $25. I had plenty of money in my wallet, but when I saw the Masonic emblem you were wearing, I decided to find out whether the things I'd heard about Freemasons were true. You let me have the money on the strenght of my being a Freemason so I concluded that what I had heard about Masons was true; that they are charitable, that they do aid Brethren in distress. That made such a deep impression on me that presented my petition to this Lodge and here I am. I trust that with this explanation you will forgive me for having lied to you."

The pawnbroker responded, "Don't let that worry you too much. I wasn't a Freemason when I let you have the money. I had no business wearing the Masonic emblem you saw. Another man had just borrowed some money on it and it was so pretty that I put it on my lapel for a few minutes. I took it off the moment you left. I didn't want anyone else borrowing money on the strength of my being a Freemason. When younasked for that $25, I rememberd what I had heard about Masons, that they were honest, upright and cared for their obnligations promptly. It seemed to me that $25 wouldn't be too much to lose to learn if what I'd heard was true, so I lent you the money and yoiu repaid it exactly as you said you would. That convinced me that what I'd heard about Masons was true so I presented my petition to this Lodge. I was the candidate just ahead of you."