This site contains only the content of the book. Photographs by A. Rhae Adams and drawings are only available in hardcopy.
Once on a modern time, a stranger came to town. Now it wasn't as if the town had never seen a stranger before. It had. However, it had never seen one like Hans.
Hans said he was German. There were Germans in the area. He didn't look anything like them. His skin was darker and he was lean. Somehow, that was enough to make some people not trust him.
He claimed to be an artist. That was different. The only artists anyone knew were teachers and students at the college, and he was not at the college.
Indeed, he didn't work anywhere. He did odd jobs now and again. In the summers, enough people trusted him to let him do yard work, paint houses or do other outside work.
Soon after he arrived in town, he volunteered for the children's reading hour at the library. However, before long, the librarian had to ask him to stop. Too many parents refused to leave their children when he was there.
He was good with young people, though, and they seemed drawn to him. In the spring, the student committee asked him to help with decorating for the prom. The job called for building skills coupled with artistic ability. Hans had both.
The committee told him they couldn't pay him much, little more than enough to cover his expenses. Still, jobs for him had been few all winter, and he thought it would be good advertising. So, he put his full attention to the task.
His effort surpassed the committee's wildest expectation. Everyone said the decorations were the greatest that the school ever had. However, when Hans came to school, on Monday, to present his bill, he was told that the student committee had no authority to authorize his expenses.
Angry, Hans made quite a scene. He made threats that he really didn't mean and, probably, had little ability to accomplish. Nevertheless, the threats soon spread across the town. People, then, actually began to fear Hans.
The town's Mayor feeling the need to take some action to protect the town's youth from Hans decided to ask Faith Moon to talk with Hans. Faith Moon had helped the Mayor resolve problems in the past. He hoped that she might find a solution to this problem as well.
Thus, Mother Moon sought and found Hans. He lived in a hovel, but once inside, she was impressed. He had turned it into a combination studio-gallery. He had produced lovely and exciting pieces from what had previously been trash. Faith admired an ornate flute carved from a piece of driftwood. She even purchased a planter hewed from an old tree stump.
On her inquiry, Hans told her why he was angry with the school. Her face showed disgust while he was telling his story. When he finished, she replied:
The school unfairly treated you.
That's clear for me to see.
We must next find the best course to pursue
To make your case to the community.
Your anger may be justified.
But, idle threats do nothing good for you.
Our anger is good only for the energy
To help us to do what we need to do.
Your talent permits you to see the beauty in what others see as trash.
Even driftwood has much worth when touched by the artist's hand.
This principle we need to make most clear for others to see.
Like your art, we need an apt solution to produce,
So to remove the problem that exists today in the community.
The education board must honor your claim
And the commerce chamber must promote your work.
We need to use your energy for good
And, thus, allow the world to see your work.
True to her word, Mother Moon helped Hans to collect his pay from the Board of Education. The Chamber was forthcoming with a corner to show Hans' creations. Soon, the library also had a display, followed by one at the college.
The exhibition at the college drew a wide viewing. Among those who visited was a graduate of the college, who owned a gallery in New York. The offer to come to New York was too good for Hans to refuse. Thereafter, the town took pride in the German artist who once lived among them.