Thaddeus Stephen Bicker, at 12 years old, already had the worst luck. Everywhere he turned, something bad was happening. He lived in a very loving household, but they were poor as poor could be. His parents worked in the factory for pennies a day, with not enough left at the end of the week to buy food to fill their bellies. Young Thaddeus learned quickly to beg, borrow, or steal if he wanted to eat more than stale bread. One day, his parents left for work, but never came home. He waited and waited for them, until his stomach was grumbling so loudly, he couldn’t hear anything else.
Thaddeus carefully left their shack in search of something to eat. After sneaking a small roll and an apple from the grocer when he turned around to help a lady, he started back for home. Only when he arrived, the door was ajar and he heard crashing coming from inside.
From his hiding spot outside the front door, he heard two men mumbling about a map. Once the men had left, he went to his father’s hiding spot under the living room floor, discovering a worn piece of rolled up parchment. Gathering up his few prized possessions, the parchment, and his grandfather’s old, weathered leather bag, he quietly left the shack and headed down to the river.
So frightened he was shaking, and lost in his own thoughts, he didn’t notice the young, wealthy woman, strolling down the path by the river as well. Not until he bumped right into her, that is! The woman looked down at him and demanded (but nicely) that he accompany her home. He did the only thing he could think to do, which was to hold out his arm for her to take and walked her home.