Laura E. Richards’s ‘The Golden Windows’: Finding What’s Truly Important

When we journey out to discover something, we do not always find what we wish or think we need. When the little boy in Laura E. Richards’s short story “The Golden Windows” sets out to find gold and diamonds, he learns that one’s perspective and wonder for life is what is true and worthy.

The little boy lives in a house on a hill. Across from his house, there sits another house on another hill. This house is special because it has “windows of clear gold and diamonds” and, every evening, the windows glow and shine.

One special day, the little boy’s father decides that the little boy has earned a holiday. His father says, “Take this day for your own; but remember that God gave it, and try to learn some good thing.”

Excited, the boy packs some bread and heads off to find the house with the gold and diamond windows. He wants to see such a wonderful house.

His journey to the house is very pleasant. His footprints and shadow keep him company as he walks and dances his way, with wonder and curiosity leading him.

A Sudden Realization

Finally, the little boy reaches the top of the hill and finds the house. But, to his great disappointment, he finds that the house’s windows are simply glass.

When he knocks on the door and describes his confusion to the mother, she explains that they are common people and would never have such spectacular windows. This new knowledge is shocking. The little boy has been enlightened, but also gravely disappointed.

To comfort him, the mother gives him a treat. Then she sends her little daughter out to comfort him. The little girl shows him around their farm. She shows him her cow and all her special treasures. Hey, in turn, describes his cow and all his special treasures. They both wonder at each other.

However, when the little boy explains his desire to find the windows of gold and diamonds, he is surprised to hear that the little girl knows of the windows but, she says, he is on the wrong hill.

The next sight also proves enlightening for the little boy. The windows that the little girl speaks of belong to a house on a neighboring hill. She says that she also wonders at such special windows.

Though the little boy does not discover what he set out to find, he finds something far more important. He sees that the way we see things, our homes, and families, will make them worth more than gold or diamonds.

The little boy’s father advises: “Take this day for your own; but remember that God gave it, and try to learn some good thing.” (famveld/Shutterstock)

Richards shows that we must be thankful for what we have. We might go out searching for new and brighter things, but we must not forget the special treasure that we have: our home. Our homes and families are far more precious and valuable than any gold or diamonds.

When we look at things with wonder, they will reflect that wonder and shine more brightly than any gold or diamonds.

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