Glurge: A little girl gives her parent a gold-wrapped box filled with kisses, then dies.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, December 2002]
The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said: "Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was full."
The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his little girl, and he begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.
An accident took the life of the child only a short time later and it is told that the father kept that gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. And whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems he would open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
Origins: Variously titled "Gold Wrapping Paper" and "The Gold Box," this piece has been reproduced in a number of inspirational and
The common Internet-circulated version of this item is based on a longer first-person account given by Margaret Fishback Powers in her 1993 book Footprints: The True Story Behind the Poem That Inspired Millions. Although Powers asserts she penned the "Footprints" poem when she was a young woman searching for direction at the crossroads in her life, her claim is disputed by the estate of Mary Stevenson, which supports
Powers' account of the gold-wrapped box story takes place at Christmas 1972 during a time when she, her husband, and their two daughters had precious little to live on. Part of their last forty dollars (which was to be used for groceries and gasoline) was spent on gold wrapping paper, an act that incited the husband to scream at his wife for being wasteful. Later that evening he discovered their youngest child had used all of the paper to wrap what looked to be a shoebox, an act that prompted him to grab her by one arm, jerk her into the air, and slap her hard several times. The next morning, after kicking the wrapped box out of the way, his little daughter informed him it was a present for him. According to Powers:
Tears were streaming down her little face as she said, "But Daddy, I did put something in it. I blew kisses into it! It's full of love just for you!"
The details of the online version (which is a restatement of the Powers story by someone who had either read the tale in her book or heard it from either of the Powers during their ministries) shift from telling to telling: the child's age is variously given as four or five years, and the parent can be either the mother or the father. It also adds the heart-wrenching element of the little girl's subsequent death and the father's seeking solace during difficult times by opening the box and taking one of the imaginary kisses from it. Our earliest collected online version of this piece dates to December 2000 and includes the following coda, leading us to believe its unknown Internet author wanted to position it as a religious piece stressing God's unconditional love:
As to whether this is a true story, while just about anything is possible with children, this tale is best regarded as a fable about appreciating the value of people over material things.
Barbara "material for thought" Mikkelson
Last updated: 16 September 2013
Powers, Margaret Fishback. Footprints: The True Story Behind the Poem That Inspired Millions. Toronto: Harper Collins, 1993 ISBN 0-551-02841-6 (pp. 64-67).