Milk Money

“Milk Money,” Friend, July 2006, 38–40

Milk Money

(Based on a true story)

Ask, and it shall be given you (Matt. 7:7).

Ten-year-old Vernon walked beside his father along the dusty road. He was helping herd the family’s new milk cow to the corral behind their house. Vernon’s father had been saving money to buy a cow because canned milk was too expensive and the family needed milk.

“What are we going to call her?” his father asked.

Vernon thought for a moment. “I think we should call her Daisy,” he said.

Vernon soon learned that Daisy had to be milked twice a day—every morning and every night. Before long Daisy was producing more milk than the family could drink.

One day Vernon’s mother came home from a Relief Society activity and said that one of the women in the ward had a sick baby. The doctor had said that if the baby had fresh cow’s milk to drink, he might get better.

“Since we have extra milk, would you please take a quart to Sister Goodman’s house every morning before school?” asked Vernon’s mother.

Vernon said he would. Sister Goodman did not live by the school so Vernon knew that he would have to get up early every morning to deliver the milk.

Each morning before school Vernon stopped at Sister Goodman’s house to deliver the jar of fresh milk. One day, just as he was saying good-bye to Sister Goodman, a neighbor asked Vernon to wait.

“Sister Goodman says you deliver the finest fresh milk around,” the neighbor said. “Will you please ask your parents if we could have some delivered to our house too? We would pay for the milk, of course.”

That night, Vernon told his parents about what Sister Goodman’s neighbor had asked. The next morning, Vernon delivered two quarts of milk, one to Sister Goodman and one to her neighbor. Before long, more neighbors wanted milk.

Soon almost everyone in town was asking if Vernon and his brothers could deliver fresh milk and butter to their homes. So many people wanted deliveries that Vernon’s father started using the horses and wagon to take Vernon and his brothers around before school. They bought a second cow, and then a third.

Vernon and his brothers got up at 4 a.m. each morning in order to get all the milking and delivering done before school started. And every two weeks, Vernon and his brothers went around town after school to collect the money for the milk. Because so many people wanted milk, Vernon’s father quit his job on the railroad. Now all of the money the family had came from the milk business.

One day after school, Vernon rode his horse from house to house collecting the milk money for the past two weeks. At each house he put the money into a leather pouch that he hung on the saddle.

When he got close to home, he realized the leather pouch was gone. He looked on the ground around his horse to see where it had fallen, but he couldn’t find it.

Vernon got on his horse again and rode back up the road. He rode all the way back to town searching for the leather pouch, but he couldn’t see it anywhere. As the sun began to set, he rode his horse up and down the dirt road two more times. Still he couldn’t find the money.

As it got dark, Vernon knew his parents would expect him home soon. He also knew that the milk money was all his family had to buy food for the next two weeks. He felt sick to his stomach as he thought about going home without the money. He just couldn’t go home until he found it.

Vernon thought he might get into trouble for losing the money. For a moment he thought about hiding so he wouldn’t get into trouble. But he knew that would only cause his parents to worry. Then he remembered that you should pray to Heavenly Father when you need help. Vernon got off his horse and knelt down at the side of the road. As he prayed, he explained that he had lost the money and couldn’t find it. He asked Heavenly Father to help him find the leather pouch before it got too dark to see.

When he finished praying, Vernon felt that if he would walk instead of ride the horse, he would find the money. But the sun was going down and Vernon knew this was his last chance to look before it got dark. If he rode his horse he could go faster, he thought to himself. But once again, he felt he should walk.

Leading his horse by the reins, Vernon began walking back toward town. As he walked, Vernon looked everywhere—behind weeds and rocks and in old, dried-up mud puddles.

Then, about halfway to town, Vernon kicked a large tumbleweed. There on the road where the tumbleweed had been sitting was the leather pouch. A few of the coins were spilled on the ground. As Vernon gathered the coins, he could see that all of the money was still there.

Vernon knew that if he had ridden his horse down the road again, he would have missed the leather pouch and it would have been too dark to look again. He knelt by the side of the road and thanked Heavenly Father for helping him find the leather pouch.

When Vernon got home, he told his mom and dad about how he had lost and found the money. He told them that he had prayed and had felt that he should walk instead of ride his horse. That night, Vernon and his family knelt together in prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for helping Vernon find the milk money.


President Thomas S. Monson

“Inspiration … comes to us as we bend our knees and seek the help of God.”
President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “Pathways to Perfection,” Ensign, May 2002, 100.

Illustrated by Shawna J. C. Tenney