“The Red Thread Mystery”



Mrs. Mary Welsh had promised to repair her church’s red summer choir robes before they were needed.  She never imagined the size of a job it would be.  Although the fabric was in excellent condition, the garments were coming apart at the seams.  The thread originally used just was too cheap to keep the garments together.  Fortunately, Mary found a huge spool of red thread at a salvage store.  There was more than enough to do the job and it hardly cost her a thing.


Many had her husband lug her sewing machine to their barely screened in back porch so she could enjoy the scenery while she worked.  It was early enough in the spring that insects wouldn’t be a problem … and, if a squirrel ventured in through one of the windows to visit Mary while she was at her chores, all the better!  Mary loved watching the squirrels, chipmunks and birds at their labors in her back yard.


The first day, Mary had gotten the machine ready to go, but she found that filling a bobbin with thread from the huge spool was more work that she thought it would be.  She managed to fill three bobbins and then decided to make herself some cocoa.  When she came back out, she discovered that 2 of the bobbins were gone.  She decided that a stiff breeze must have set them to rolling so she got down under her sewing machine and searched all around.  She went back inside to ask her husband John if he had any reason to take her bobbins and he said he hadn’t done so.  She returned to the porch and found that the third bobbin was now missing.


Three days later, she came to her husband and said, “This is driving me crazy!  The bobbins keep getting stolen!”


John asked, “How many have gone missing so far.”


Mary answered, “Twenty-two.”


John said, “I didn’t know you had that many bobbins!”

Mary said, “I don’t.  I only had seven.”


John asked, “Then how did twenty-two get stolen?”


Mary said, “The bobbins always show up where they were taken from but without any thread in them.  I re-fill them and they get stolen again!”


John said, “Well, then they only want the thread.”


Mary said, “Then why don’t they take the huge spool of thread instead of the bobbins?  It doesn’t make any sense!”


John said, “Let me think on it.”


An hour later, John came to the door of the porch and said, “Mary, come take a walk with me.”  He took her out into the yard and pointed up at a tree.  On one of the branches was a Robin in her nest.  The nest was laced with bright red thread.


Mary said, “So that’s the thief?  I understand now why the spool wasn’t taken.  There is no way that that bird could have lifted the spool!  But what I don’t understand is why would a bird return the bobbins?  I can’t imagine that a bird would understand that I would refill the bobbins for her.”


John said, “It makes perfect sense.”


Mary said, “Then, explain it to me!”


John said, “The red thread robin will just keep a bobbin so long!”