In 1485 Columbus had been
a respected sea captain, so esteemed and
well-connected he was allowed to present to
Portugal's King John II his scheme to reach
China by sailing west. But King John had
rejected him, causing him to go to Spain with
his proposal. In 1486 he met a kindred spirit
in Queen Isabella but King Ferdinand was
interested in using the Spanish Crown's money
to wage war against the Muslims in Granada.
However Ferdinand put Columbus 'on ice' with a
modest retainer. In the meantime Columbus'
brother Bartholomew presented the proposal to
England's King Henry VII. It was rejected. And
the long wait continued. Columbus was
miserable when he was not at sea. A second
attempt in Portugal failed. A second try at
the Spanish royalty in 1489 failed. By then he
no longer had a retainer. Brother
Bartholomew's proposal to France's King
Charles VII failed. Meanwhile Columbus'
prestige fell. At first the Spaniards
whispered about him, but finally sensing the
royalty had deserted him they made fun of him
to his face. To them he was map-toting
crackpot, a captain with no ship. Ridicule
stung Columbus almost as much as idling his
life away ashore. Yet still he waited. Then in
1491 Ferdinand and Isabella not only summoned
him but sent money so he could buy suitable
clothes first. Everyone in Spain by now knew
the crazy sea captain was miserably poor.
Still, this third attempt seemed to go very
well with the royalty. And when Spain
concluded its war against Grenada January 1492
Columbus was sure he was going to get his
Then - after six and a
half long years of waiting - the answer came:
In a daze he packed his
few belongings, including his beloved maps,
and loaded them on a mule. Somehow he would
get to France and try the king there - again.
But how much failure and ridicule could he
[source: Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life
of Christopher Columbus by Samuel Eliot
Frederick the Wise (1463-1525)
anecdote for Frederick the Wise is available HERE.
Billy Graham (1918-alive)
In 1937 Billy enrolled at
the Florida Bible Institute near Tampa.
Students were urged to practice preaching. The
word was out: a student had to be ever ready
to preach when the 'opportunity' came.
Billy polished four sermons he memorized from
a book, a common practice. He had in his
head what he figured were at least two hours
of preaching. Who knew when he would be
called? Sure enough, Billy soon got his
call: he preached one night at a small church
near Palatka. He raged on the pulpit. In fact
he blasted out all four of his sermons in
less than ten minutes! The wide-eyed
congregation looked like they had been
miserable. Why couldn't he slow down and
speak like a real preacher? Night after night
he agonized over doubts. For the first time in
his life he could not sleep. He developed back
aches and took to lying on the floor to ease
the pain. Sometimes he had to leave his dorm
room and wander the grounds. Maybe he
shouldn't be a preacher at all. Once on a
sidewalk in downtown Tampa he stood at the
door of a sleazy bar haranguing the people
inside about their certain steps to hell. The
bartender whacked him sprawling into the
street. When he went home to Charlotte his own
family heard him preach. His parents were
stupefied. His sisters were embarrassed.
Ministers in the Tampa
area had doubts too. Billy heard the rumors.
Oh, he was powerful at praying. More than
anyone they had ever heard he seemed to
actually talk to God. But his preaching was so
frenetic, said the whispers. Billy flailed the
air with his pipe-stem arms, pounced around
the pulpit like a man swatting flies, boomed
his raw North Carolina twang to the far pews.
Somehow that skinny throat bellowed like a
freight train. And yet his message was plain
vanilla. The pointy finger: 'You are a sinner.
Christ died to pay for your sins. But
you must accept Christ to be saved.' Many
whispered that only the most backward hick
would respond to Billy's loud, frenzied
He seemed such a loser.
[sources: Billy Graham: The Authorized
Biography by John Pollock,
1966, and A Prophet With Honor: The Billy
Graham Story by William Martin,