In this endearing episode, the Sunday school students decide to pool their money to buy Reverend Alden a new bible for his birthday. The collected $1.67 is entrusted to Mary, who finds a nice one in a catalog and plans to order it immediately. Laura, who thinks he should have one "with real gold lettering on the cover", talks Mary into buying one for $4. She also finds a way to pay for it--or so she thinks. She uses the original funds to buy medicine to sell door-to-door for a profit. Various sales techniques fail to sell even a single bottle. The girls, terrified of what their classmates will think, confess their mistake to Charles, and to reverend Alden, just before Sunday services. In typical LHOTP fashion, the reverend quickly changes his sermon to one on "the gift of love", whereupon he holds up a wooden box(which we know contains the medicine), and thanks the children of the class for this "lovely bible case...how did you know my old bible was falling apart, and needed a case"? A subplot involves the Oleson children's refusal to donate to the fund; they buy their own bible for him, but don't give it to him after he announces from the pulpit that, "when you're a reverend, everyone gives you a bible, but never a bible case". The Oleson kids get "served", which is always satisfying.
One dollar and sixty-seven cents is not a lot of money when you wanto to buy your Reverend a lovely new bible for his upcoming birthday, but that's all the cash the Sunday School class have and none of the bibles in the catalogue are that cheap and so, Laura hatches what she considers to be an ingenius plan - she sends for some mail order patent medicines which supposedly cure just about everything and intends to sell them door to door. A reluctant Mary had given her the money from the Sunday School fund. Nellie Oleson learns that the class are going to buy him a bible and sets about making sure that she and her family present him with the best one available while Laura learns a hard lesson about quack medicines - nobody will buy them, not even for 25 cents a bottle!
The dilemma is fixed, however, when Reverend Alden speaks during his Sunday sermon about how the ratty old bible that he carries used to belong to his father and that he would never part with it, but he is delighted with the lovely wooden 'case' the Sunday School class have given him to keep it in! Ah well, at least the medicines were worth something!
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