The Beg­gar and the Rich Man


Special Focus - - Contents - Wang Pei­jun 俞继东

Abeg­gar was crouch­ing on the street cor­ner near a ho­tel, shiv­er­ing in the chilly winds.

A rich man stag­gered past him, half-drunk, burp­ing with the stench of al­co­hol. The beg­gar stretched out his hand say­ing: “Brother, please do me a fa­vor.” The rich man looked at the beg­gar, more than ten years older than him­self, and sud­denly had the idea of play­ing a prank on him. Squint­ing, the rich man said, “What did you call me? You called me brother?” He took out a thou­sand bucks while talk­ing, “Let’s make a deal: don’t call me brother, call me ‘ daddy.’ One time, one hun­dred bucks.”

Without hes­i­ta­tion, the beg­gar called “daddy” loudly ten times.

The rich man had to give all the money to the beg­gar but ended up feel­ing re­morse­ful with lit­tle de­light.

The beg­gar, read­ing the rich man’s mind, said, “You are re­gret­ting what you have done, aren’t you?” Then, he said mag­nan­i­mously: “You can have your money back the same way you gave it to me.”

Sur­prised, the rich man asked, “Re­ally?”

The beg­gar said, “Yeah, but since you’re a rich guy, I’m just a beg­gar, we need to dif­fer­en­ti­ate our so­cial sta­tuses.”

The rich man asked how and the beg­gar ex­plained: “You’re a dis­tin­guished man and it was worth one hun­dred bucks for me to call you ‘daddy.’ I’m pen­ni­less and com­mon, so it will just be worth fifty if you are to call me ‘daddy.’” The rich man was re­joiced and said, “That’s it.” He re­gret­ted what he said in­stantly, but af­ter a few min­utes’ cal­cu­lat­ing in mind, he agreed to call the beg­gar ten times.

Then the rich man called out “daddy” and the beg­gar echoed proudly. Af­ter ten times the beg­gar told him to stop, gave him 500 bucks and said, “We’re even now.”

The beg­gar strode off with 500 bucks in his pocket, leav­ing the rich man shiv­er­ing in the cold wind. ( From

, Hu­nan Peo­ple’s Pub­lish­ing House. Trans­la­tion: Sam Bow­den)

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