The Beggar and the Rich Man
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)