鞋匠与银行家(The Cobbler And The Banker)
The Cobbler And The Banker
A cobbler passed his time in singing from morning till night; it was wonderful to see, wonderful to hear him; he was more satisfied in making shoes than anyone else.
His neighbor, on the contrary, who was rolling in wealth, sang but little, and slept less. He was a banker; when by chance he fell into a sleep at day-break, the cobbler awoke him with his song. The banker complained sadly that God had not made sleep a saleable product, like foods or drinks.
Then he visited the cobbler and asked him, “How much a year do you earn, Master Gregory?”
“How much a year, sir?” said the merry cobbler laughing, “I never count my income in that way, l iving as what I like from one day to another; somehow I m anage to make the ends meet throughout the year; each day brings its meals.”
“Well then! How much a day do you earn, my friend?” asked the banker continuously.
“Sometimes more, sometimes less; but the worst of it is that a number of days occur in the year on which we are forbidden to work, so we won’t earn any money during these days, without which our earnings would be better.”
The banker, who was laughing at the cobbler’s simplicity, said that “In the future, I wil l satisfy what you want. Take the hundred coins, preserve them carefully, and make use of them in time of need.”
The cobbler was very delighted and fancied that he possessed all the wealth which the earth had produced in the past century for the use of mankind.
Returning home, he buried his money and his happiness at the same time. No more singing; he lost his voice. The banker could now have a sound sleep. However, at that moment, the cobbler realized that what he acquired now was the source of sorrow. Sleep broke up with him; and cares, suspicions, and false alarms took its place.
All day, his eye wandered in the direction of the treasure, even at night, if some naughty cats made noises, he would think somebody was robbing him.
At last, the poor man ran to the house of his rich neighbor; “Give me back,” said he, “sleep and my voice, and take your hundred coins.”