English Story

The cobbler and the banker

A cobbler(补鞋匠,工匠) passed his time in singing from morning till night; it was wonderful to see, wonderful to hear him; he was more contented in shoes, than was any of the seven sages. his neighbor, on the contrary, who was rolling in wealth, sung but little and slept less. He was a banker; when by chance he fell into a doze at day-break, the cobbler awoke him with his song.

The banker complained sadly that providence had not made sleep a saleable(畅销的) commodity, like edibles or drinkables. Having at length sent for the songster, he said to him, "how much a year do you earn, master gregory?" "how much a year, sir?"said the merry cobbler laughing, "I have reckon in that way, living as I do from one day to another; somehow I manage to reach the end of the year; each day brings its meal." "Well then! how much a day do you earn, my friend?""Sometimes more, sometimes less; but the worst of it is, and, without that our earnings would be very tolerable, a number of days occur in the year on which we are forbidden to work; and the curate, moreover, is constantly adding some new saint to the list." the banker, laughing at his simplicity, said, "in the future I shall place you above want. Take this hundred crowns, preserve them carefully, and make use of them in time of need."

The cobbler fancied he beheld 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 moment he acquired that which is the source of so much grief. Sleep quitted his dwelling; and cares, suspicions, and false alarms took its place, all day, his eye wandered in the direction of his treasure; and at night, if some stray(迷路的) cat made a noise, the cat was robbing him. At length the poor man ran to the house of his rich neighbor: "give me back."said he, "Sleep and my voice, and take your hundred crowns."