19 January 2018
A Cautionary Tale of Revenge from Russia
With thanks to Andrei who told me this story.
There was a beggar who pestered a rich man persistently. Unlike the chap in the Gospel, the rich man didn’t give him anything, just to get rid of him, but instead took up a stone and pitched it at him with an oath.
The beggar picked the stone up and put it in his bosom. (A lovely phrase implying at least a vest or wrap of some sort.)
Some time later the rich man was done for fraud or some such; cuffed and led away to prison. The beggar, an observer of the fellow’s disgrace, reached for the stone in his bosom, thinking to get his own back at last. (No doubt others were flinging dung, rotten cabbage leaves and old eggs.)
But the beggar dropped the stone to the earth, saying to himself:
“I have carried this stone for nothing.
When the man was rich and strong I was frightened of him.
Now I pity him.”
A fable to remember this New Year?
May it be a peaceful one!