A man wanted to buy an ass. He went to the market, and saw a likely one. But he wanted to test him first.
So he took the ass home, and put him into the stable with the other asses. The new ass looked around, and immediately went to choose a place next to the laziest ass in the stable.
When the man saw this he put a halter on the ass at once, and gave him back to his owner.
The owner felt quite surprised. He asked the man, "Why are you back so soon? Have you tested him already?" "I don't want to test him any more," replied the man, "From the companion he chose for himself, I could see what sort of animal he is."
"Ten steps from the porch and twenty steps from the rose bushes," growled Bluebeard in Jimmy's dream one night. "There be treasure there! Aawrgh."
So the next day Jimmy began to dig. He dug until the hole was deep and the dirt pile was high. He kept digging. The hole got deeper and the dirt pile got higher.
He dug until the hole was deepest and the dirt pile was at its highest. He sighed. "I'm too tired. I can't dig anymore." Then he spied something.
but it was only one of Woofy's bones. Instead of treasure, all Jimmy had was a dog bone, a hole, and a big pile of dirt to fill it in with. He thought "That pirate lied to me!"
But when Jimmy's mother saw what he had done, she clasped her hands and smiled a smile from here to Sunday. "Oh, thank you, Jimmy. I always wanted a rhododendron bush planted just there. Here's $5.00 for digging that hole."
They huddled inside the storm door -- two children in ragged outgrown coats.
"Any old papers, lady?"
I was busy. I wanted to say no -- until I looked down at their feet.
Thin little sandals, sopped with sleet.
"Come in and I'll make you a cup of hot cocoa."
There was no conversation. Their soggy sandals left marks upon the hearthstone.
I served them cocoa and toast with jam to fortify against the chill outside.
Then I went back to the kitchen and started again on my household budget.
The silence in the front room struck through to me. I looked in. The girl held the empty cup in her hands, looking at it. The boy asked in a flat voice," Lady ... are you rich?"
"Am I rich? Mercy, no!" I looked at my shabby slipcovers. The girl put her cup back in its saucer -- carefully.
"Your cups match your saucers."
Her voice was old, with a hunger that was not of the stomach. They left then, holding their bundles of papers against the wind. They hadn't said thank you.
They didn't need to. They had done more than that. Plain blue pottery cups and saucers. But they matched.
I tested the potatoes and stirred the gravy. Potatoes and brown gravy, a roof over our heads, my man with a good steady job -- these things matched, too.
I moved the chairs back from the fire and tidied the living room. The muddy prints of small sandals were still wet upon my hearth. I let them be.
I want them there in case I ever forget again how very rich I am.