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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "How Greed for a Trifling Thing Led a Man to Lose a Great One"

How Greed for a Trifling Thing Led a Man to Lose a Great One

Once upon a time there was an old woman, who had two sons. But her older son did not love his parents, and left his mother and brother. The younger one served her so faithfully, however, that all the people spoke of his filial affection.

One day it happened that there was a theatrical performance given outside the village. The younger son started to carry his mother there on his back, so that she might look on. But there was a ravine before the village, and he slipped and fell down in the middle of it. And his mother was killed by the rolling stones, and her blood and flesh were sprinkled about everywhere. The son stroked his mother’s corpse, and wept bitterly. He was about to kill himself when, suddenly, he saw a priest standing before him.

The latter said: “Have no fear, for I can bring your mother back to life again!” And as he said so, he stooped, gathered up her flesh and bones, and laid them together as they should be. Then he breathed upon them, and at once the mother was alive again. This made the son very happy, and he thanked the priest on his knees. Yet on a sharp point of rock he still saw a bit of his mother’s flesh hanging, a bit about an inch long.

“That should not be left hanging there either,” said he, and hid it in his breast.

“In truth, you love your mother as a son should,” said the priest. Then he bade the son give him the bit of flesh, kneaded a manikin out of it, breathed upon it, and in a minute there it stood, a really fine-looking little boy.

“His name is Small Profit,” said he, turning to the son, “and you may call him brother. You are poor and have not the wherewithal with which to nourish your mother. If you need something, Small Profit can get it for you.”

The son thanked him once more, then took his mother on his back again, and his new little brother by the hand, and went home. And when he said to Small Profit: “Bring meat and wine!” then meat and wine were at hand at once, and steaming rice was already cooking in the pot. And when he said to Small Profit: “Bring money and cloth!

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