The Kindly Magician
Once upon a time there was a man named Du Dsi Tschun. In his youth he was a spendthrift and paid no heed to his property. He was given to drink and idling. When he had run through all his money, his relatives cast him out. One winter day he was walking barefoot about the city, with an empty stomach and torn clothes. Evening came on and still he had not found any food. Without end or aim he wandered about the market place. He was hungry, and the cold seemed well nigh unendurable. So he turned his eyes upward and began to lament aloud.
Suddenly an ancient man stood before him, leaning on a staff, who said: “What do you lack since you complain so?”
“I am dying of hunger,” replied Du Dsi Tschun, “and not a soul will take pity on me!”
The ancient man said: “How much money would you need in order to live in all comfort?”
“If I had fifty thousand pieces of copper it would answer my purpose,” replied Du Dsi Tschun.
The ancient said: “That would not answer.”
“Well, then, a million!”
“That is still too little!”
“Well, then, three million!”
The ancient man said: “That is well spoken!” He fetched a thousand pieces of copper out of his sleeve and said: “That is for this evening. Expect me to-morrow by noon, at the Persian Bazaar!”
At the time set Du Dsi Tschun went there, and, sure enough, there was the ancient, who gave him three million pieces of copper. Then he disappeared, without giving his name.
When Du Dsi Tschun held the money in his hand, his love for prodigality once more awoke. He rode pampered steeds, clothed himself in the finest furs, went back to his wine, and led such an extravagant life that the money gradually came to an end. Instead of wearing brocade he had to wear cotton, and instead of riding horseback he went to the dogs. Finally he was again running about barefoot and in rags as before, and did not know how to satisfy his hunger. Once more he stood in the market-place and sighed. But the ancient was already there, took him by the hand and said: “Are you back already to where you were?