Key words£ºmerchant, shoemaker, money, poor, rich  
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Genre£ºfolklore Topic£ºmoney Words: 570
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ESL,  English,  Story,  Tale,  Legend, Folktale, Myth, Fable, Learning, Teaching

He could not sing merrily now.
Whenever he thought of the money bag,
he became uneasy and unhappy.

The shoemaker and the merchant

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Author£ºUnknown Source£ºwww.wretch.cc  
Nation£ºUnknown Date£º2008-9-7



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Once there lived a rich merchant and a poor shoemaker in the same house. The merchant occupied the second floor, and the shoemaker lived and worked in a small room on the first floor.

The shoemaker was one of the happiest persons on earth. He worked from morning till night, singing merrily. His heart was filled with joy, whenever he looked at the boots and shoes to be repaired.

Now the merchant upstairs was so rich that he hardly knew how much wealth he had. He was always counting over his gold and silver coins far into the night. Even in bed his uneasiness about his riches kept him awake when at last he had been asleep for an hour or two, up came the song of the happy shoemaker, who was an early riser.

It continued all day and was a trouble to the merchant day by day the merchant grew more and more tired through want of sleep he asked a wise friend of his how he could put an end to the shoemaker's song.

¡°Well, if I were you, I would give the shoemaker a hundred pounds,¡± answered his friend. ¡°You are rich enough to do that, I suppose. Ask for nothing in return. Simply give the money. ¡±The merchant readily followed the advice.

When the shoemaker opened the bag that had been sent by the merchant, he was amazed to find shining coins. ¡°I must hide this from the eyes of my neighbors. If they see it, they will think that I have stolen it,¡± he thought. ¡°I will keep it away even from my wife.¡±

So he hid the bag of money under the floor. From then on he avoided his neighbors as much as he could. His wife who had been the best companion to him, became troublesome now his mind was too much set on the money bag to attend to his work with diligence. He could not sing merrily now. Whenever he thought of the money bag, he became uneasy and unhappy.

At length one day his wife said to him in tears, ¡°Dear husband, what makes you so sad and uneasy? All our neighbors say you have changed. I wish you were as good and gentle as before.¡± He was so sorry for her that he told her everything.

¡°We were happy before the merchant gave us the money, ¡± said his wife, when she heard the story. ¡°We have good health. We have plenty of work to do. What more do we need? Send the money back to the merchant, and the happy life that was once ours will return to us.¡±

The shoemaker agreed and went to the merchant to return the bag of money. ¡°Sir,¡± he said, ¡°let me return this to you. By giving this to me, you have spoiled my happy and easy life. So I want to have it back by returning your present.¡±

Merry song was again heard all over the house. He was as happy as he had ever been.

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Discussion£º

1. Why did the merchant give the shoemaker a hundred pounds? 

2. What happened after the shoemaker received the money?

3. Why did the shoemaker decide to return the money to the merchant?

4. Can you live happily if you are poor?

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