I recently found a book at one of our local resale shops. Favorite Folktales from around the World, edited by Jane Yolen. For some reason, it really appealed to me, so I bought it. I have a small collection of Fairy and Folktales and thought this would make a nice addition.
“Tales are meant to be told.”
That’s what it said in the opening line of the introduction. Yes, they are. Storytelling is one of the oldest arts as both entertainment and for cultural need. It was the method of preserving history. Tales of kings and gods, wicked and good, frightening and soothing. All these have been passed from bard to bard, mother to child.
So, here’s a story for you …..
The Two Pickpockets
A story from England
There was a provincial pickpocket who was very successful at his work, and he thought he’d go up to London and see what he could do there. So he went up to London, and he was even more successful.
One day he was busy in Oxford Street when he suddenly found that his own pocketbook had been taken. He looked round and saw a very attractive blond girl walking away. He was sure that she was the one who had picked his pocket, so he followed her and got his pocketbook back from her. He was so much taken by her cleverness in robbing him that he suggested that they should go into partnership together. And so they did, and succeeded brilliantly.
At length the provincial pickpocket thought, “We’re the best pickpockets in London. If we married we could breed up a race of the best pickpockets in the world.” So he asked the girl, and she was quite agreeable, and they were married, and in due time a beautiful little baby boy was born to them. The poor little fellow was deformed. His right arm was bent to his chest, and the little fist tightly clenched. And nothing they could do would straighten it.
The poor parents were much distressed. “He’ll never make a pickpocket,” they said, “with a paralyzed right arm.” They took him at once to the doctor, but the doctor said he was too young, they must wait. But they didn’t want to wait; they took him to one doctor after another, and at last – because they were very rich by this time – to the best child specialist they could hear of.
The specialist took out his gold watch, and felt the pulse on the little paralyzed arm. “The flow of blood seems normal,” he said. “What a bright little fellow he is for his age”. He’s focusing his eyes on my watch.” He took the chain out of his waistcoat, and swung the watch to and fro, and the baby’s eyes followed it. Then the little bent arm straightened out towards the watch, the little clenched fingers opened to take it, and down dropped the midwife’s gold wedding ring.
No moral – just a story.