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Money Lost, Money Gained
by Hu Zhi

Richard was in his early thirties but, with his surprisingly grey hair, he looked older than his age.

Three years ago on his way back home from work, it started to rain. A moment later it was pouring with heavy rain so he was forced to run into one of his neighbours' houses. Soon the rain stopped. He was about to go back home when the lady said that he had taken her purse containing lots of money. And it was all the money she had collected for his son’s wedding. She said that he had been the only person that had seen her purse. Although he explained that he had never seen her purse, she came repeatedly to his house to shout for the money. To make matters worse, his house caught fire and was burnt down. So, most of the villagers drew the conclusion that he had taken the money. They forced him to give back the money.

“Oh, no, I didn’t see the money, let alone take it!” he swore. “Please believe me!”

The lady’s frequent disturbances had irritated his wife a lot. So just before the New Year she left home, never to return.

Now he had become quite notorious. He felt tired and hopeless.

“If I had that much money, I would return it to her!” he begged the lady. “I would rather buy back my life with the money! But where could I get so much money!”

The next year the lady troubled him more often.

“Believe me. I didn’t pick up your money. If you stop disturbing me, I will go and earn money to return to you!” he promised.

Later on he went up to the big city. However, the lady said that he had fled with her money.

And three years later, Richard came home, with the money to return to the lady. When he had handed the money to her, she asked him for the interest. He apologized to her, saying that he had no more money with him.

Again, he went up to town. And two months saw him return the interest to her. Soon after his return, an idea came to him.

“Why not change the dry pond into a pool to keep fish in the village?” he said to himself. And soon he started to work on it. And to his great astonishment, while working one day he found a purse containing a large sum of money, enough for a son’s wedding. He showed it to the villagers and the lady as well. She wept sadly.

“It is nothing serious. Now you know I didn’t take your purse.” he smiled. “I am sorry, but I will go back home, for tomorrow I will have to go back to town again.”

And at the end of the next year, he came back home in his car, with a beautiful young girlfriend.