The Poor Man and the Rich Man’s Daughter
On a sunny summer day George, the peddler, who was selling watches, jewelry and all sorts of odds and ends, was no longer able to pay his distributors for these wares. Wherever he turned, the wholesalers no longer wanted to supply any goods to him. George was so desperate, that he started walking toward the beach. There he sat down in a quiet place, and started thinking what to do with his life that had become so miserable. He was watching the waves that came from far away and splashed ashore.
Suddenly he saw a lot of people crowding together on the beach. They seemed to be quite helpless. He sensed that something serious must have happened. He rose up to find the reason for this agitation. He hurried toward the crowd and heard people say:
“The poor girl, the current has swept her away”, but no one dared come to her rescue. George dove into the water without hesitation and started swimming vigorously toward the young girl. The under-water current was pulling her farther and farther. George struggled with all his strength in order to stay on course. From time to time the young girl disappeared from his sight. Just when he thought that he had lost her, a waving hand gave him hope. When he was at a distance of six to seven feet from her he saw her beautiful face drowning in the water. George accelerated his swimming, dove under the water and picked her up in his arms. The young girl had passed out. He brought her back to the shore and then collapsed himself.
Rescuers arrived on the scene and resuscitated the beautiful young girl. When she regained her consciousness, she asked to meet the person who had saved her life. The rescuers pointed to poor George who was still exhausted, stretched out on the sand, his eyes closed. The beautiful young girl ran toward George, leaned over him and kissed him on his mouth. He was wondering what was happening to him and tried to get up, but when he saw this beauty with her fine features, her black hair and her eyes looking at him with a kindness he hadn’t seen since his mother passed away, he fainted from this shock. Immediately someone sprinkled water on him and George woke up with a smile.
In the meantime, the girl’s father who had heard the news came running, panic-stricken, as she was his only daughter. As soon as he saw her alive, he wanted to know, who that hero was, who had rescued her. Everybody pointed their fingers to George. The girl’s father was the richest man in town and his name was Ricky Yanzess. He turned to George and said:
“You rescued my daughter. Ask for whatever reward you want and it will be given to you immediately.” George, who had never been in such a situation, immediately thought of all the distributors who no longer wanted to supply the merchandise to him and he told Ricky Yanzess:
“Sir, I had never had a brother or a friend with whom I could go for a walk, his hand on my shoulder,” and he started crying. Ricky Yanzess was very grateful and touched by George’s fond words and tried to comfort him:
“Is this all you want?” and then he continued: “Your request is granted, but I would like you to do me a little favor.” George, the poor man, all moved, was asking himself how he could be of service to a man who was so extremely rich, and said to him:
“Sir, everything in my might is yours, but you know that my power is very limited.” Ricky Yanzess answered kindly:
“My dear hero, you are saying that your ability is limited. Oh no, I must disagree, you had the power to save my daughter’s life and my demand is quite simple. If this is not too much to ask for from my side, I request that my daughter may be allowed to join us too for a family stroll.” Hearing these nice words, coming from such an important man, George was sorry about his sad thoughts he had had before.
That same evening George was Ricky Yanzess’ guest in one of the finest restaurants in town. Beforehand Ricky Yanzess had made a point of introducing George to his tailor and of having him get a beautiful suit with a vest. He gave him a watch on a golden chain and a walking stick with a silver handle. Seeing George in such an elegant outfit and accompanied by such a noble person, everyone was touched.
The next day, upon George’s request, the three friends were walking together in the distributors’ street. Ricky Yanzess was walking in the middle with his right arm around George’s neck and his left arm around his beautiful daughter’s neck. That day every distributor, seeing George with Ricky Yanzess, to whom normally nobody had access, came out of their stores to greet George and offer him some good deals and credit, and to be noticed by Ricky Yanzess. George barely looked at them but in his heart he was happy that he was acknowledged by all his distributors. This would give him a boost for his business.
On that day, the young girl fell in love with George who was poor, but charming, and she said to her father in his presence:
“Daddy, could I ever find a better man than George, who risked his life to save mine?” Her father responded:
“My daughter, I love you so much that I had the same thought”, and he added: “If our friend George would like to marry you, I know that I can entrust you to his hands”. George blushed with shame and did not know, what to say anymore, but in his heart he was happy about these circumstances and promised to himself to never again lose hope, even if everything would look black, as the next day may hold pleasant surprises.
Note: There was a character called Ricky Yanzess because he was very rich. People referred to him as they would to Rothchild in Paris or to Rockefeller in New York. If someone was too full of himself, one used to say to him: “Who do you think you are, Ricky Yanzess’ son?”
Copyright Emile M. Tubiana 2009 all rights reserved.