Jul 8, 2012

The Way Things Happen

When I was a child I had a book of folk stories from around the world. My favorite story was from Mexico and was called "The Way Things Happen":

A poor young man left his village and looked for work in the city. He had no skills, so he applied for a job as a street sweeper. He was asked to write his name on an application form. "I can't write," he said, and they shooed him away. Everywhere he tried the same thing happened. Finally he stopped looking for work and sold a few tomatoes that he had brought with him from his village. With the money he made he bought some more tomatoes and sold those, and he did quite well. He continued on in this way, buying and selling tomatoes, and he continued to do well. He started to buy and sell more vegetables, and built a thriving business. Eventually, he had to open a bank account.

By this stage he was older and better dressed.  The bank staff were impressed. As the account was opened, the teller handed him a pen to sign the form. The man explained he could not write his name, and the bank teller was amazed. "But, senor," he said, "you are so rich and successful and yet you can't read or write? Imagine how successful you would be if you could!"

The man said, "If I could write my name I would be sweeping the streets out there."

And he smiled to himself at the way things happen.


  1. What a brilliant story! A compact and clever tale about snobbery and determination to overcome it.

    1. It's brilliant isn't it? It made a real impact on me as a child.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...