Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Pickpocket

Once there was a pickpocket who lived in a small town in the north of England. He picked pockets day and night and became quite good at his chosen trade. Before long he had picked every pocket there was to pick in that small town and decided that it was time he tried his talent in the big city of London to the south. Off he went and London was everything he’d hoped it would be: hundreds of thousands of pockets, everywhere, all the time. He made good use of his talent, if you could call it good. Pretty soon he knew that he was the best pickpocket in London. There was no one to match his skill. Or so he thought. One day, making his way through the market he was perfectly shocked to discover that someone had picked his pocket. He never imagined that such a thing was possible. He looked around and, sure enough, he saw a suspicious-looking head bobbing away through the crowd. He made chase and quickly caught and tackled the thief. The thief, as it turned out, was a beautiful woman and, for a moment, the pickpocket forgot that he had been robbed. Well, they fell in love and, together picked pockets all over London. They married and soon spoke of having a child. They realized that since they were probably the best thieves in London (if not the world) that the child of their union might very well be the best thief in the world. They conceived a child and were very excited as the happy day approached. But, as fate would have it, they were tragically disappointed. Their child, a boy, was born with a terrible deformity: his right arm was paralyzed, his little fist clenched horribly under his chin. Nothing they could do would move the arm and, of course, they were afraid to hurt the fragile creature. They were, however, rich by now and were able to use their fortune to consult the best doctors in all of London and Europe. They traveled and hoped and prayed. They searched for the wisest physicians in the world. But nothing that anyone could do made a difference. Until one day an old man showed up at their door. They hoped, and said that they would pay him whatever he asked. The old man sat before the child. He took out a gold pocket watch and began to dangle it back and forth before the boy. The boy watched the watch intently. Closer and closer the watch came, back and forth, back and forth. The boy’s eyes followed it back and forth, back and forth. Suddenly the boy’s paralyzed arm shot out and grabbed the watch. And dropped the gold ring that he had stolen from the finger of the midwife.

1 comment:

The Other Ivy said...

I was not expecting that ending, thanks!
The trials of fortune. It would be ironic if the couple spent all of their money to discover the source of his affliction.