The Beggar

I was walking along the street… I was stopped by a decrepit old beggar.

Bloodshot, tearful eyes, blue lips, coarse rags, festering wounds…. Oh,
how hideously poverty had eaten into this miserable creature!

He held out to me a red, swollen, filthy hand. He groaned, he mumbled of
help.

I began feeling in all my pockets…. No purse, no watch, not even a
handkerchief…. I had taken nothing with me. And the beggar was still
waiting… and his outstretched hand feebly shook and trembled.

Confused, abashed, I warmly clasped the filthy, shaking hand… 'Don't be
angry, brother; I have nothing, brother.'

The beggar stared at me with his bloodshot eyes; his blue lips smiled; and
he in his turn gripped my chilly fingers.

'What of it, brother?' he mumbled; 'thanks for this, too. That is a gift
too, brother.'

I knew that I too had received a gift from my brother.

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