The Village Idiot
Once upon a time there was a village named
Egoville hidden away
in the mountains. Now, this village, like most
their own idiot. His name was Hugh Millety.
Hugh, the village idiot, was the ridicule of
The towns folk would often set him up with silly
choices in order
to laugh mercilessly at him when he made the
"Hugh," they'd say, "would you rather have this
quarter or this dirty old torn dollar bill?"
"I'd like the shiny quarter," Hugh would reply.
would give him the quarter and walk away
Hugh a true village idiot. Hugh would just
shrug and go about
Even though it was a poor village with little
was repeated several times a day by many
people. As the years
went by, the ridicule became a ritual that
dozens of townies
took part in. The towns folk had little to
their names, but at
least they could feel better about themselves in
the village idiot this way. It was their small
comfort in the
lap of poverty.
Not everyone would make fun of Hugh though. A
few felt sorry for
him and gave him hand-me-down clothes, leftover
food, and even
an old shack to live in at the edge of town.
Hugh lived off of
the handouts of the charitable few.
One day, Hugh showed up at the village square
wearing a brand new
suit. Everyone was amazed, for few people in
the town could afford
new clothing, let alone a nice suit. The small
village didn't even
have a new clothing store, only a used clothing
One of townsfolk asked Hugh where he got his new
he must have stolen it. He bought it, he told
furthermore he added, the fine new house being
built on the
mountainside that everyone was wondering about,
that was his.
When questioned where he got the money, he told
them it was the
money they gave him. With people giving him
food, clothing, and
shelter, he simply saved and invested everything
they gave him.
"I may be your village idiot," he smiled and
"but I'm no fool."
But why then, they asked, did he always take the
of money they offered him if he was so cunning?
Hugh replied that if he had taken the greater
amount of money,
they would have stopped offering it to him. He
earned his money
by letting them laugh at him, but he knew the
first time he took
the greater amount they'd stop offering him
money and find
something else to laugh at him about.
"Now," said Hugh, "I'm the richest person in
town and have all
the money I need. I didn't waste money amusing
myself at the
expense of someone I falsely perceived to be a
And you, all of you, have little more now than
you had when you
started ridiculing me. So tell me, who is the
village idiot now?"
Hugh smiled again, then handed out hundred
dollar bills to those
who had been kind to him. The townsfolk were
shocked. It was
true though, they had frittered away their money
a little at a
time, trying to make themselves feel big by
comparison to the
It just goes to show you, if you live in
Egoville, take care not
to become the village idiot by your vain
perceptions. On the
other hand, if you follow the wisdom of Hugh
Millety, you might
just become the richest person in town.