Water of Kindness

The 24-year-old informant is originally from Rhode Island, but currently resides in New York, NY. Her parents are both from China, making her a first-generation American Born Chinese. This story was one that she heard as a child and has been engrained in her mind ever since.

“This beggar woman is going around town and she’s knocking on peoples’ doors. And this first woman answers the door and is really mean to her and is like, ‘Go away!’ So the beggar woman goes to the next house and they’re like sure, ‘We’ll take you in.’ Oh, and what she asks, like, what the beggar woman asks is for a bowl of water to soak her feet in, to clean her feet. So the first person says no, and the second person’s like, ‘Sure, I’ll do that.’ So she washes her feet and covers the dirty bowl water with like, a cloth, and she tells the lady who gave her it–she says, ‘Keep this over night and then dump it in the morning.’ So the lady’s like, ‘Ok that’s weird,’ but she does it. So the next morning she takes the bucket and goes outside to use the dirty water to water her plants and she realizes it’s really heavy, and she spills it open and it’s all gold. Uhm, so people like, hear about it and come and see, and then that first lady that got asked by that beggar woman was like, ‘What did you do?’ and she told her what happened, and the first lady’s like, ‘Ok, I will do this too.’ So the next time, the beggar woman comes back and knocks on the first lady’s door, and the lady’s like ‘Oh yeah, come in, like totally’ and gets her this like, giant-ass bucket of water. And the beggar woman’s like, ‘Oh yeah, thank you, you’re so nice.’ and the lady’s like, ‘Yeah of course, I don’t know why I didn’t take you in the first time.’ and the beggar woman’s like, ‘Yeah it’s messed up but it’s whatever, it’s cool.’ So she’s like, ‘Ok cover this with cloth and don’t dump it until tomorrow morning’ and the lady’s like ‘Ok cool.’ So the beggar woman leaves and the lady–in the morning takes the bucket and rips open the cloth and it’s all these bugs and mud flying at her. So the moral of the story is, don’t be an asshole.”


To me, the moral of this story is not only to not be mean to others, but also to not be greedy. The first woman in the story was generous and kind, and only good things came to her. The second woman was not only unwelcoming the first time a beggar woman came, but she was also greedy for gold the second time, and she got nothing but sludge and dirt, which is a testament to “you get what you deserve.”