The Lost Changepurse

Once there was an unassuming and virtuous woman whose husband had died. He had left her a significant sum of money, but lacking worldliness, she kept it all in a single large changepurse, which she carried about with her everywhere. One day she was in the market purchasing flavorless root vegetables for her dinner when, reaching to pay for a bag of yams, she realized that she must have left her purse at one of the numerous stalls she had visited earlier! She hurried back to find it, but many of the vendors had already left, and it was nowhere to be seen. She went home dejected and cried herself to sleep.

The next day, the rhubarb-seller who had found the purse that morning lying atop a bin of his finest wares was again at market. The woman came to his stall and, describing the purse in detail, asked him earnestly whether he had seen it. He had been doing a booming business recently, and had no need of the money himself; whereas she was clearly much the worse off for its absence. He was left to wonder, should or shouldn't he give it back to her?


A Gilded Serpent