THE POOR MAN, THE RICH MAN AND THE MOSQUITO


THE POOR MAN, THE RICH MAN AND THE MOSQUITO

I

A poor man once lived opposite a rich man. Everyday, through his window, he saw how poor he really was. He said to himself:
“What have I in common with this man?”
The poor man, rapt in his devising, was all but dying of poorness. One can eat badly for one, two, and even four days, but no more, not without losing strength and falling ill, specially when one works. Which is exactly what happened at this poor man’s home, where everyone started falling ill. Without money for medicine and no longer able to get anyone to loan them anything, some deadly fevers started claiming their lives one by one. The poor inventor first lost his wife, then his daughter and finally his son.
Now he was dying.
And the rich man across the way who saw him every day said to himself:
“What have I in common with this man?”
And the poor man was dying. Dying.
He was hated by everyone, for to everyone money he owed. He was feared by everyone because everyone, afraid of the fever, feared his physical approach. He was languishing, no flesh and only bones, unable so much as to bear his own weight. He sweats and sweats, trembles and trembles. He was dying, thinking of his inventions, raving about strangely, blazing forth numbers and then more numbers.
He was dying, alone as can be.
And the rich man across the way saw him every day from his window and, stingy, he once again said to himself, “What have I in common with this man?”
But then that same night one of the millions of mosquitoes that lived in a swamp bit the dying man.
Later, flying at the mercy of the shadows, it gained entrance to the home of the rich man, who was sleeping, and bit him too.
As the mosquito bit him, it passed on the disease of which the poor man was dying.
And the rich man was no longer able to see the poor man from across the way from his window.

II

Both men died of the same affliction, both died practically at the same time, unaware of what the one had in common with the other. Underground practically at the same time, they were left to the worms practically at the same time, alone as can be. And, to this day, those worms remain unaware of who was the rich man and who was the poor man.
And what about the mosquito? Whatever happened to the mosquito? Whomever else did it bite? Whomever else will it bite?
One can’t really say. One can’t follow a mosquito into the shadows. Maybe it still flies along at night, buzzing its eternal jest. Filling up on all sorts of blood, it injects one man’s blood into another. One can’t really say one way or another.
The only thing set in stone is that there will never be a shortage of the thousands of types of mosquitoes whose singular mission is to show us that it is not in our best interest for there to be wretches amongst us, that to help them in due time means to help ourselves. It means that whichever mosquito bites them in the future will not in turn ruin our lives.
The only thing set in stone is that there is never a shortage of mosquitoes, nor of even more minute beings, there to violently remind us of that which men of the heart should already know, that we all have much, very much in common with our neighbours, particularly when our neighbours are dreadful wretches.

TOMAS MEABE.

  • MC KUNST
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