Chiang Chi was a rich man. He had collected a great wealth. He was very miser. His wife requested to him many a time not to be miserly but he would not listen.
He was such a miser that he never bought any new clothes. He would go on sewing patches on his old clothes wherever the holes appeared. So was the case of his shoes. He got patches cobbled on his shoes. It had gone on for years. Now his shoes were a collage of the leather pieces of different colours. Servants never stayed with him for long due to his miserliness.
One day, Chiang Chi was going through a lane. Some children were playing in the lane. By chance Chiang’s foot slipped into a dram. He pulled out his foot and found that the shoe had opened a gap near toe. His toes peeped out of his shoe. The kids helped him to his house.
Next day, Chiang went to the cobbler to get his shoe mended. The cobbler said, ‘Mr. Chiang! Your shoes are too old for repairs. No use adding patches. But Chiang paid no heed. He got another patch added to old patches. And a week later, he passed through the same lane. A child saw his shoes. He whispered into the ears of another child, ‘Look
at his shoes."
The kids looked at the shoes and giggled. It annoyed Chiang. He walked fast to get away. The kids smirked. A naughty girt Shui squealed, "Patchy patchy shoes!"
The rest of the kids sang, ‘Patchy shoes!"
Chiang quickly moved off annoyed. Then on, whenever he passed by, the kids yelled, “Patchy shoes!'
By and by, 'Patchy Shoes' became a mocking slogan of kids. Wherever Chiang went someone or the other would say, “Patchy Shoes…' Chiang would curse.
The wife asked Chiang to get rid of his shoes. But Chiang preferred to use the old shoes. Gradually the Patchy Shoes' became a joke of the city. Now Chiang got worrying. He decided that he would give his shoes to some beggar. In the morning when he came back from his morning walk he gave the shoes to a beggar.
The beggar was happy to bag the shoes. It was winter time. After Chiang departed the beggar examined the Shoes. So many patches surprised him. Then he sat on the roadside and tried to wear the shoes. A sepoy passed by. When he saw the beggar looking at the shoes from different angles he suspected that the beggar had stolen them. He went to the beggar and recognised the famous shoes. He said to the beggar, ‘You have stolen these shoes. Come to the police station.'
The beggar pleaded, "Sir, I didn't steal. A rich man gave them to me.'
The sepoy remarked, ‘I know whose shoes are these. He is too miserly to give his shoes to anyone. He loves those shoes like his dear life. You are surely lying. We will find out the truth at the police station."
The beggar was taken to the police station and Chiang was summoned. The summon alarmed Chiang. Why am I required at police station, he wondered? At police station, he was surprised to find his patchy shoes. The beggar was behind the bars.
Chiang tried to explain that the beggar had not stolen his shoes. But the police officer didn't take him seriously. He forced the shoes on Chiang. Chiang returned home with the shoes. How to get rid of them was the question?
The wife suggested, 'Throw them in rubbish."
Chiang accepted the suggestion and threw patchy shoes in dustbin. For two days he heard nothing about his shoes. He heaved a sigh of relief.
The third day someone knocked at his door. A sweeper of the municipality was there. He said, "Sir, you must reward me."
Chiang asked pleased. 'What good have you done for me? Some good news?"
The sweeper took out the patchy shoes from his bag and said, 'Some thief had hidden your patchy shoes in a dustbin. I found them. I am sure that you will be pleased to get you famous shoes back."
Chiang wanted to scream. But he controlled himself. He took the shoes and got rid of the greedy sweeper.
The patchy shoe matter had very upset Chiang. He always thought about the way to get rid of those shoes. After a lot of thinking he decided to throw them in the river. The river will carry them away and he won't ever again hear about them he said to himself. So, he did that and returned home.
Half an hour later some kids came to him running and revealed, ‘Uncle… Someone threw your patchy shoes in the river. We were having a swim. We at once recognised your shoes as soon as we sighted them. Here they are!"
Now Chiang was truly getting mad. It had become impossible to get rid of the shoes. He stayed home. He didn't feel like attending to his business. His business was going down as a result.
One morning, he went to the outer limits of the city and requested an outgoing traveler, ‘Brother' Please take these shoes to wherever you are going. There, give this pair to anyone you like."
The stranger looked at Chiang in surprise wondering why that man wanted to send his old shoes to some other town.' Anyway he took the shoes and put them in his bag when he saw the worried face of Chiang.
Chiang came back feeling very relieved. But the very next day, he was summoned to the court of the king. There, he was told that a stranger was going away with stolen patchy shoes and he was caught at octroi post. Chiang burst into tears and waited, the king was surprised to see him wailing instead of being happy at getting back the shoes. Chiang explained to the king his sad story of Patchy Shoes.
The king said. 'Alright we will keep patchy shoes in the Royal Museum as a memento of your miserliness. You have been freed of the curse of the patchy shoes. Go home happily."
Chiang heaved a sigh of relief. At the same time he was worried that the patchy shoes will always remind people of his miserliness.