The Ugly Girl and the Old Beggar


A-Mei had been working at a rice merchant's shop for over a year. Though A-Mei was a hard worker, the rice merchant's wife liked to pick on her. She told A-Mei, “Look at your ugly face, and that flat nose of yours. You will scare people away with your face.” “You are not only ugly, you are also lazy…” A-Mei was hurt by what the merchant's wife said, but she continued to work hard for money to cure her mother's illness.

Soon, the year drew to an end. On New Year's Eve, the rice merchant's wife told A-Mei, “Take this food home and share it with your mother. You may spend the New Year with her, but don't forget to come back for work on the third day of the New Year!” A-Mei took the food and continued to work.

After some time, A-Mei heard the merchant's wife shouting, “Filthy beggar, be gone! There is nothing for you here. Go away!” The merchant's wife slammed the door shut and went upstairs. A-Mei quickly opened the door and saw a dirty old beggar. He told A-Mei, “Young girl, I feel so hungry! Please give me something to eat!” A-Mei felt sorry for the old beggar, and gave him the food that the merchant's wife had given her. A-Mei told the beggar, “Dear sir, take this fish and meat. Please hurry on your way after you are done eating, or the merchant's wife will scold you again if she sees you here.” The old beggar ate the food hungrily. After he finished eating, he told A-Mei, “Young girl, you are such a kind-hearted person, you must be liked by everybody.” Upon hearing this, A-Mei cried and said, “I look so ugly, no one likes me.” The old beggar smiled and told her, “There is a well in the bamboo grove outside this village. Wash your face every day using water from that well, and your problems will be gone.” Then the beggar left.

A-Mei decided to do what the beggar said. She washed her face with the well water every day. When A-Mei looked into the mirror a few days later, she exclaimed, “The freckles on my face have disappeared! My mouth is no longer lopsided, and I've become so pretty!” From then on, A-Mei felt more confident about herself, and became liked by everybody.