The Head and the Tea-seller

Before you read the story

  • This story is full of surprises. Have you ever had a really big surprise?
  • What surprised you?
  • Have you ever done something that surprised someone else?

Now read the story

Part One

Once there was a man and his wife. The wife loved her husband. She worked hard for him. She always cooked his favourite meals and she helped him in every way.

But the man was angry with his wife.

"This stupid woman has no children," he thought. "And soon she will grow old. I will divorce her and marry another woman."

So he divorced his wife and married another one. His first wife was unhappy now. She was very poor. No one looked after her.

The man and his new wife waited for a long time, but they didn't have a child. Then, one day, the woman became pregnant. 

Her husband was happy.

"Soon I will have a son," he thought.

At last the baby was born. But oh, what a terrible disappointment! The baby had no arms and no legs. It had no body at all. It was only a head!

"Take it away!" the man's wife said. "It's a horrible thing! I don't want to see it again!"

So the man put the head in a sack. He took it to the road and left it there. Then he went away.

Soon, some travellers came down the road. The head began to jump about in the sack.

"Help! Take me out! Help!" the head began to shout.

The travellers stopped.

"What is inside this sack?" they asked each other.

One of them opened it, and they all saw the head. They were frightened, and they wanted to run away.

"Stop!" said the head. "Please don't leave me here, or I'll die!"

"What shall we do with you then?" asked the travellers.

"Take me to the town," the head said. "Find a tea-shop and leave me there."

So the travellers picked up the head and carried it to the town. They stopped at the first tea-shop.

"Here's something for you," they said to the tea-seller, and they gave the head to him.

The tea-seller was very surprised.

"I don't want this thing," he said, and he began to carry the head out of his shop.

But the head began to talk to him.

"Tea-seller," he said. "Listen to me. Do you want to be rich?"

The tea-seller stopped.

"Yes, of course," he said.

"Then I will help you," said the head. "Look after me, give me food and keep me here. Soon, I promise you, you will be rich."

So the head stayed with the tea-seller, and the tea-seller looked after him. Every day, the head gave the tea-seller his advice. 

"Buy your tea in this place today," he said. 

Or, "Don't buy tea today. The price is not good."

The tea-seller always listened to the head. Soon, he became rich.