A day comes when three beggar children enter a Northern town. They follow a Golden Bird and that must be how they live for the children have nothing else. She leads them to the market-place where they find a Wise Man who is blind. He lives by giving counsel for coin, by dispensing wisdom for a bit of money.
The littlest beggar is a boy called Simple Jack, and he cries because he has no coin.
“Foolish child!” scolds his eldest sister, a Clever girl. “That man is a Beggar, as are you. He tells stories.”
Jack sobs more loudly.
“Is it a prophecy you want?” asks the middle one, a Lively girl. “I will augur a better one.”
Jack sobs relentlessly.
A Stranger approaches and puts in Jack’s hand a copper coin so old and mean and dented it must have come from his grandmother’s nurse.
“Here is metal to quit your bawling,” the Stranger laughs, “and to loosen the old man's tongue.”
The Wise Man stirs, puts out his hand for the copper.
People crowd around, wanting to hear advice for free ...