Bargain-hunting for things to add to my collection of rare bric-a-brac, I stopped one day at the little curio shop of Sam Cohen, where from time to time I had picked up valuable pieces. Browsing around, I saw nothing of interest and was about to leave.
Then, just inside the door, I noticed a cat lapping milk out of a saucer. One glance told me that the saucer was a priceless antique. With a wild hope that Sam was unaware of its value I said, “That’s a nice cat you have there, Sam. Would you sell him to me?” “Well,” said Sam, “I’d be willing to sell him for five dollars, I guess.” I paid the five, put the cat under my arm, then added, “I’ll just take the saucer along. The cat is probably used to eating from it.”
“Oh, no,” said Sam. I can’t give you the saucer.” “Well, then, I’ll buy it.” “Oh, no,” said Sam, “I can’t sell it to you.” “That’s ridiculous, Sam. Why can’t you sell me this old saucer?” “Because,” replied Sam, “from that old saucer, I already sold 139 cats.”
（トークラインのご利用者様にお送りしている１月９日付のHANDOUTの一部で、The Reader’s Digestからの転載です）