A villager took his pears to the market to sell. His pears were juicy and sweet, but the price was high.
A Taoist priest, in an old cap and worn cotton robe, came up to his cart and begged for a pear.
The villager told him to go away but he would not. The villager got angry and began to use strong words at him.
The Taoist priest said, "You've got a cartful of pears which must be in the hundred, but I am asking for only one of them and one pear is not much of a loss to you. Why are you getting so angry about it?"
The onlookers said, "Give him a bad one and let him go."
A waiter in the tavern, hearing the noisy bickering in the street, came and bought a pear for the priest.
The priest thanked him and said to the crowd, "As a Taoist priest I am not that sparing. I've got first-class pears and I'd like to share them with you."
Someone in the crowd said, "Why not eat your own pears then, since you've got some?"
"But I need the core of it as seed," the priest said and, holding up the pear with his hands, began to eat.
When he ate up the pear, he held its core in one hand and, with the other, he took off a small shovel from his back. He began to dig in the ground a hole two or three inches deep, put the core in it and then covered it with earth, asked if anyone in the crowd could find some hot water for him.
One of them, an obliging person, fetched some boiling water from a strop by the street. The priest took it over and poured it where the core of the pear was buried.
While people around watched, the core sprouted and grew and, in a moment, became a tree with exuberant foliage and, in another couple of seconds, it began to blossom and bear pears.
The pears were big, emitting sweet fragrance and the tree was heavy with them.
The priest picked them and gave them to the people around and soon there were no more.
Then the priest began to cut the tree and he worked at it for a long while before he felled it.
He put the tree, leaves and all, on his shoulder and walked off at a leisurely pace.
While the priest was playing the magic the pear seller, standing among the crowd, craned his neck to watch, forgetting his own business.
When the priest was gone he found that all his pears in the cart were gone. It was not until then that he realized the pears the priest had dished out were all his pears.
And then he noticed that one shaft of his cart disappeared and the cut was fresh.
The pear seller was bursting with anger. He dashed off to run after the priest.
Turning the corner he found the lost shaft was lying at the foot of the wall. And by then he realized that it was the shaft of his cart, not the tree, that the priest was cutting.
The priest was nowhere to be found and the whole marketplace was immensely amazed.