The Beggar's diary 08.07.2007.- Filch takes a long morning walk and says hello to everyone he meets, like people do in the mountains. As agreed, he has his morning coffee at 11:00 and then sets up shop at the Spiekerhof, where the waiters of a restaurant stare at No. 06, discussing his presence … They seem not to remember him, even though he’s been around for a good three weeks now. Resourceful, he decides to try to get some cash in exchange for stories. He could also imagine, why not?, receiving a euro for listening to someone else’s story, but people find this idea ridiculous. Why? He has, after all, always been more appreciated as a good listener than as a talker.
Two women approach him to take his picture and Filch asks for, and gets, a euro; that was easy work, he thinks.
It is a calm Sunday morning and not many people pass by. One man, when asked if he would like to listen to a story for one euro, pays two euro NOT to listen to the story. Well, not bad either, thinks Filch: it seems you get more money for NOT doing something than for doing it.
Three couples declare themselves ready to listen to and pay for a story. All right, says Filch, this is how the story goes:
A man and a woman are sitting on a sofa.
They live in a beautiful house, and they are watching television. They are tired and flipping through the channels hoping to find some amusement as a respite from the busy life they lead.
They hear a noise coming from upstairs. Footsteps. It's their 14-year old son coming down the stairs. Mmmm, he was supposed to be sleeping.
The boy goes to his father and says: "Dad, I was lying in my dark room, thinking. Today we had a course in mathematics about eternity and its symbols. Now, what if death is eternal, and we’ll never meet again, and I will be dead for all eternity? I kind of felt lonely and sad in my dark room. I thought, what is the meaning of life?"
The father and mother were stunned.
The boy continued: "But don't worry dad, I kept thinking. What if a plane would take me above the Sahara and drop me there. You know the Sahara, right?"
Dad replies: "Yes"
Boy: "Well, I am in the Sahara, and I take my pincers, and move one grain of sand one millimeter."
Boy: "You know the Sahara, right?"
Father: "Of course".
Boy: "And it is a vast desert, right?"
Boy: "And it has been in the world for a very long time, right? It's been part of human history right?"
Boy: "Well, I've changed that desert! I have changed the world! I have changed human history! You see??"
The boy smiled and went upstairs.
The father and mother stayed behind, astounded.
Filch goes to the park behind the castle with the intention of attending a lecture about spiritual teachings (project Beautiful City by Maria Pask, SPM07 No. 30), but he does not understand a word of it. He starts looking around and showing people his sign offering to tell, or listen to, a story for one euro. Nothing happens. He realizes he has to take a more aggressive stance. He tells the story to a group of young people hanging around, they pay, and they even seem interested in talking a bit longer. He loves it, because hardly anyone has said anything to him today, and one person even paid two euro for the pleasure of NOT HAVING to talk to him.
He goes to visit the Pawel Althamer piece.
But where is that work, a narrow path on a meadow? He asks a guide who's giving some explanation about another sculpture, but she can't help him. He says he's The Beggar, and she replies: "Ah, it's YOU!" But still she does not know where the Althamer path is. He eventually finds the trail, and thinks it was a very rewarding experience to have found it all by himself. He walks through the fields and comes across a couple. The trail is so narrow that one of them has to step aside to let the other one pass. He takes the chance to tell the story very quickly and very quickly ask for one euro.
He walks along the lake and sits down at the shore. Eyes closed, he hears a man, a woman, and two young girls walking past him and sitting down. He dozes off a bit, and then he tells them the story as well. "Why do you tell us that?" "I am The Beggar", Filch says, making his box rattle with the coins. One of the young girls says: "Well, we’ve been sitting here for at least ten minutes and I hadn’t the slightest clue that you were you, that you were The Beggar!" She asks if she can take a picture of him, and he smiles while waiting for her to pull out her camera.
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