In the short story "The Umbrella Man" by Roald Dahl , a 12-year-old girl and her mother stop in at a cafe for a snack after a visit to the dentist. By the time they are finished and step outside, it is raining. All the taxis they see...
In the short story "The Umbrella Man" by Roald Dahl, a 12-year-old girl and her mother stop in at a cafe for a snack after a visit to the dentist. By the time they are finished and step outside, it is raining. All the taxis they see are filled with passengers.
At this point, an old man with a nice umbrella approaches them. At first, the mother is wary. The old man explains that he is out for his daily walk, but he is tired and wants to get a taxi to go home. He cannot because he has lost his wallet. He noticed that the woman and her daughter are caught in the rain, and he offers to trade his umbrella, which he says is silk and is worth 20 pounds, for one pound for a cab ride. The mother agrees to the deal and gives the man the money; he gives her the umbrella and walks away.
Shortly afterwards, they see the old man across the street. He is moving quickly and does not seem to be tired at all. The mother and daughter become suspicious and decide to follow him. After trailing him for several blocks, they observe that he goes into a pub, orders a tall whiskey, and drinks it down in a single long gulp. When he is finished, he puts on his hat and coat, grabs an umbrella off the pub's rack, and takes off in another direction. The mother and daughter follow him and watch him approach a man and exchange the new umbrella for another pound.
They deduce that he must steal umbrellas regularly, sell them to passers-by for supposed taxi fare, and then use the money to buy whiskey. In the end, the mother complements the man for being clever and supposes that he must regularly pray for rainy days so that he can keep up his scam.