“One for sorrow, two for mirth.” He always said that as he handed out the coins. No one expected anything else. Everyone working for the old miser never thought anything of it as they received their meager pay.
Mister Pennypincher knew he had them right under his thumb and only paid the minimum, in return for whatever he deemed maximum output. The mine had operated this way for over forty years and was the only means of income for the nearby village. Every Saturday after another ten or more hours of labor, the men would line up waiting for him to pull out his purse.
Blackened, dusty and breathing hard, the miners received their coins quietly. No one dared to ask for anything else, as Mr. Pennypincher didn’t take a liking to dissenters. He pulled out the money box from under the wooden table to set up these paydays and never conversed or smiled at the lineup of men. He thought himself clever in his words as he doled out the coins, saying that phrase each time.
The two for mirth was almost laughable in itself, as the total amount was always used for the necessities and each man had no time for mirth. The only mirth they could manage was knowing their family would be fed another week.