The free haircut

Four or five children were playing in a playground when a middle-aged man came to them and said, "You children have long hair. Do any of you want to have a free haircut?"

The children answered, "No, we don't want free haircuts. Our parents will kill us. They have always told us, 'If you get any help from anyone, you have to pay.'"

The man said, "Your parents are all fools. Whenever you can get anything free, you should take it."

Immediately the children started striking the middle-aged man. But one little fellow, who was six years old, didn't join the others. He said, "I want a free haircut."

The man said, "You are my boy. Come with me."

So the boy followed him. The man said, "Since you are the only one, would you like something to eat first?"

The boy wanted ice cream and candy, and the man bought it for him. Then he said, "Let us go for a haircut."

They went to a barber shop where the barber was just finishing somebody else's hair. The man said to the barber, "I have to get a shave and my son has to have his hair cut. It will be nice if you can shave me first and then, while you are cutting his hair, I will be able to go and get a newspaper from the booth on the corner."

The barber said, "Fine!" and he shaved the man first.

The man said, "Now, you cut my son's hair. I am going to get a newspaper." He was gone five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes. By that time, the little boy's hair was cut.

Then the barber said, "Why is your father taking such a long time?"

The boy said, "Who is my father? That man? I don't know him. He is not my father."

The barber said, "But you came with him."

The boy said, "He told me that you give free haircuts. I said I wanted a free haircut, but my friends didn't want to have one, so they didn't come." The child started crying, and he did not want to tell his parents' names. So the barber took him back to the park to join his friends who were still there playing.