Once there was a village in which there lived a man of great wealth and importance. He was so important, in fact, that whenever he spit on the ground, other villagers would stomp the spit into the earth, which for them was a sign of great respect. Being the first to show such an honor was also itself a great honor for the one who did it, and such a person would often receive favors from the wealthy man.
There was a villager, however, who was slower than others, and so he never had the honor and privilege of showing the wealthy and important man this traditional sign of respect. So he reflected a while on what he should do, and finally came to his decision. He watched the wealthy man very carefully, and when he saw that the wealthy man was about to spit, he rushed up and kicked him in the mouth.
"Are you insane?" cried the wealthy and important man, holding his mouth from the pain. "I should have you thrown in prison for assaulting me! Why did you do that?"
Then the man said, "O Wealthy and Important Man, I did it to be in your good graces! When you spit and the spit touches the ground, everyone rushes to stomp on it, in order that they might be in your favor. But I have always been too late to show respect in this way, so to show my respect I stomped on it while it was still in your mouth. Now that you know why, you can be pleased about it!"
But the wealthy man said, "Having the right timing is a very important thing!"