His whole life van Gogh was just giving his paintings to friends: to the hotel where he used to eat four days a week he would present a painting, or to a prostitute who had said once to him that he was not a beautiful man. To be absolutely factual, he was ugly. No woman ever fell in love with him, it was impossible.
This prostitute out of compassion — and sometimes prostitutes have more compassion than your so-called ladies, they understand men more — just out of compassion she said, “I like you very much.” He had never heard this. Love was a far away thing. Even liking….
He said, “Really, you like me? What do you like in me?” Now, the woman was at a loss.
She said, “I like your ears. Your ears are beautiful.” And you will be surprised that van Gogh went home, cut off his ears with a razor, packed them beautifully, went to the prostitute and gave his ears to her. And blood was flowing….
She said, “What have you done?”
He said, “Nobody ever liked anything in me. And I am a poor man, how can I thank you? You liked my ears; I have presented them to you. If you had liked my eyes, I would have presented my eyes to you If you had liked me, I would have died for you.”
The prostitute could not believe it. But for the first time, van Gogh was happy, smiling; somebody had liked at least a part of him.