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The King and the Gardener
A king went riding through the countryside to observe the conditions of his people. Passing by a field, he noticed a very old man. Although weak and obviously in great pain, the man was working hard planting date trees.
The king stopped his horse and asked, “Old man, what are you doing? Surely at your age you should be resting at home enjoying the loving attention of your children.”
“O great king,” answered the old man, “I cannot rest yet. I must finish planting these trees.”
“How long will it be before they produce fruit for your pleasure?” inquired the king.
“These trees will not see fruit for at least twenty years!” was the answer.
“What is your haste then? Surely you will not live to eat the fruits of the trees you are so diligently planting,” observed the king.
“You are correct, my master.” Replied the old man. “However, my forefathers planted trees whose fruits I have enjoyed all my life. It is now my duty to plant for the benefit of the next generation.”
The king was so pleased by this that he gave the man a gold coin.
“I thank you, great king,” said the man, smiling. “Just planting the trees was reward enough for me.” But now these trees have already borne fruit. This coin is worth more than the harvest would bring.”
Pay it forward. We don’t inherent our earth, we are borrowing it from our children.