June 20, 2014

The King and the Gardener – a story told by ‘Abdu’l-Baha

A great king, walking in his garden one day, noticed a man, about ninety years old, planting some trees. The king asked what he was doing and the old man answered that he was planting date trees.

"How long before they will bear fruit?”, asked the king.

"Twenty years."

"But you will not live to enjoy the fruit; why then should you plant these trees?"

The old man answered, "The last generation planted trees that bore fruit for my benefit; so it is now my duty to plant for the benefit of the next generation."

The king was pleased at this answer so gave the man a piece of money. The gardener fell on his knees and thanked him. The king asked, "Why do you kneel before me?"

"Because, your majesty, not only have I had the pleasure, or gift, of planting these trees, but they have already borne fruit, since you give me this money."