A Tale of Three Blessings

Once upon a time a small withered apple fell to the ground with a thud.
            It was picked up by a grubby little hand and carried lovingly to the bedside of an old woman.  She blessed the fruit, then took a bite.  Smiling, she handed the rest of it to the child and said, ‘Plant this outside our door and see what it will bring.’
            And so the child, a small boy, did as the old woman bid.  Autumn passed into Winter, then into a Spring that was bittersweet, for one day the old woman died, and the boy found that he was all alone.  Except that outside the door was an apple tree covered in blossoms.  Seeking solace, the boy spent the night under the cover of its floral branches.  At midnight, a spirit from the tree appeared and taking pity on the child beneath its boughs gave him these blessings three: that he would always be kind, that he would always be grateful, and that he would always forgive.
            With these gifts the child grew into youth, then into manhood, and eventually it came to pass that he became an old man.  He had wandered often and far in his lifetime, and now it made sense for him to return to the apple tree of old who had once blessed him thrice.  Far and long he travelled until the day came where he sat once more beneath the boughs of an old withered tree—as old and withered as he was himself—and reflected on his long life.
            Through all the ages his mind did pass over, and in all the places he had been, in all the times through which he had lived, he found that not one word, not one deed did he think back upon with regret.
            And thus it was that when his body gave way and his spirit departed the mortal world, he found himself at peace.

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