Once there was an old man with a kind, gentle spirit. He would put food out for the wild animals who lived near him; he often helped his neighbors when they were in need. He expected nothing in return, the joy in their faces was enough for him. When shopping in the village, he greeted everyone he encountered with a smile. Some returned his smile, some looked at the old man questioningly. He was respected by all those who knew him.
One evening, a handsome young stranger appeared in the old man's village. The old man, tending his garden, greeted the handsome stranger and inquired as to the younger man's business.
"I am just passing through your fair village on my journey further south to attend to business."
"If you wish, you may lodge here in my home for the night," offered the old man.
"I'm sorry, but I must decline your kind offer, as I am in a hurry to see my business concluded." A note of wariness in his voice, for the young man was also of a gentle spirit, but had grown wary of strangers, often wanting more from him in repayment for their kindness toward him.
"Suit yourself, but every traveler must rest, and it isn't often safe outside at night around here. Are you sure you wish to carry on? You are safe in my house, I pose no threat."
"Yes, I wish to go on for I am young, strong and can take care of myself." He replied, his wariness growing.
"Fare thee well, then!"
"I shall, old man. Be well, yourself." And with that the young man turned walked away into the night, never to be heard from again. Whether he arrived safely is not known.
The old man entered his home, bolting the door behind him for the night. Shaking his head, he asked himself what it was about him that some people seemed not to trust. Was it his age? Did he appear too eager to help at times? Too nice to be real?
|A Leopard can't change its spots!|
He vowed to try and appear less eager next time, more guarded.
That might be difficult, for it was in his nature to be kind. Though, sometimes he was too kind.
And one's nature can't be changed.
And not without price.