The Man on the Hill

There once was a young man who was traveling the land and came upon a hill surrounded by huge wonderful trees fed from a clear flowing spring. There were fish in the water, birds singing in the trees and deer running and grazing in the field. On top of the hill sat a house and around it the most beautiful wild flowers the man had seen in all his travels. He was marveling at the sight when an old man stepped out from the house, saw the young man, and a large frown started forming in his face.

The young man quickly smiled and said “Beautiful place you have” meaning every word of it. “Beautiful?” The old man practically shouted back: “Beautiful? What’s so beautiful about it? The damn things just grow wild around here!” Knowing he wasn’t welcome, the young man took his leave with a last look around. The older man noticed and started beating at the flowers and throwing rocks into the stream, and all the time cursing and cussing in ever louder tones. The young man could only shake his head as he walked away. He thought “I hope to be back here again someday. Such beauty.” With a deep sigh he walked on.

Years passed and the young man, now much older, did find his way back to the place but he wouldn’t have guessed it from what he saw. He barely recognized the place. The stream had dried up. Some of the trees had been cut and were now just stumps in the ground while others stood bare with their branches pleading to the heavens. There were no birds or deer. The fields were parched and warm winds blew dust into the air. The house was still there, rotting and decrepit. The shrubs were now just thorns. The place was dead.

The young man remembered how it once looked and standing on the hill could, again, only shake his head. “Why?” He wondered. How could the old man be wrapped in all that beauty and not care? “All that beauty and he couldn’t see it.” 

On his way down the hill, the man was eaten by a lion.


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