There was a gardener who filled his garden with plants of all kinds that he might have good food to eat throughout the long year.
In that garden were fruits and vegetables, nuts, herbs, spices, and vines. He hedged his garden about with strong walls to protect it, and to each plant he gave water and great care year round.
Once day, while he walked about his garden, he came upon two small fruit trees which grew close to the high hedge-wall. The fruit trees had grown in his garden for nearly eight years now and had never once bore him any fruit.
He then spoke to them, “At the end of this next year, if you bear me no fruit, I shall cut you down and make room for other trees who shall give me that which is good to eat.”
The two trees overheard his word and were troubled.
The first fruit tree said to its neighbor, “This word of his does make me tremble, yet I am not wholly distressed. I shall simply work all the harder! I shall endeavor this year to give our Master fruit which shall please him.”
She thought to herself some more and said, “I shall gather yet more nutrients from the soil and get me some fruit.”
The second tree was yet more grieved, “Woe is me, for what can I do? These eight years have we not already done all that we could? I have drunk richly from the soil. I have received of his water. Still, no good yield could I produce.”
While the first fruit tree took heart and continued in her confidence, the proud spirit of that second fruit tree had been broken. She was bent with much sorrow and supplication.
Now while the first tree continued in her health, much as she had in years past, the second, sorrowing fruit tree abounded yet more so than ever.
In its sorrow and perplexity, she had leaned away from the shadow of the great hedge and into the light of her Master’s garden. In his light, the tree blossomed and flourished as never before.
The first fruit tree in its proud spirit did notice the increase of her neighbor. And while she would not bend or bow herself, so as yet, not to be outdone, she stretched out one branch of hers toward the light of the garden.
As the year came round, the grieving fruit tree brought forth much fruit and her Master’s eye looked upon her with fondness, day in and day out.
During this while, the proud tree had remained barren as usual, all but that one branch which she had cautiously reached out into the light. Yet this branch had also blossomed and grown heavy with fruit.
She spoke haughtily to her neighbor thus, “I will be spared for the fruit I have gotten myself, but I have not lost my beauty, becoming bent and ruinous as you.”
But the other tree minded her not, as she was bent in sorrow no longer, but as if in gratitude. She received her Master’s presence each day with a shy gladness.
The night before the Master was to come and enjoy the fruit of these trees, a strong wind blew through the garden. Now heavy with fruit, the branch which the proud fruit tree had stretched out from her rigid body snapped off in the wind. Her neighbor whose whole body had bent forward into midst of the garden stayed whole.
The next day, the Master came to this place in his garden and delighted in the yield of the humble fruit tree which had received so much of his light throughout the year.
But that first fruit tree had only produced one branch of fruit which had been ruined in the fall. The Master, greatly disgusted by the proud tree, regarded not its efforts and caused it to be removed for kindling, that her space might be made use for another plant.