The Apple Tree – A Traditional Russian Fable Written by Leo Tolstoy and Retold by Brian “Fox” Ellis
There was an old man out working in a field planting apple trees. He dug the hole, put the tree in the ground, and tamped down the dirt. Then he went on and dug another hole.
As the old man was working, along came two teenagers. The teenagers decided to tease the old man. One said, "Hey, old man. What are you doing?"
The old man replied, "Can't you see, I'm planting apple trees."
The other boy said, "Yeah, I can see that, but don't you know it will take five to six years before any fruit on that tree is ripe. Old man, you are wasting your time. You will probably be dead and in the ground yourself before the first apple is ripe." They both laughed at their cleverness.
The old man stopped for a moment. He said, "You know, you are right. I will probably never see a red apple on this tree. But I am not planting these trees for myself. It is hope that I am planting. I am planting these trees for my children and my children's children. Someday, a hundred years from now, a little boy or girl will climb up into this tree. They will pick a ripe red apple. When they eat it, I hope they will think of me and smile.”
This story is available on my CD Fun With Fables