a long time ago, there was a huge apple tree. a little boy loved to come and lay around it every day. he climbed to the tree top, ate the apples, took a nap under the shadow... he loved the tree and the tree loved to play with him.
time went by... the little boy had grown up and he no longer played around the tree every day. one day, the boy came back to the tree and he looked sad. “come and play with me,” the tree asked the boy. “i am no longer a kid, i don’t play around trees anymore.” the boy replied, “i want toys. i need money to buy them.” “sorry, but i don’t have money...but you can pick all my apples and sell them. so, you will have money.” the boy was so excited. he grabbed all the apples on the tree and left happily. the boy never came back after he picked the apples. the tree was sad.
one day, the boy returned and the tree was so excited. “come and play with me,” the tree said. “i don’t have time to play. i have to work for my family. we need a house for shelter. can you help me?” “sorry, but i don’t have a house. but you can chop off my branches to build your housse.” so the boy cut all the branches off the tree and left happily. the tree was glad to see him happy but the boy never came back since then. the tree was again lonely and sad.
one hot summer day, the boy returned and the tree was delighted. “come and play with me!” the tree said. “i am sad and getting old. i want to go sailing to relax myself. can you give me a boat?” “use my trunk to build your boat. you can sail far away and be happy.” so the boy cut the tree trunk to make a boat. he went sailing and never showed up for a long time. the tree was happy, but it was not true.
finally, the boy returned after he left for so many years. “sorry, my boy. but i don’t have anything for you anymore. no more apples for you...” the tree said.
“i don’t have teeth to bite,” the boy replied.
Once a circle missed a wedge(楔). The circle wanted to be whole, so it went around looking for its missing piece. But because it was incomplete and therefore could roll only very slowly, it admired the flowers along the way. It chatted with worms. It enjoyed the sunshine. It found lots of different pieces, but none of them fit. So it left them all by the side of the road and kept on searching. Then one day the circle found a piece that fit perfectly. It was so happy. Now it could be whole, with nothing missing. It incorporated(组合)the missing piece into itself and began to roll. Now that it was a perfect circle, it could roll very fast, too fast to notice the flowers of talking to the worms. When it realized how different the world seemed when it rolled so quickly, it stopped, left its found piece by the side of the road and rolled slowly away.
The lesson of the story, I suggested, was that in some strange sense we are more whole when we are missing something. The man who has everything is in some ways a poor man. He will never know what if feels like to yearn(渴望), to hope, to nourish(滋养)his soul with the dream of something better. There is wholeness about the person who has come to terms with his limitations, who has been brave enough to let go of his unrealistic dreams and not feel like a failure for doing so.