man with a small orchard had a problem. Every tree in the orchard with the exception of one, fruited prolifically.
Every year without fail the trees would thrive during the seasons and when the time arrived, their branches would
weigh heavily under the strain of ripening fruit. There were plums, there were peaches and there were apples; all
large and sweet and juicy. His pear tree however, continued to be a source of consternation, for no matter how
much he tended the tree, no matter how much attention he paid to its comfort and its need for nourishment, the
tree would not respond. In fact he was beginning to doubt that it was a pear tree at all for the tree had never
produced one pear. He would often puzzle over the strange irony: could it still be a pear tree without pears?
The man had not remained unmoved by the tree's stubborn refusal to bear fruit.
The years had seen him disappointed, frustrated, angry, hopeless, cynical, disinterested and at last, determined.
He was done with cursing the tree, he was finished with anguishing as the other trees began to flower and develop
fruit. He was through with pleading with it, singing to it, coaxing it. There was only one thing left for him to
do. He would pray for divine intervention, he would apply for a happening, he would petition for magic. And in
the evening when he was quiet, he sent out a passionate request for inspiration. He called for a sign.
The next morning, the man awoke and remembering his prayer, he rushed to the orchard
where the trees were developing flowers and over to the barren pear tree to check for the manifestation of magic.
But he was not to find it. The tree had not miraculously sprouted flowers, there was no fruit, no sudden signs
of burgeoning fertility. His heart sank and he went back inside.
Every morning the same thing occurred. The man would rush outside expectantly in
the hope that his prayer had been heeded and that his pear tree would be blessed with a miracle. And every time
the result was the same. Nothing.
One morning, having suffered the same ritual of hope and disappointment, the man
sat in his rocking chair picking his way through a huge red apple and lost in the notion that his plea for magic
had gone unheard, when there was a knock at the door. Jolted from his discouragement, for he seldom received visitors,
he rose to his feet and approached the knocking with trepidation. To his surprise he was greeted by a nearby neighbor.
He had hardly spoken two words to the woman despite having lived close by for ten years or more. She was obviously
excited about something and in her arms she cradled a huge sack bulging with what appeared to be fruit.
"These are for you!" The woman explained breathlessly. She passed over
the sack and the man struggled under the weight as he took it from her. Spreading the sack open at the top to reveal
what was inside, the man gasped at the sight of huge golden shiny perfect pears. Weakened for a moment, he looked
at the woman without speaking, searching and shocked. She was smiling happily unaware of the profundity of what
she had done.
She explained with animation that her pear tree had remained barren for many years
and that she had been thinking about digging it out when she had begun to notice tiny flower buds, eventually leading
to the fruit he now held in his arms. Such was her rapture she went on, that she just had to share the miracle
"Don't you want to keep them?" The man was uneasy.
"Oh goodness no! I have lots more at home. You enjoy them." And with
a broad smile she turned and walked off down the path, leaving the man with his armful of pears.