The Apple Seller
Once upon a time in a quiet little village lived an old man and an old lady.
They were very poor but just about managed to grow enough food to eat in their tiny garden.
Late one afternoon as the old man was planting potatoes he heard the faint sound of a bell ringing in the distance.
This was very unusual as visitors hardly ever came to the village. He rushed inside to tell his wife.
Together they went to the front door to listen. The sound of the bell was growing louder, and they could now make out the sound of a voice.
"Apples, apples, buy my lovely apples".
After a while they could see a lone figure pushing a barrow approaching from the distance.
As the figure reached the road running past their cottage they could see the barrow was laden with the most delicious looking apples. They didn't have much money but the apples looked so good they simply had to buy one.
The old man and lady stopped the apple seller to inspect his wares. The apple seller was dressed in ragged clothes. He had long hair and a straggly beard. But as they looked at his face the old man and lady noticed he had the kindest looking eyes they'd ever seen.
Before they could ask how much the apples were the apple seller spoke.
"I've been pushing my barrow since early morning. Do you think I could possibly have a glass of water?" he asked.
"Of course," said the old lady, inviting him into her home.
He sat on the sofa and sipped the water.
When it was time to leave he thanked the old man and lady for their kindness, and instead of selling them an apple he opened a drawer underneath the barrow and took out the shiniest, reddest apple they had ever seen.
"Share this apple," he told them, "and whatever you dream tonight will come true."
The old man and lady thanked the apple seller for the apple and said farewell as he continued on his way.
They cut the apple in half and ate it. They laughed at the words of the apple seller, but both agreed it was the best apple they'd ever tasted.
The old man saved the pips to plant the next day. If he could grow apples that good to sell at market they wouldn't be so poor.
Next morning the old man and lady asked each other what they had dreamed. They were astonished to find they'd both had the same dream, that they'd been together on a beautiful tropical island. They remembered the apple seller's words and smiled again. It was only a dream.
The old man took the apple pips into the garden to plant. The only spare space was over in the far corner. That area had never been planted before because the soil was too rocky. But this time the old man had no choice but to dig it.
He'd been digging less than a minute when his shovel hit something. It wasn't a rock but a piece of metal. The old man dug more. It was a metal box. He dug it out of the ground and took it into the house. Opening it he discovered it was full of gold coins.The old man and lady sold the gold coins for a lot of money and were able to move to the beautiful tropical island of their dreams where they've lived happily ever after.
Next: The Fisherman