Photographs in Words 24 – The White-Bearded Old Man

Once upon a time in a land far away, where a grain sieve lay resting in a stack of hay, there was, and there was not, a little boy who lived in a small town. One fine day, a white-bearded old man with a kindly face came to the town, went directly to the little boy’s cottage and knocked on his door. He gave the little boy a bag of hazelnuts and vanished.

From that day on, before every new moon, the white-bearded old man would bring hazelnuts to the little boy, never saying a word. One day, the boy couldn’t help but ask him: “Dear white-bearded old-man with a kindly face, tell me who you are. Are you a human being like me or a jinn? Why is it that you never say a single word? Why do you give your hazelnuts just to me and not to any other children?”

No matter how much the little boy begged the white-bearded old man, he would disappear again without saying a word.

A tale never loses in the telling; sooner or later the old man came again to the town. He said, “Listen to me with both ears, son. We don’t know all the answers to everything, we can’t explain everything. However, I have given the matter a lot of thought. Suffice it to say that, one day the bird of good fortune will introduce you to the most beautiful, the most angelic of all princesses, a fairy of kindness and generosity. You must appreciate her worth and you must never ever hurt her.”

Upon hearing this, the boy said, “White-bearded old man, why do you tell such things? How come you know all this anyway? Do you really mean what you say? Why ever does an old man like you bring hazelnuts to a little boy like me? How ever in the world could a little boy like me meet the most beautiful princess in the world?”

No sooner had the boy finished speaking than the white-bearded old man disappeared again …

Three apples fell from the sky. One for the teller of this story, one for the listener and one for the little boy.

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