Keeper of the Spring
Charles Swindoll, Improving your Serve
The Late Peter Marshall, an eloquent speaker and for several years the chaplain of the United States Senate, used to love to tell the story of "The Keeper of the Spring," a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slopes of the Alps. The old gentleman had been hired many years ago by a young town council to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise choke and contaminate the fresh flow of water. By and by, the village became a popular attraction for vacationeers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the millwheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond descriptions.
I saw him most mornings when I looked out of the living room window. He became part of my day. Slightly bent, he dragged one leg a little, the foot twisted so that he walked more on the side of his foot than the sole. I guessed he was in his eighties. He wore only a flannel shirt. When I could see his breath against the air on a frosty morning, I wondered if he was cold.
A simple gesture of acceptance may not seem like much, but for John Karmegan it proved decisive.
The Banyan Deer
— Buddhist Zen Story
Paulo Coelho, Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren
It is told about Gautama Buddha that he spent many lives in animal form, as various animals of the forest as the prince, Siddhartha of the Sakhya clan. This story is about his life as King of the Deer.