Once upon a time, a pilgrim set out on the long journey in search of peace, joy and love. The pilgrim walked for many weary miles, and time passed.
Gradually, the young, lively steps became slower and more laboured. The pilgrim’s journey passed through landscapes that were not always happy ones. Through war. Through sickness. Through quarrels and rejections and separations. A land where, it seemed, the more people possessed, the more warlike they became 0 the more they had to defend, the more they needed to attack each other. Longing for peace, they prepared for war. Longing for love, they surrounded themselves with walls of distrust and barriers of fear. Longing for life, they were walking deeper into death.
But one morning, the pilgrim came to a little cottage at the wayside. Something about this little cottage attracted the pilgrim. It was as though it was lit up from the inside. Full of curiosity, the pilgrim went inside. And inside the cottage was a little shop, and behind the counter stood a shopkeeper. It was hard to judge the age – hard even to say for sure whether it was a man or a woman. There was an air of timelessness about the place.
“What would you like?” asked the shopkeeper in a kindly voice.
“What do you stock here?” asked the pilgrim.
“Oh, we have all the things here that you most long for,” replied the shopkeeper. “Just tell me what you desire.” The pilgrim hardly knew where to begin. So many desires came rushing to mind at once.
“I want peace – in my own family, in my native land and in the whole world. I want to make something good of my life. I want those who are sick to be well again and those who are lonely to have friends. I want those who are hungry to have enough to eat. I want every child born on this planet today to have a chance to be educated. I want everyone on earth to live in freedom. I want this world to be a kingdom of love.”
There was a pause while the pilgrim reviewed this shopping list.
Gently, the shopkeeper broke in. “I’m sorry,” came the quiet reply. “I should have explained. We don’t supply the fruits here. We only supply the seeds.”