The Gift: A Parable (by Geneva Heidmann)

Once, there was a merchant. He cared very deeply for the poor, and whenever he could, he helped them.
Now this merchant had in his left leg, a limp. It was not a huge bother, but he spared no love for it. At times he would wonder from whence it came, for he could not himself explain it.
At one time, the merchant was helping a family, who did not have much. Even though they had little, they offered the merchant a gift in return for his help. The merchant could not accept it, especially when he thought of how much they needed it.
Over time, he grew very close to the family, and they close to him. They would from time to time offer repayment in small gifts, but he still politely refused, only thinking that they needed it more.
Thrice in a row, at one time, they insisted he take something. Twice, he denied them.
But then he had another thought, one that had not before occurred to him. All this time, he had only thought of what they needed in their home. A fixed roof, their next meal, some money to keep them going for the next week. Then he looked around at them all. Perhaps, they needed just a bit more than a house and a meal. Carefully, he accepted the small gift: a loaf of bread. And since it was evening, he bade them all good night and returned to his own home, all the while pondering what new ways he could help this family.
The next day, when he went once again to their home, the mood was lighter and more open; before it had seemed, ever so slightly, closed off and tense.
Over the next few weeks, things steadily improved, and as the merchant helped them in every way he could think of, they grew closer as a family.
And then, one day, maybe a month later, the merchant awoke in the morning to find that his limp was gone. He ran a bit, jumped around. Still his leg remained stable. Later, as he sat with the family, they offered him a bowl of stew.
The merchant enjoyed every delicious morsel.
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