Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: Winsome Wine
By Chelsea Pietsch
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Despite all of this, each day, whether rain or shine, the man tended to his vine. Perhaps the strangest thing of all, was that he was often seen walking in his neighbour's vineyard, searching for broken or diseased branches. He would bundle up these useless branches and carry them carefully home, where he proceeded to graft them into his vine. It was due to this constant activity that the vine looked so ugly. Nevertheless, over time, the branches grew new leaves and eventually produced fruit. Sometimes though, and even crazier, he tore off healthy branches and burnt them. His behaviour made no sense and so he was understandably labeled as crazy.
There was one child who was curious however. He wanted to try and understand this old man. One day he climbed the hill and bravely approached the vine where the man was stooped over. “Excuse me sir, but why do you bother with this vine? My daddy says you're crazy.”
The man smiled genially, “Ah many people say that, but I can assure you they haven't tasted my wine!” The boys eyes rounded.
“Could I taste your wine sir... please?”
“Certainly, but I must warn you - if you drink this wine, you will never be thirsty again.” Now the boy knew he was crazy. Nevertheless, he wanted to taste this wine. Imagine what all the children in the village would say when he told them! The old man began to speak again, interrupting the boy's fantasy, “Listen my child, you must believe what I say or I can't give you the wine. Stop thinking I'm crazy and just believe me.”
The boy was a little uncomfortable now. How had this man known what he was thinking? Yet now he was filled with a desire to taste the wine. Imagine if what this man was saying was true! He wasn't silly though, “Well if you aren't crazy, why do you put ugly branches on your vine?” He asked dubiously.
“A good question child. You see, the world has given up on these sick branches, but when I graft them into my vine, they cling onto it because they are so starved for nutrients. After a while, when gain new life, they are stronger than the others and produce the best fruit! That is the secret of my wine - because it comes from branches that have been given new life, the wine also gives life to those who drink it.”
The boy was astounded at this old mans teaching. It made sense, yet how could it be true? “Well then, why do you sometimes tear off good branches and burn them?”
The man tore off a branch and held it up for the boy to see. “They appear to be good branches, but inside they are rotten. That happens for lots of reasons, sometimes it's because they are so focused on bearing fruit that they forget to draw strength from the vine. Other times they want to become a vine of their own so they let go, and still other times they are so content that they don't bother to produce fruit. Whatever the reason, they are no good and must be burnt.”
Again the boy was amazed at the man's wisdom. Now he really did believe and he sat impatiently as the man concluded his explanation. The man smiled. “Now you are ready.” He brought out a glass of wine. At the first sip the boy's entire countenance changed. His face shone with light and he hurriedly finished the glass. Having done that, he hugged the old man before running back down the hill. He had to tell the others! But this time it was not to boast, but so that they could have some too.
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