There once was a garden. In this garden grew the greatest flower anyone knew. It had become the center of attention for anyone who came and saw it. It’s bright colors made anyone lose their breath. The garden belonged to an old man who after a long life taken to becoming a great gardener and he had great care for the garden especially this flower. Deep down it was a reminder of the one that grew near his home as child. He remembered his mother taking long walks with him to visit it. When she had finally passed away he dug it up and planted it near her grave.
One day long after he started his garden he once again found it in the wild and decided to dig it up and grow it in his garden. While there were a few of these flowers in his garden there was one in the middle that grew so big that he personally began to take extra care for it. The flower gave him great comfort to see it every morning. No doubt he loved all of his garden but it was this particular flower gave the greatest joy.
One day a stranger came to town. He visited the garden because he had heard it was the most beautiful around. When he got there he was even more amazed to see that the garden was indeed greater than that, it was most beautiful one he had ever seen in the whole wide world. So after coming to see the garden three days in a row he asked the gardener if he would ever desire to sell it to him. The gardener with much shock said he knew he was old and could no longer care for it. He was indeed making plans to live with his daughter in another village. He with much heartfelt love said that he would be willing to sell his garden but that the flower in the center, the one he loved the most he would not nor could he sell. The stranger told him that it was indeed the flower in the center that made the garden so complete. That without it the garden would be indeed fare more regular. When the gardener heard this he realize that it was true and that to separate the flower from his garden would be a terrible crime so he told the stranger no to the sale and the man left angry.
After a few days the stranger decided that if he could not have the garden that no one should. So he crept in one night and with his torch burned down the whole garden but before he left, he took the flower in the center. As he made his departure he locked eyes with the gardener coming out of his house. The tears of sadness that came from him as he saw the true face of the stranger made the even the stone cold heart beat. The love of the garden he had especially for the flower that the stranger now had made him faint. Away the stranger fled to local inn he was staying.
It took only two more days before the stranger’s shame took him. Filled with great remorse he then went to the store to buy a pot and planted the flower. He then took a pen and paper to write his last will and testament. The next day when the inn’s maid came by she saw that the stranger had surely hanged himself. The note she read instructed that the flower be returned to the gardener and to tell him how sorry he was. Later that day when the local bailiff came in he realized that the flower in question belonged to the gardener who reported it stolen. The bailiff had such great rage for the law was broken as well as the gardener’s heart. The bailiff had no sympathy for the stranger and on the next day he delivered the pot he lamented he himself could not take the strangers life himself. The gardener whose utmost desire to create and grow said the bailiff that the man’s crimes were undeniable and that while deserved to be punished he also felt sadness at his passing. So the bailiff told him of what the note said to which soon after the gardener asked of where the stranger would be buried. The bailiff told him true that no better place for criminal and stranger then the potter’s field.
So the next day the bailiff showed the gardener of where the stranger was buried. The gardener then pulled out the flower and proceeded to plant it next the the thief’s grave. Tears of sadness came as he then said a prayer for the dead. He then sang a song and after he had done this the bailiff asked why he would plant the flower at the grave of a man who stole it from him. To which the gardener replied simply sweet.
All men deserve death for their sins but I forgive him. Even the ones who wrong us most deserve the love of God’s mercy the most.
After he said this the bailiff asked him why he cried for the man who took so much away. To which he once more replied
Worst then losing my garden to fire is that the man who did it decided to destroy his life from that guilt. Also how fitting it is to plant the same flower at another stranger’s grave. My mother was once a stranger to God but in his grace he showed her his face and it led me to him. I can only wish the same for the stranger. If nothing else it always be a reminder to me that even the worst of crimes deserves the love of a Gardener
The gardener then left the town and went to his daughter’s house. After one year the bailiff had been given a word that the old gardener had died. He then came to the town and to his grave where the gardener’s daughter was sitting there. He came with another flower much like the one the gardener had. He planted it at the grave and the daughter asked him if he knew her dad. He said I knew him yes and then he told her the story as he knew it. He said
Let this flower be a reminder to you and to anyone as it was for me that even in death the beauty of life can be seen. For it has become a symbol for me. You see I was a stranger to God’s mercy and love but your father showed it to me. So I hope anyone can seen that was stolen can be returned and those once strangers to God can be consider his kin.