There once was a fellow who, with his dad, farmed a little piece
of land. Several times a year they would load up the old ox-drawn
cart with vegetables and go into the nearest city to sell their
produce. Except for their name and patch of ground, father and
son had little in common. The old man believed in taking it easy.
The boy was usually in a hurry -- the go-getter type.
One morning, bright and early, they hitched up the ox to the
loaded cart and started on the long journey. The son figured that
if they walked faster, kept going all day and night, they'd make
the market by early the next morning. So he kept prodding the ox
with a stick, urging the beast to get a move on.
"Take it easy, son" said the old man. "You'll last longer."
"But if we get to the market ahead of the others, we'll have a
better chance of getting good prices," argued the son.
No reply. Dad just pulled his hat down over his eyes and fell
asleep on the seat. Itchy and irritated, the young man kept
goading the ox to walk faster. His stubborn pace refused to change.
Four hours and four miles down the road, they came to a little
house. The father woke up, smiled and said, "Here's your uncle's
place. Let's stop in and say "hello."
"But we've lost an hour already," complained the hotshot.
"Then a few more minutes won't matter. My brother and I live so
close, yet we see each other so seldom," the father answered
The boy fidgeted and fumed while the two old men laughed and
talked away almost an hour. On the move again, the man took his
turn leading the ox. As they approached a fork in the road, the
father led the ox to the right.
"The left is the shorter way," said the son.
"I know it," replied the old man, "but this way is so much
"Have you no respect for time?: the young man asked impatiently.
"Oh, I respect it very much! That's why I like to look at beauty
and enjoy each moment to the fullest."
The winding path led through graceful meadows, wildflowers and
along a rippling stream - all of which the young man missed as
he churned within, preoccupied and boiling with anxiety. He
didn't even notice how lovely the sunset was that day.
Twilight found them in what looked like a huge, colorful garden.
The old man breathed in the aroma, listened to the bubbling brook,
and pulled the ox to a halt. "Let's sleep here," he sighed.
"This is the last trip I'm taking with you," snapped his son.
"You're more interested in watching sunsets and smelling flowers
then in making money!"
"Why, that's the nicest thing you've said in a long time," smiled
the dad. A couple of minutes later he was snoring - as his boy
glared back at the stars. The night dragged slowly, the son was
Before sunrise the young man hurriedly shook the father awake.
They hitched up and went on. About a mile down the road they
happened upon another farmer - a total stranger - trying to pull
his cart out of a ditch.
"Let's give him a hand," whispered the old man.
"And lose more time?" the boy exploded.
"Relax, son ... you might be in a ditch yourself. We need to help
others in need - don't forget that." The boy looked away in anger.
It was almost eight o'clock that morning by the time the other
cart was back on the road. Suddenly, a great flash split the sky.
What sounded like thunder followed. Beyond the hills, the sky grew
"Looks like big rain in the city," said the old man.
"If we had hurried, we'd be almost sold out by now," grumbled his
"Take it easy ... you'll last longer. And you'll enjoy life so much
more," counseled the kind old gentlemen.
It was late in the afternoon by the time they got to the hill
overlooking the city. They stopped and stared down at it for a
long time. Neither of them said a word. Finally, the young man put
his hand on his father's shoulder and said, "I see what you mean
They turned their cart around and began to roll slowly away from
what had once been the city of Hiroshima.