An old man arrived one day in a local village and bought a prime tract of land. He set about landscaping it, planting trees, constructing lovely wending paths through the flowering gardens, and building attractions; lakes upon which couples and families might row across the placid water, amusement rides for children, and curiosities for the adventurous to explore. He planted many fruiting trees and vines so that all year something there bore delicious fruit to be enjoyed by all who passed by them. He constructed little stalls in various places where delicacies were dispensed to all who might desire them. Lastly, he constructed a large wall around his creation with a gate, lovely and welcoming.
On the day his works were complete he placed his own son at the gate and announced in the village that all who so desired might enter freely, by coming to the gate and asking of the son permission to enter.
Many did just that and were both enchanted and delighted at the wonders in the man’s garden and the free and delicious provisions laid on so freely.
But one day one of the villagers complained. ‘Why should he have to always enter by the gate?’ ‘Why do I have to ask the son’s permission?’
‘Let us enter any way we please!’ The cry arose and spread quickly from one set of lips to another, till there was a crowd chanting, ‘Down with the wall, Away with the son.’ ‘Let us come and go as WE please!’ they cried in unison.
And so the man and his son quietly packed up and left. The villagers demolished the wall and gate and came and went as they wanted. Intime though the grass grew wild, the trees unkempt, the waters stale and soon the villagers lost interest. The tract of land overgrew once more and soon they forgot about the paradise that had visited them for a season.