“Mujer“, dijo el panadero, “me vuelvo más viejo y mis fuerzas están disminuyendo. Durante toda mi vida he hecho el pan para el pueblo. La gente venía aun de lejos para comprar mis panecillos. ¿Y cuando llegue el día en que yo tenga que dejar para siempre el cuenco de la amasadura, quién seguirá llevando el negocio?” Los dos no tenían hijos.
“Anda”, habló la mujer, “busca a un hombre joven que te eche una mano y a quien puedas enseñarle todo en cuanto a tu arte. Cuando seas viejo y ya no puedas trabajar, él podrá continuar con la tienda y estarás orgulloso de él como de tu propio hijo.”
Dicho y hecho. El panadero hizo divulgar por los pueblos vecinos que buscaba a alguien al que le gustase hacer pan y que quisiera aprender este oficio de él.
En los días siguientes se le presentaron cuatro hombres jóvenes, y no sabía por cuál decidirse. Como la decisión le resultaba tan difícil, acudió a su esposa y le preguntó a ella lo que podía hacer. Dijo esta: “Haz venir a todos otra vez. Te diré a quién vas a tomar.”
Entonces el panadero pidió a los cuatro hombres que viniesen de nuevo. El primer hombre se presentó y la mujer le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Me gusta madrugar y me gusta acostarme temprano. Y un panadero se entera muy pronto de todas las novedades que se cuentan en el pueblo y en sus alrededores.”
Vino el segundo y la mujer le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Mis padres son difuntos y tengo que mantener esposa e hijos.”
Vino el tercero y le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Lo considero un honor hacerle a la gente el pan que dios nos ha dado.”
Vino el cuarto, y a él no le preguntó nada.
“Tomamos a este”, le dijo a su marido.
“¿Y por qué a él?”
“Al entrar aspiró profundamente el aroma del pan.”
In a land in our time there lived a man, who read a book and found lots of wonderful stories therein. There were true and invented stories, experienced and pensive, enjoyable and painful stories. There were stories which contained stories, and such which were actually not stories. For every story he read, there occurred to him nearly five which he had either experienced or thought up himself. So the thought came to him, that a lot in the world was a story which could be healing for himself and others; he only needed to absorb the healing stories well and to forget the terrible ones immediately. Then he would learn which story he had used when and for what. So he organised his own stories which he knew, and which had become a help to himself and others, or could become so. Sometimes he noted it down when a new story came to his ears and sometimes when a helpful story occurred to him, he memorised it.
Then he saw before him in a picture the storystories of this life arranged in long shelves, as in a large pharmacy. And behind the counter there sat a man who had learnt to listen to himself and others. He was a master of his subjectspecialty. His talent was that he understood how to tell the right thing at the right time to himself and to those who visited him.
“Wife”, spoke the baker, “I am getting older and my strength is lessening. All my life have I baked the bread for this village. Yes, people have come from afar to buy my rolls. The day will come when I will have to lay aside my bowl of dough, and who will then continue with my trade?” For they had no children. “Go search for a young man” the woman said, “who can help you with your work, and whom you can teach all about the art of baking bread. When you are old and can no longer work, he shall continue with the shop, and you shall look at him with pride as if he were your son.” As she said it, so it was done. The baker spread the news that he was seeking an apprentice who would like to learn his trade. In the following days, four young men came into his shop, wanting to become a baker. He found it difficult to choose and asked his wife again. She said: “Tell all of them to come again!” And so he did. The first man introduced himself to the baker’s wife. She asked: “Why do you want to learn a baker’s trade?” “I like to get up early, and go to bed before the night is falling. And, what is more, a baker is among the first to hear the news of the village and of its surroundings.” The second man came and she asked him: “Why do you want to learn a baker’s trade?” “My parents died early, and I need to care for my wife and children.” The third man came and she asked him: “Why do you want to learn a baker’s trade?” “I deem it an honour to bake for men the bread that God has given us.” The fourth man came and she asked him naught. “Him we take”, she told her husband. “Why should we take him?” “When he arrived, he inhaled eagerly the scent of bread.”
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