There was a young man walking down a road, pulling behind him a wagon loaded with 1000 bricks. His feet were bruised and blistered. With each step, the young man groaned and sweat dripped from his brow, and the wagon moved 10 inches.
One morning an older man saw him and was moved to pity.
“My son, you are so burdened. Let me carry some of your bricks, that you may be eased in your task.”
The young man agreed, but said “sir, you have labored longer than I. I will gratefully accept your help, but please only carry two bricks.”
The older man then climbed onto the wagon, to find the two heaviest bricks. He hoisted them up onto his shoulders. The weight was all he could bear, but he lifted them up and sat down atop the pile on the wagon. “These are so heavy,” said the older man. “Even these two must lighten your load.”
The young man again began pulling the wagon, his pain and effort increased by the old man’s weight. The old man did not weigh much compared to the bricks, so the young man continued to pull. Now, with each step, the wagon moved 9 inches.
“My, you must be so tired and weak!” said the old man from atop the wagon. “Even with my help, you are slower than before! Must I carry even more?” And with that he picked up two more bricks.
The young man’s pace was unchanged. The old man, astonished, picked up two more bricks, saying “you need me more than you ever knew! I will carry more, though it breaks my back to do it!”
The older man indeed was heavily burdened, and he shook and sweated under the weight of the six bricks. He groaned and strained, the cords of his neck standing out. Still, the young man’s pace was unchanged.
Presently they came upon a well beside the road.
“Sir, you grow weary,” said the young man. “Put down your load awhile, and let us both rest.”
The old man let down his burden and climbed down. They rested together and drank some water from the well. When they had rested, the young man stood and returned to pulling the wagon.
“Wait!” exclaimed the older man, “you need me! You could barely manage even with my help!”
“Sir, please do not trouble yourself. You have worked hard with me, but it has not made my task easier, and it tires us both.”
The young man continued with the thousand bricks. With each step, he moved 11 inches.
The older man, standing behind on the road, said to himself “what an ungrateful young man! He will surely fail without me!”
The young man continued on his way.