Once upon a time, there lived a dragon who thought very highly of himself. He was fair of face with green eyes the color of jealousy. At night, alone in his lair, he regaled himself with thoughts of how strong and fearsome a dragon he was.
On a day when the sun was bright and the wind mild, he came upon a group of dragons in front of a beautiful tree. It was tall with verdant branches, the limbs weighted down with delicate white flowers and perfectly round, pink fruits. A rich, sweet aroma wafted from the tree.
The other dragons warned him the fruit was not fit to eat, but Dragon was strong and fearsome. Sure he could best everyone in the kingdom; he devoured every piece of fruit, never letting the crowd see how the horrible, bitter taste coated his tongue and throat.
Once consumed, the angry fruit roiled and tumbled in his stomach. Try as he might, Dragon couldn’t handle the awfulness, and finally turned from the crowd, stuffed both paws down his throat and purged the whole scalding mess.
All the dragons stood around, shaking their heads and whispering to each other.
“At least I was strong enough to consume it.” Dragon shouted.
“To what end?” An elderly dragon approached him. “It was not fit to eat and yet you ate more than your fill. What did you accomplish?”
“I proved I am better because I can eat the bitterness.”
One by one the crowd dissipated until it was just the proud and the elderly.
“Life gives us enough bitter. It is worthless to consume it unnecessarily. You are not strong, you are proud. You have much to learn.” And with that, Elderly wandered away.