There was once upon a time a certain old woman who lived outside a small village. She lived quietly there, tending her garden, and all who meet her immediately felt that her grey hairs were a sign of genuine wisdom.
One morning, while she was in her garden gathering vegetables, a stranger came along the road, apparently leaving the village. Seeing her, he stopped to talk.
“Mother,” said the traveller, “I am on my way to the next village. Can you tell me what the people are like there?”
The woman paused for a moment, studying the traveller, and then asked, “How did you find the people of this village?”
The traveller made a face. “Excuse me for saying so, Mother, but I found the people of this village to be very unfriendly. Unfriendly and rude, and uneducated to the point of stupidity.”
The woman nodded. “Yes, I see. Well, the people in the next village are exactly the same.”
The traveller thanked her and took his leave, and the woman went back to her task, but not long after another traveller appeared, walking in the opposite direction. This traveller also stopped and began to talk to the old woman. “May I ask, Mother,” said the traveller, “what are the people like in your village?”
“Well,,” said the woman, “how were the people in the last village you visited?”
“Very friendly,” the man said. “Friendly, welcoming and generous.”
The woman smiled happily. “What a coincidence! The people here are exactly the same.”