Once upon a time, many years ago, a man and a woman were married. They lived together happily until one day the man had to go on a long trip. They loved one another very much, and the husband made a promise to his wife. “Good-bye, beloved. I will write to you as often as I can.” And the woman answered him, saying, “I love you, too. I will wait for you.”
The man was gone for a long time, but he kept his promise. The woman sat eagerly on the couch to read each new love letter when it came in the morning mail. After some time she had a bundle of letters, tied with a string, which she kept in a drawer. Every morning the woman took the bundle of letters from the drawer and sat on her couch to read and re-read them. The devoted wife never skipped a day reading the letters–not a single day.
After a few years, as sometimes happens when loved ones have gone away, she could no longer remember what her husband looked like. This bothered her for a while. She wondered what it meant, but nothing changed. Every morning she took the bundle of letters out of the drawer. Nothing kept her from reading the wonderful love letters.
The devoted wife didn’t notice when the letters stopped coming. She was content with the letters she had. She had read every letter hundreds of times, never tiring of them. She read them so often that she knew many of them by heart, and often sang her favorite lines to herself through the day.
One morning, her husband returned. He said to his wife, “It’s so good to see you! I missed you so much!” He hugged her, but she didn’t hug him back. He didn’t understand. He stepped back and looked at her. He thought to himself, “Maybe she doesn’t recognize me.”
“It’s me, your husband! I have returned!”
The woman looked puzzled. Then she realized that the man was her husband. He was back. “It’s good to see you,” she said. “Come sit with me on the couch.”
The man sat down and his wife opened the drawer. She brought the bundle of love letters to the couch and untied the string. “I love these letters,” she said, looking through them. “I know–I’ll read this one. It’s one of my favorites!” And the woman read the letter. Then another, and another. When the husband tried to talk with her, she read another letter.
As the years went by, the devoted wife read and re-read the love letters many times.