As the knight approached the fork in the road, he noticed an old man sitting beneath a tree. “Spare some food, sir?”
“Certainly,” the knight replied. He dismounted and offered the old man some jerky from his stores. “It is the duty of all knights to help the less fortunate, and I always assist those in need.”
The old man looked at the knight out of the corner of his eye. “It is easy for you to give, for you have much. I wonder, would you be so generous with what is truly precious?”
The knight frowned. “What do you mean?”
The old man indicated the intersection with a frail hand. “Down each road wait life and death. If you go east, you will live many years, but all around you will suffer and die. If you go west, your life will be short, but others will endure for years to come.”
“And if I go back the way I came?”
The old man cackled. “Which way would that be?” The knight turned, but the road he had ridden thus far was gone, swallowed by the forest.
“Now we shall see what sort of man you really are.”