by Shadowfax

So it is time once again.

Once upon a time, a time just long enough ago for this story to be current, but
not long enough ago for it to be really all that current, there lived a man in
the mountains, and his name was Ryan.

Now, Ryan was a really nice sort of man, the kind you don't often find in
a world of not-so-nice sorts of men, and that's exactly why he lived in the
mountains, far away from all the people who would try to change him and make
him not-so-nice. And he was happy.

And if you ever needed anything, a cup of sugar, a stick of butter, a bucket of
milk, why, you could just trek on up that mountain, and if you could catch Ryan
at home, why, he was just so nice, that he would give it to you, and never
expect anything in return. He was that kind of guy. In fact, if you made the
trek all the way up the mountain, and found that Ryan actually wasn't at home,
then all you had to do was take whatever you wanted, and leave a note on the
table saying you'd been there and borrowed some milk or butter or whatnot, and
Ryan didn't mind one bit. Not one bit at all. He really was a very nice guy.

Well, he used to be, anyway.

See, after a while that nasty human gossip machine had everyone in the county
knowing that Ryan was there to just give you milk and butter whenever you
wanted! So of course there were those people who would trek on up the mountain,
and ask him for a stick of butter every single day! That's right, they never
bought a stick of butter for themselves at all anymore, they just leeched off
of Ryan's butter, and off of Ryan's milk, and off of Ryan's sugar, until
finally we see that Ryan has no more butter, and no more sugar, and no more
milk, except that amount which he absolutely did need for himself, and of
course he can't very well give that away. And so he didn't.

So then it was that Ryan decided that he couldn't afford to feed an entire
county anymore, and for the first time in his life, he went to the blacksmith,
and he asked for him to fashion a lock to put upon his door, and lo and behold,
to this very day, if you trek up on the mountain, to ask Ryan for a stick of
butter, why, there's a fence, and a nasty dog to keep you away, and even if you
manage to get by both of them, you're greeted by a heavy locked steel door, and
barred windows, and Ryan sitting inside crying to himself, for the world made
him what he most despised: a not-so-nice guy.

How sad.

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