The Elder and the Child was a story told by the Vulcan Spock of his great-great-grandmother.

In the fable, there was a Vulcan Elder who was many centuries old that she reached the end of her years at which point she decided to make the decision to die. On the day prior to her death, she went into the fields and began preparing a patch of ground for planting. At this time, a child arrived riding on his sehlat with the boy not having learnt that it was bad manners to laugh out loud. Seeing the Vulcan Elder working, he stopped and asked her "What are you doing?" to which she responded "I am going to plant a family of dalm trees.". The child simply laughed out loud in response at the thought of the elderly woman planting a family of trees at her age. If this were any other Vulcan, the child would have been quietly rebuked for his bad manners but the Vulcan Elder was wise enough to know that children do not always know that their manners were bad. She simply asked quietly "Why do you laugh, little person?" with the child responding "How long will it take before your dalm trees bear fruit?". The elderly Vulcan responded "These trees will not bear fruit for more than a hundred and fifty years." At which point, the child stated "But tomorrow you plan to die. You will not be here to enjoy the fruit. Therefore, it is illogical to plant. I laught at your silliness. Perhaps, you have been spending too much time with Earthmen.".

But the Vulcan Elder continued to work and dug into the ground whilst loosening the soil with a three fingered tool. A moment later, she said "When I was a small child, no bigger than yourself, little person, there were dalm-figs to enjoy. One day, I asked my father where these dalm-fogs had come from. He told me that two hundred years before, one of my ancestors had been thoughtful enough to plant a family of dalm trees on the day before she died so that I would have them to enjoy. He told me that it was her gift to me, even though she would never know me and I would know her only as a story. Each generation provides for the next one, little person. I can never repay the gift that my great-ancestor gave to me - whether it be something as simple as a bowl of dalm-figs or as elegant as the whole of Vulcan learning - except to pass it on to those who will follow after me. It will be my gift to them. Someday, you will pass by here again and you will taste these dalm-figs, and you will remember the old woman who planted them - and you will be grateful for my foresight. Someday, you will plant dalm trees of your own, even though you will never live to taste of their truit. Illogical? No, my great-great-grandchild, I am not illogical. It is the ones who do not plant who are illogical because they are not repaying the debt. If you eat of the dalm-figs, then you must also plant.".

After hearing her words, the child thought of her remarks for a moment before he climbed down from the back of his sehlat and began helping the old woman with her planting. (TOS novel: The Galactic Whirlpool)

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