Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Little Boy – part two

Read “The Little Boy – part one”
Part Two

Three days later, the stranger returned. The children gathered again, hands out. People watched in the distance. The stranger shook his head.

“No!” He shouted. This will not become habit. He pulled out his pouch, removed ten small copper coins, and closed it again. “Ten. No more!”

Hands out, grabbing and pressing. Ten right hands. Ten hands that found coins. Children shouted, begged, pulled.

“Go!” he stomped one foot. They ran.

The stranger wasted little time. He had come for water. He sat at the well. There was no maiden today, only the miserable heat. He lowered the bucket, drew the water, and filled his skins. He drank, then emptied the rest over his head. A refreshment.

The stranger closed his eyes and felt the wind on his wet face. “Thank you,” he said. “You do great things that we cannot understand and miracles that we cannot count. You give rain to the earth and send water to the fields.”

Opening his eyes once more, the stranger saw the little boy. He looked to the boy’s hand. His was not one of the ten. He had received nothing.

The boy was near one of the taverns eating a piece of old bread. He looked into the doorway, suddenly. His head shook as though he were answering a question. Immediately, he jumped up and ran off, just as a bottle came crashing to the ground where he was sitting.

The stranger noticed, but did nothing. “Miserable useless men,” he thought. “At least the boy will learn not to return there.”

Seventy-eight steps. Out of the gates. Gone.


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