The Farmer and His Boy
by Joseph Ryan
He was a strong boy with broad shoulders but he was not so smart, and even though he was old, his father still called him a boy, and so did the men he worked with.
He had gone to war and the sergeant had called him a stupid fool many times, but when he left war the sergeant said he was brave and gave him his own medal and told him that brave men were often called stupid.
He was the only one on the farm when his father became sick and he nursed his father every day for a year, until his father grew thin and too weak to drink or eat, and then he cried by the river and buried his father under the tree next to his mother, who had died very young and who he had never known.
The day he had died he had felt pains in his chest all morning, but he still went outside to work, and when the pain became worse he made his way to the old tree over the river and he sat under it beside his father’s and mother’s grave, and he looked up for the birds, but he could not see a bird and when he passed, he was alone with only a light rain around him.