Father Clery: Laugh III

Father Clery was sitting with Bernard who couldn’t stop laughing. Father Clery loved seeing people laugh. He found it healthy and infectious, but in this instance it was clear Bernard wasn’t going to stop eating. With a sigh of resignation, Father proceeded to tell him a story.

“Bernard,” said Father Clery. “Did I ever tell you about Mr. Craynie?”

“Why, I don’t believe you have.”

“He was a poor farmer. Many would have said he was the happiest farmer, though he was barely without,” said Father Clery.

“How can he be poor and barely be without?”

“Well, you see, he had four sons. He adored his sons, they were everything for him,” said Father Clery. “Each helped him tend to the farm. He lost his wife years ago and though he missed her, his sons filled the vacancy she left. He was a happy man. When his eldest son came of age, instead of making his way to the world. He decided to stay and help his father… But then, a war broke out and two of his sons were drafted into it, while the other two enlisted. He was sad, but he didn’t dare try to stop them. He bid them farewell and wished them a safe journey.

“They wrote their father quite frequently. Then one winter only three letters arrived. By spring, only two made their way back to him. When summer approached just one letter arrived. As he was preparing for fall’s harvest the letters ceased completely. He didn’t know what had happened to his sons and hoped they would someday come home.

“There was never a day when he didn’t stare at the road they had left on, expecting to see them soon. When winter came again, he would check his mailbox every day. It was rather a cold and dreary winter. He hadn’t felt so alone before. Winter came and went and before the last of snow melted he finally got a letter telling him that one of his sons had fallen sick of pneumonia and passed away, another son had died in battle. The third had been missing in action while the fourth had been taking in as prisoner of the enemy. They couldn’t say if he was dead or alive. The father was grief stricken. He loved those boys very much. With the ground still frozen he began to dig the holes for his son’s coffins.

“With a broken heart, the two coffins arrived and he buried them right next to his wife. He held a small funeral. He wanted to stay near their graves, day and night, but he had a farm to run and he hoped it would help him heal just like it had when his wife died.” http://www.ontalkingterms.com/