A strapping young stock-man lay dying; His saddle supporting his head; His two mates beside him were crying, as he rose on his elbow and said:
‘Wrap me up with my stock-whip and blanket, and bury me deep below, where the dingoes and crows won’t molest me, in the shade where the coolabahs grow, oh, had I the flight of the bronze-wing, far over the plains I would fly, straight to the home of my childhood, and there I would lay down and die.’
‘The cut down a couple of saplings, place one at my head and my toe; carve on them cross, stock-whip, and saddle to show there’s a stock-man below.
‘Hark! There’s the wail of the dingo, watchful and weird — I must go, for it tolls the death-knell of the stock-man from the gloom of the scrub down below.
“There’s tea in the battered old billy place the pannikins out in a row, and we’ll drink to the next merry meeting, in the place where all good fellows go.
‘And oft in the shades of the twilight, when the soft winds are whispering low, and the darkening shadows are falling, sometimes think of the stock-man below.’
I turned to Death and found comfort in his presence.
“I thought it was okay for her to hate me,” I said, “for everything I have done, for all my mistakes that destroyed our relationship.”
“Somewhere, in your daughter’s heart she loves you,” Death said, “that is why she has shut you out. You are her father and even in death you will be her father. She is angry and once her anger subsides, she will finally feel her love for you, and then she will forgive you.”
“Do you believe she will?” I asked hopeful.
“I know so,” Death responded.
“I was a terrible father to her,” I said. “I was a drunk. The bottle was my friend. I pushed her away when she tried to get close. By then I had realized I was a drunkard, and nothing could ease my pain, but the wine I drank every day.”
“That is when you began to die inside,” Death said. “I had been watching you, waiting patiently as I await now.”
“Thank you friend,” I said.
“I promise the pain will subside,” Death said. “Close your eyes and let sleep come over you.”
I did as I was told and felt a wave of peace come over me.