This story is one that I wrote some time back. My guess is that this is what I get when I cross a folk tale style with a parable. Is it then a folk parable? Your guess is as good as mine, but do enjoy this short piece.
Glenda K. Fralin (author) copyright pending
Approximate Word Count 595
Thistles in the Corn
“Move faster,” the father called. “We must dig these thistles out of the corn.” The mid-day sun was beating down, and Boy’s water was running out. He’d sweat the liquid from his body. He felt dizzy, and began to reel. Drinking his last gulps he pled to the father.
“Sorry son. I think we can break until the sun drops over those trees. You don’t look so good.” The father replied with a look of concern for his son.
They took some shade under the pickup parked at the edge of the field. Boy grabbed a jug of water and downed several gulps of it, then grabbed a sandwich. Reclining on his elbows, he looked out at the corn field. It was a small acre patch of sweet corn. But, it was a money crop at the farmer’s market.
The father spoke looking at Boy, "Son, I am getting very old and will die soon. I want you to listen. You must live a very good honorable life. It will earn you respect in this world."
Boy did not want to hear about his father dying, but he asked: "Father, it is so hard to live a good and honorable life these days. I know you are an honorable man. How do I live such a life?"
The father replied, "Well, the thistles are like the things that seem small. They can grow and take over. You must keep tending to your life each day as you do the thistles in this field. Now get some rest and we will refill our water flasks and get back to those thistles."
Boy woke up as he felt coolness brush over his skin, and knew the sun was moving on. The light would be fading soon. “Father, think we should get back to those thistles now?”
Boy looked over at his aged father and knew that he had died. There was no color left in the old man’s face and the eyes lay open wide. Covering the father’s body with his own, Boy cried then picked up the elder man and lay him gently in the truck.
Boy called his mother from the hospital and asked her to come and tell him what to do.
The woman came calmly in and looked at her husbands still form in the emergency room. She told the desk clerk to call Hope and Faith Funeral Home to come and prepare the body. When the body was released the boy and the mother left alone clinging together for solace.
The next morning was the funeral rites with a few friends and family in attendance. “Our brother has gone before us,” the minister said, “we’ll catch up with him in our time. Love be with you all.”
The mother and son thanked the pastor and gave their few dollars of fee. They bound for home when the burying was done to do as the father had instructed.
That night the mother told Boy, “Father left this homeland to me till I die and then it will be yours. But, to you son he left the acre and all it needs and bears.”
The morning broke early and Boy lifted his tired and woeful body from his bed. He drank some coffee and ate an egg. He kissed Mother on the cheek, smiled and left for the day. No words were needed.
Boy went to his acre, looked up to the only cloud in the sky, shed a single tear and cleared thistles from the corn.