It was morning again. Wiping grimy hands across my eyes, I stumbled from the shed I’d been sleeping in. I knew that if I didn’t hurry up, I’d get a beating. Ignoring the rumbling from my midsection, I made my way over to where the buckets were sitting. It took all my strength just to lift them and carry them over to the pigpen. Before I dumped them in, I tried to see if there was anything in the bucket that I could filch without getting in trouble. Was anyone watching? Look, there in the bucket was a beautiful ear of corn… just 2 worms and it was still half covered with kernels! Grabbing it up, I flicked off the worms and devoured the kernels. Far from satisfied, but realizing that taking more would earn me a beating, I dumped the buckets into the trough to let the hogs eat. After I scrubbed the buckets and returned them to their place, I dropped to the ground to watch the pigs eat.
How did I end up in this condition? I hadn’t always lived this way. Pain shot through my stomach as I remembered all the good things I’d had at home growing up. Even the hired help ate better in those days than I was eating now! I sat in a hunger-induced stupor, dreaming of pies, cakes, roasting meat, and bread dripping with butter, cold milk to drink, fresh tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, roasted corn… I shook my head desperately trying to clear away the thoughts, and then absently drew a shaky hand across my mouth to wipe away the drool that the thoughts of food had caused. Flies buzzed around my head, but waving them away was too much effort – they’d just be back again. I smelled like a pigpen!
And then, the thought came! I could go home! Maybe if I went and confessed how wrong I had been, they would let me stay and work there. At least I would have food to eat… and a clean place to sleep… and clean clothes… I got to my feet, hope and adrenaline surging through me to give me strength to put my plan into action.
It took me several days, but I finally was close to home. I had been rehearsing my speech as I walked. As I got to the turn off in the road that led to my father’s house, someone came running to meet me. That’s DAD! Stunned, I stood there as he came and hugged me… smelly, grimy and filthy as I was… he hugged me! I started to tell him how sorry I was and that I just wanted a job, but, he called to people and told them to take me and give me new clothes, and to let me take a bath and to feed me, and that he was going to throw a celebration dinner because I was home! He said it was because to them I had been dead, and now I was alive again! It was incredible and overwhelming, but oh so wonderful!
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