All night he struggled. And as the morning sun rose over the misty woods, a new life has begun. He could—he would—by God’s help forgive his tormentor. He could put the past behind him and release Alexander from hatred—and perhaps win the girl that has innocently and unknowingly captured his heart.
Retracing his steps determinedly, he reached the small clearing again. As soon as he stepped into the bright sunlight, Alexander, who was on the porch searching for him, rushed to him with out-stretched arms.
“Boy! What have I done against you? Tell me, and I will beg your forgiveness! What have I done wrong?”
“You have done nothing wrong!” cried Boy. “It was my hatred against your brother—the man that—“
“What had he done to you? I thought he had… but come. You must be famished. I will get Elizabeth to prepare something for you.”
“Elizabeth.” Boy whispered to himself in such tone that made his companion look at him keenly. So her name is Elizabeth.”
“Yes, and what a blessing she is!! Not yet 20 years old, but she managed everything here while I was away at war. But now I am ‘home, no more to roam”
“So I am not too old for her. Twenty four years old now, I am, and I look fifteen years older.”
Arm in arm, like old friends, the two men walked back into the house. Elizabeth’s eyes widened in surprise at the peaceful countenance on the face of the desperate visitor of yesterday. But, as the wise woman she was, she prepared a meal wordlessly at a sign from her father.
Boy told them the pitiful story briefly, dwelling less on his prolonged imprisonment than on his painful wanderings in the forest. He told them what little he knew of his past. Except of the ring around his neck.
They invited him to lodge with them: the offer which he gladly accepted.
Thus two years passed happily, the first years of his life that he could remember being happy at all. The first time that he had a friend that he could speak to as the older brother he’d never had. And the first time that he felt love stirring in his awakened heart. Never had she been let to know and understand by his actions and glances that he loved her. No, Boy was diligently keeping his deep, agonizing feelings to himself. Even keen-eyed Elizabeth was unaware that she was kept in the treasure chest of his heart.