From Darkness to Light (part 3)

He woke up when the sun was low over the hills. He started when he saw that he was inside a neat little home. But when the just-awakened dullness passed, he remembered and got up, loathe to leave the inviting place. He was advancing toward the open door when the girl spoke in a sweet tone: “Sir, would you like provisions for your journey?”

“I do not know what journey I am leading,”

He answered in that despairing tone he had used before,” but any nourishment would be gratefully accepted.”

She turned back to the counter without a word, and deftly tied up a slice of cheese, a loaf of bread, and a bit to meat.

But as she turned toward him, her face was illuminated with joy, and quickly but firmly pressing the package into the bewildered man’s hands, she flew through the door behind him, and shrieked joyously, “Father! Father!!”

He turned around the instant the girl’s father noticed him.  Still enveloped in his daughter’s embrace, he could but stare. A look of petrified surprise passed over his face, and one word passed through his distended lips—“Boy!”

It was Boy’s turn to be surprised. Then a look of bitter recognition settled on his face, and spitting out the name, “Alexander” he threw the generous package onto the planked floor and brushed past the wide-eyed father and daughter with a thunder cloud on his forehead.

Into the woods the furious man paced. Furious at Alexander, furious at his life, furious at himself. Against the petite, pure woman he felt no fury—it was not her fault that she was the daughter of the brother of his deceased enemy.   She could not help it, poor thing.

Alexander had done no wrong—it was his brother that threw him maliciously into that inhumane hole to disintegrate. Not Alexander.

But his bitter heart, at the recollection of the unspeakable things he suffered in that dark hole from the dead baron, felt a burning anger toward all members of that family.

But his daughter was the one to pity him, to help him, to strengthen him. Must he let this cruel hatred rule over his life? Could he not forsake his bitterness and start anew? Should he forgive? Could he? Would he?

“I could not and would not!!!” he exclaimed wrathfully to himself. “To forget the tortured decade spent in that gutter, forsaken and forgotten? To forgive the man, —and his family—who kicked me there? Impossible!! Impossible!!”