An Orphan


G.H. Galarneau

It happened one night almost one hundred years ago. The house was quiet, everyone had gone to bed and all was silent. A twelve-year-old boy rose from his bed, dressed, and quietly opened the back door, and ran from the house. He had no idea where he was going, but he knew he had to go away.

He ran and ran and it began to rain. He was tired, cold, and wet. In fear and desperation, he raised his wet face to the dark sky and cried out, "God please help me". At that moment a bolt of lightening lit up the sky and illuminated an outdoor privy a short distance off the road. He ran to the privy and found it dry and warm. He waited there until morning when the door opened and a farmer walked inside. He immediately saw the wet and frightened boy and called out, "what in the hell are you doing in here"? With tears in his eyes, the boy replied that he was an orphan. He had been sent to live on a farm where he was to work in exchange for his room and board.

The man who owned this farm was both cruel and abusive. The boy was hit and kicked until he could take it no longer and knew he had to run far away.

The farmer saw the bruises on the frightened boy and could see that he was telling the truth. He had also heard rumors about this man and it was known that he was abusive both to his family and his animals.

The farmer told the boy not to worry and invited him in for breakfast. After the meal, the farmer hitched up his buggy. He asked the boy to come along and he would make certain that he would never return to that cruel place.

The two rode to the sheriff's office and the boy told his story again to the sheriff. After hearing the story, the sheriff uttered the same words, "you will never return to that cruel place". He then told the boy that it would take a few days to make the arrangements and in the meantime he would live with him and his family.

After the arrangements were made, the orphan boy was placed on a farm with a good family. He lived there until he was sixteen and then released to seek his fortune.

This orphan boy did succeed, as I well know, because he became my father. I grew up hearing this story many times. He always concluded the story with the words, "all life is a mystery". I might add that life is not only a mystery but we also must live our lives in that mystery.