THE STRANGER

– Aldon D’Souza  9B

It was a very cold wintry evening. The windows rattled with the strong wind outside. Like a bolt from the blue, the sound of a car stopping by startled  them.  Grandpa Tom , as he was known by the neighbour’sopened the door and found a tall, dark and rugged stranger at the doorstep. He was holding his jacket tightly. He took off his hat and asked whether he could enter in. Tom, always a good host allowed him in. Young Joey, just in grade 5, was a little annoyed at her grand-father Tom for letting in the stranger. Her mother Rita, a thin pale-faced woman, weary of the constant house-hold chores was anxious to see the visitor. The little baby in her arms cried consistently.

The stranger introduced himself as a friend of Jayden, the only son ofTom, who was away in the army.  Jayden was   the sole bread-winner of the family and he was killed in action. The messages he used to send were all over. The family was neck-deep in debts and down in the dumps. The stranger  took out an envelope from his jacket and gave it to his daughter-in-law Rita , who opened it with nervous fingers. Imagine their shock and surprise when they saw a cheque  of a staggering amount, which would suffice for three generations , by their living standards. The stranger handed over his card and address to them and walked off hurriedly.  The fortune in their hands made them fall on their knees and thank the good Lord for it.

After a week or so,  the lieutenant came to their house and condoled them on the loss of Jayden and told them that they were in search of a tall , dark  enemy soldier , a description which  fitted the stranger perfectly, as he was the cause of Jayden’s death. They  informedthat if the stranger was caught he would be tortured to death. The family were numb with shock and silent till the lieutenant left.  They quickly burned and destroyed the visiting card of the stranger without even reading it, said a silent prayer for him and they  never  forgot him ever.

Moral : To err  is human , to forgive divine.