Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

A Story That Never Ends
by [?]

Tommy was very angry. He rushed up-stairs and into his mother’s room, utterly forgetting his knock or “Am I welcome, mother?”

“Bang!” echoed the door behind him with a noise that resounded over the whole house. Why he was angry was plain enough. His eye was black, nose bleeding, coat torn, collar hanging. His mother took it off as he bent over the wash-bowl.

“Oh, Tommy,” she said, “you’ve been fighting again.”

“Well, mother,” he exclaimed, “what do you expect me to do? That Bob Sykes threw rocks at me again and called me names. He said I was – “

“Hush,” said his mother, “you only grow more angry as you speak. Is it hard for you now to remember the rule, ‘The good things about others, the naughty things about yourself”?”

“Good! There is nothing good about him. I hate him. I wish he was dead, I do. I wish I could kill him.”

Sternly his mother took him by the arm and led him before the mirror. One look at the face he saw there silenced him.

“To all intents and purposes you have killed him. ‘Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.’ You cannot but remember who said it, Tommy. It is late in the afternoon. The sun is going down. To-morrow is His birthday. Hadn’t you better forgive Bob?”

“The sun may go down and the sun may come up for all I care,” he answered, “I’ll never forgive him.”

Without further word his mother bathed his heated face and led him to her bed. “Lie down and rest,” she said, “you are over excited. Quiet will help you.”

He lay and looked at her as she sat quietly and gravely at her work under the Picture. Ever since he could remember, her chair at this hour of the day had been in that corner, and low over it had always hung, just as it hung now, that Picture so often explained to him, “The Walk to Emmaus.” How calm and quiet his mother was; and the room, how still and cool after that crowded street! Shutting his aching eyes he could see it again now; the swearing mob of boys and men shoving him on, their brutal faces and gestures, the quarrel, the blows – those he had given and taken – he felt them again, and the burning choke of the final grip and wrestle.

Oh, how his head throbbed and ached! It seemed as if the blood would burst through.

He opened his eyes again. The room was growing darker. He almost forgot his pain for a few moments, noticing how the sunlight was straightened to a narrow lane which reached from the extreme southern end of the window to the floor in front of his mother’s chair. He watched the last rays as they slowly left the floor and stole up her dress to her lap and her breast, leaving all behind and below in shadow. Now they had reached her face. It was bent over her work. Well he knew that was some Christmas gift, may be for him, – some Christmas gift, and to-morrow was Christmas! He looked again to see if he could discover what she was making, but the light had left her now, and had risen to the Picture.

Queer picture that it was! What funny clothes those men wore! Those long gabardines, mother had called them, reaching almost to the ground; shoes that showed the toes, and hoods for hats. One of them had none. How closely they looked at him!. They didn’t even see which way they were going, and what a long way it was, stretching out there, dusty and hot.

The room was quite dark now save for the light on the narrow road there. What was yonder little village in the distance? What kind of a place was Emmaus? His mother had told him about it; only one street, a long and narrow one; and very few trees; and one or two trading shops only; and the houses low and flat-roofed, with no glass in them; and the sun shining down hot and straight between them, – and (oh, how his head ached!) he was out there looking for Bob Sykes. Maybe that was he lying on this rude bench with the low cedar-bush over it. If it were, he would settle matters with him quick. He would show him – but it wasn’t Bob, it was only a sheep-dog asleep. So Tommy turned away and walked slowly along the middle of the street. His face burned with the heat of the sun on his bruises. He was very thirsty. Climbing a little hill over which the road lay, he saw on the other side of it another boy coming toward him. He was rather a peculiar looking boy, with a face thoughtful but pleasant. He was carrying a heavy sheepskin bag over his shoulder. Tommy determined to ask him if he knew where there was some water.