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!

The Two Tims
by [?]

As the moon sent a white beam through the little square window of old Uncle Tim’s cabin, it formed a long panel of light upon its smoke-stained wall, bringing into clear view an old banjo hanging upon a rusty nail. Nothing else in the small room was clearly visible. Although it was Christmas eve, there was no fire upon the broad hearth, and from the open door came the odor of honeysuckles and of violets. Winter is often in Louisiana only a name given by courtesy to the months coming between autumn and spring, out of respect to the calendar; and so it was this year.

Sitting in the open doorway, his outline lost in the deep shadows of the vine, was old Uncle Tim, while, upon the floor at his side lay little Tim, his grandson. The boy lay so still that in the dim half-light he seemed a part of the floor furnishings, which were, in fact, an old cot, two crippled stools, a saddle, and odds and ends of broken harness, and bits of rope.

Neither the old man nor the boy had spoken for a long time, and while they gazed intently at the old banjo hanging in the panel of light, the thoughts of both were tinged with sadness. The grandfather was nearly seventy years old, and little Tim was but ten; but they were great chums. The little boy’s father had died while he was too young to remember, leaving little Tim to a step-mother, who brought him to his grandfather’s home, where he had been ever since, and the attachment quickly formed between the two had grown and strengthened with the years.

Old Uncle Tim was very poor, and his little cabin was small and shabby; and yet neither hunger nor cold had ever come in an unfriendly way to visit it. The tall plantation smoke-house threw a friendly shadow over the tiny hut every evening just before the sun went down–a shadow that seemed a promise at close of each day that the poor home should not be forgotten. Nor was it. Some days the old man was able to limp into the field and cut a load of cabbages for the hands, or to prepare seed potatoes for planting, so that, as he expressed it, “each piece ‘ll have one eye ter grow wid an’ another ter look on an’ see dat everything goes right.”

And then Uncle Tim was brimful of a good many valuable things with which he was very generous– advice, for instance.

He could advise with wisdom upon any number of subjects, such as just at what time of the moon to make soap so that it would “set” well, how to find a missing shoat, or the right spot to dig for water.

These were all valuable services; yet cabbages were not always ready to be cut, potato-planting was not always in season. Often for weeks not a hog would stray off. Only once in a decade a new well was wanted; and as to soap-making, it could occur only once during each moon at most.

It is true that between times Uncle Tim gave copious warnings not to make soap, which was quite a saving of effort and good material.

But whether he was cutting seed potatoes, or advising, or only playing on his banjo, as he did incessantly between times, his rations came to the little cabin with clock-like regularity. They came just as regularly as old Tim had worked when he was young, as regularly as little Tim would when he should grow up, as it is a pity daily rations cannot always come to such feeble ones as, whether in their first or second childhood, are able to render only the service of willingness.

And so we see that the two Tims, as they were often called, had no great anxieties as to their living, although they were very poor.