And We Move On

Once upon a time, there lived a wealthy, kind and innocent merchant, in a far cornered little village called Saint-Veran in France. His name was Arthur Warren but everyone in the village called him Sir Arthur. He was very well known for his generosity and hospitality. Travelers from far and near would visit the village seeking shelter and were always guided to kind Sir Arthur’s house as he was the best host and would never close the doors and turn any traveler away. The tales of this benevolent trader reached the ears of a well-known Saint. He wished to witness this marvel himself and set out to visit Sir Arthur. On reaching the village he asked about the merchant and was welcomed into his house graciously by Sir Arthur himself. It was a beautiful fall morning. He offered the Saint a delicious variety of dishes and arranged the best room for him to rest in. The Saint was impressed by the bounteous nature of Sir Arthur.

As he was enjoying his time in the house, he heard a muffled crying. When he confronted the merchant about it, Sir Arthur simply waived it off claiming that it was nothing to be bothered about. But soon the crying intensified and the Saint insisted that he be told who is the person and reason behind this crying. Sir Arthur explained, “It is no one but the widow of my recently deceased son”. The saint was taken aback and as anger boiled inside him, he spat the words, “Your son just passed away! You should be in mourning, with your daughter- in-law! And yet here you are dismissing her grieving state and showering me, a random guest, with hospitality?”. The saint got up and began to walk towards the exit, saying, “You should be ashamed of yourself! The town folk respect you so much but unfortunately they do not know you are nothing but a weaver of lies! A fraud! A cheat!”. Sir Arthur, as calm and composed as ever placed himself between the Saint and the exit, and joined his hand, eyes full of modesty and humbleness, and said, “Good sire, please don’t judge a book by its cover and give me a chance to explain myself. Please have a seat.” Reluctantly, the Saint sat down and began listening to what the merchant had to say.

“My son”, he began, “was a wise fellow. Alas, his health had never supported him. Even as a kid, he was weak and would often ill and be sick for days on end. When my daughter -in-law entered his life, we began to have hopes as the doctors said that having a reason to live would help my son get better. But, even after marriage, his health continued to deteriorate. We did everything in our power, appointed the best of doctors for his treatments, and the best therapists and physicians in the world to look after him. Nothing seemed to work. One day, a week before his demise, my son requested his wife’s and my presence in his room. We talked and talked and talked about anything and everything, it was a great day. Before the discussion ended my son asked both of us to stop trying to resurrect his dying body and health. He confided that he was tired of the treatments and that he felt his time had come. He requested us to not mope around grieving about the loss after his death and that we should move on with our lives and try to find happiness.

That day, though I had tears in my eyes, I was so incredibly proud and felt blessed to have a son like him.” After a few beats Sir Arthur continued, “After his demise, I too was in mourning, but I would often try to contemplate the meaning of his final words to us from that day.

Soon I came to the conclusion that nothing lasts forever, nothing is permanent”, the Saint nodded in agreement and listening intently asked, “What did you do then with this realization?”. Sir Arthur replied, “I did what my son had asked of me. I moved on, holding all his memories close to me, I moved on with life. You see, he wanted us to remember him and cherish him always. And that is what I intend to do; to honor his memory and cherish the time I has with him”.

The Saint, rubbed his chin, a frown of understanding on his face. Deep in thought, he said, “I understand now, but that still doesn’t explain why your daughter-in-law is still grieving. Surely, you must have shared this enlightening thought with her?”. With a deep sigh and a smile on his face he said “Well you know what they say, ‘love hurts’, but I believe she will come around, she will take her time, yes, and I shall respect that, but I believe that time heals all wounds and so she too will come to terms with this loss and move on like her husband wished her to”.

Now that everything made sense, the Saint apologized for his harsh words, thanked the merchant for his kindness, and departed with a new sense of learning, that there were still kind souls and pure hearts like Sir Arthur and his family, filled with love, even in such cruel and unjust times. This would be a story worth passing on to the generations to come.

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