A Tale of Two Sons








Ezra Azra

.


 
Copyright 2023 by Ezra Azra



.Photo by Stev at Pexels.
Photo by Stev at Pexels.

 
"A certain man had two sons. And the one took his journey into a far country.-----Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord; and Satan came also among them.-----Jesus said unto them, I am Christ, and as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.---- And I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."

There was a certain farmer who had two adult sons. They were his only children by his late wife, named Iscari. The sons were identical twins, named Nathan and Christopher.

There came a time when there was a crisis, nationally and in the farmer's family. The farmer waited for an opportunity to talk to Nathan, alone somewhere on their thousand-acre family farm.

That's the last load, Nathan?

Yes, Dad.

Good. Let's walk to the river. I have something to talk to you about.

Okay.

They walked.

Nathan, this nation is headed for war.

Some people are saying that, Dad.

Do you believe it?

Dad, I don't care. This farm of ours is so far away from any of this country's borders, that neighboring enemy will never reach us. Our country is over ten times their size. In the meantime, a war will make this farm incredibly rich, Dad.

Nathan, you and Christopher are young enough to be conscripted into the army. When the war comes, you and Christopher will not be allowed to remain on this farm to make this farm incredibly rich. The both of you will be expected to go fight and, if necessary, to die for this nation.

They walked a few steps in silence.

That did not occur to me, Dad. Sorry. I suppose we will just have to leave it up to luck.

Not necessarily. One of you should leave the country now. This farm has supply contracts with many countries. One of you could remain in a foreign country on farm business for years.

Dad, you really think our war-hungry king will not see that as just an excuse to not serve in a time of war?

Nathan, the king has made it clear the war will not last more than a week. He is expecting to win and to colonize that country, within days. He says at every opportunity, our troops will remain there forever. In his jingoistic frenzy I seriously doubt he will notice one of you is absent, especially if we lower prices to his armed forces and the whole nation during his one-week war.

If that's the case, Dad, why the urgency for one of us to leave the country?

Because of your brother.

They reached the river. They sat on a bench under a tree, not far from the river's edge.

Because of Christopher, Dad?

Yes. Have you not noticed how much time he is not around?

Dad, he has forever made it clear he is not destined to be a farmer. And he has also made it clear that he will not be asking for his share of inheritance when he eventually leaves, permanently.

Nathan, inheritance is a legal right. No matter how much he means to never require his inheritance, if he joins up with others who insist he demand his legal rights, things could get messy, and expensive.

There was a long pause, at the end of which Nathan looked at his Dad, enquiringly, and spoke softly and slowly.

Christopher has to leave the country, Dad?

There was another long pause before Dad replied, on the verge of tears.

Yes, son; and not just to avoid volunteering to go to war.

Volunteering, Dad?

Yes. Have you been following your brother's activities in the big Cities?

No, Dad.

It is not good, Nathan. My business associates are keeping me informed. When Christopher left here a year ago, his declared intention was to enroll in a University to study Theology.

Yes. I know that.

Well, Nathan, things have not gone as planned at that University. First, have you heard of Barabbas?

Who hasn't, Dad. He is on the news every day.

On the run. Wanted for just about every crime, except murder. He was the founder of the clique Christopher got sucked into.

They stared at each other in dismay. Dad continued, sadly.

So far, according to my sources, there is no official connection between Barabbas and the group he founded. So far. But the situation is bad enough without the Barabbas connection. At that University, Christopher has joined a pro-war group. And, even worse, he has become addicted to gambling. He is accumulating debt, using our farm as guarantor.

Dad, Christopher leaving the country is not going to exempt the farm from paying his gambling debts.

I am aware of that, Nathan. That's why I am thinking of a plan I want to discuss with you. Remember the town of Kerioth?

Yes. Of course. Where Mom is buried.

Yes, where you and Christopher spent some of your happiest childhood years. How about we find one of your cousins from there to join Christopher? That cousin could become your brother's confidant and exclusive lender. We will pay him well.

That's a brilliant plan, Dad. He could work on Christopher for both of them to leave the country on farm business.

Good thinking, Nathan. I did not think that far ahead.

Do you have a particular cousin in mind, Dad?

No. I am hoping you will suggest someone you and Christopher were especially fond of. The only one I remember is Obed, the son of Mom's sister, Ruth.

Auntie Ruth, of the tea leaves?

You remember that about her?

I will never forget Auntie Ruth, Dad. You and Mom said she gave Christopher and me those two copper tie pins when we were born. She called us sons of the lightning.

I forgot about that. You still have those pins?

Every time I have to wear a tie.

I remember, now. Tie pins to newborn babies. Everyone was tickled by that. It was things like that that got her the name Quirky Ruthie.

Dad and son enjoyed a laugh at the memory.

Don't ask Obed, Dad. He will not take us up on the offer because he is already a Pastor in one of the Church groups in Kerioth. He is likely to take a hard line against my brother's gambling addiction. And, lately, he is in the News a lot, speaking up against war with any of our neighboring nations. On the war that's coming, Obed and Christopher do not see eye-to-eye.

Obed became a Pastor?

Not a surprise to us who were children with him, Dad. When the rest of us were playing, cousin Obed preferred to practise playing his guitar and singing hymns. Not entirely his fault, Dad.

Meaning?

Auntie Ruth named him after Obed in the Bible. She reminded him every day. And, so, he felt obliged to become his Biblical namesake, Obed, husband of Ruth, ancestor of Jesus.

All right. Scratch Obed from my list of one. Are you in touch with any other cousin we could approach? Isn't there one you and Christopher saved from drowning in that Jordan river?

Lazarus. He is not available. He left the country a long time ago, Dad. Went to live with his Dad overseas; Abraham.

Abraham the Iraqi?

Uh-huh.

The one who owes us a lot of money?

The very same. Dad, I know just the cousin we can approach. The only one who taught Christopher and me gambling card games; and, especially, how to cheat without being caught.

Nathan, isn't that scraping the bottom of the barrel? We want to help Christopher; not encourage his bad talents.

Dad, he and Christopher were best buddies. Christopher will take to him like a duck to water.

I am glad to hear that. All, right. Who is he?

The only child of auntie Maria, Mom's other sister.

I do not recall. Maria visited seldomly.

Dad? Come on! You forgot the only cousin you complained to Mom about that he was teaching Christopher and me how to successfully cheat at cards?

Dad's eyes opened wide. Instantly, his voice went hoarse.

Judas!


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