A man was sitting on a bench,
Reading his evening news.
He looked up and saw an old man
Who offered him one of his chews.
“Well, my boy,” said the old man,
“I’m getting old and gray.
It’s time for me to go away
But first I have somethin’ to say.
“When I was young I often rebelled,
And disobeyed almost every law.
My da’ had died and left all debts
And I deserted my ma.
“After that whatever I done
I did without permission.
Whatever I wanted I could get
But to me there was somethin’ missin’.
“When I a-married I had a son,
A fine boy I thought was he.
But when I tried to force my will
He acted just like me.
“He left me and I felt real bad
Just like my ma had felt.
At least he left me with no debts
I had my money belt.
“After some years of bitter regret
My boy came back to me.
He asked for forgiveness and I said,
‘My son – no – please forgive me.
“I realize how my ma had felt
When we was dirt poor.
I found her grave and pa’s too
Out on the lonely moor.
“I stood by the graves lookin’ down
And asked them to forgive me.
I know in my heart they did forgive
But my guilt remains in me.
“So I’m telling you this, young man,
So that you this deed not do
Stay with your folks and take care of them
And your children will take care of you.”
The old man left and when he was gone
The young man too went home.
When he thought of the story the old man told
Vowed never to leave his parents alone.