Mother's Children

Sophia had four older brothers who all lived nearby. Her mother became sick one day, and they could not afford a doctor, so Sophia set out on the road early in the morning to ask for their help.

She came home crying.

She ran straight to her mother’s bed. Now her mother was, even in her illness, very beautiful. She had hair soft as the breeze, skin gold as the sand, and a dress green as summer leaves. In full health, she stood as mighty as a mountain. Sophia knelt and wept by the side of the bed.

“My dear Sophia,” said her mother, “what is wrong?”

Between sobs, Sophia said, “Mother, it’s terrible. None of my brothers would come to help you.”

“That cannot be. What about Francis?”

Francis was Sophia’s youngest brother. Sophia answered, “I asked him and I believe he would if he could. But you should have seen him. He was living in a squalid shack, and could barely afford any food. And he was so sick, I could hardly go near him. He at least sent his best wishes.”

“I see,” said her mother. “What about the twins?”

“Richard and Julius.” Sophia spat their names with contempt. “They were too busy fighting each other to even care. I don’t know why they fought—I almost think they didn’t, either. But no matter how much I insisted, they refused to leave their house until their conflict ended. Do you know what they said? They said it was more important! Imagine!”

Her mother sighed. “And Charles?”

Sophia shuddered. “Oh, Mother, he was the most awful. If anyone could have helped you, it was him. He runs a successful business now. He lives in a splendid house, with a beautiful garden, wonderful art, and kind servants. But when I asked him to help you, he said he couldn’t. He said paying for a doctor would have hurt his profits. His business is more important to him than you are. I was so disgusted I ran right out.” Tears started to pour anew from her eyes. “Mother, what shall we do?”

Her mother gently stroked her on the head. “There now, Sophia. I can see what is wrong. Clearly, my sons and I are suffering from the same illness. We may have different symptoms, but it has affected us all. My dear Sophia, you must not give up.”

Sophia said, “What should I do?”

“Help your brothers, any way you can. Tend Francis. Reconcile Richard and Julius. Remind them and Charles what I have done for him, and what will happen to them without me. Keep trying. You must not give up hope. Now go. Waste no time. Only wisdom can cure our disease.”

Sophia dried her tears, kissed her mother, and ran out the door with a new determination.

Mother's Children

Alex Scott

Joined April 2008

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