Home Arts Prose Pause: His Father’s Son

Prose Pause: His Father’s Son

by Matthew Civico April 14, 2015
Prose Pause: His Father’s Son

A boy picks his way across the rocky shallows of a lazy stream. Tall trees, fir and pine, cast rippling shadows over the multitude of pebbles, silent beneath the shallow course. The sun is hot and the stream is cool; it is his most favourite place.

He loves it because it is not his home.

The wood has its bounds but does not confine. Here the boy runs freely and dreams upward and outward, not inward.

He is his father’s son.

“Today the trees whisper, but not to me.”

Sighs and whispers settle on the shallows as the easy course runs red.


Quiet vespers for distant tree-herds long gone; they become an effortless song, a stream to bathe in.

He is his father’s son.

Sudden crunches, a crack and a splash break in, discordant notes. He knows his sin before he’s on his feet.

Heedless in his lostness he faces it, a lone wolf, or starving dog, it matters not to a boy; it is a beast.

Dreams of knighthood cannot draw a sword that isn’t there, neither do they turn tooth or claw. Instead he cries out, small hands clutching the day’s prize—the largest pine cone of his short years.

Jaws agape, it pads forward. Dirty paws soil the crystalline flow.

With fear in his heart, he stands. The trees have fallen silent in answer to his cry.

To turn or run would be death, he was taught this. His feet would now run in spite of wisdom, but for the deep roots of fear deepening, digging down below the smooth pebbles.

The beast coils, a snake on four legs cloaked in mangey skin—a horror.

Behind eyes shut in faith, the boy again hears the lazy coursing and guarded whispers of the stream and trees.

Straining to listen, he peeks in hope, anchored by deeper roots—promises.

Before the boy stands the King.

“I was not far off when I heard your cry.”

The boy runs into open arms, wet, muddy, and restored.

He is Elessar’s son.

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