Not Everything Is As It Seems

This is a tale that was recited to me one night.

An Older Angel and a Young Angel were sitting on a cloud looking down over the earth. The young Angel turned to his mentor and asked, “What is it really like there?” The old Angel looked at his protégé and replied, “Nothing is as it seems.” The youngster stared at the world a few more moments and then asked, “would you take me for a visit sometime?” At that moment the Older Angel stood up, looked kindly at his companion and in the next instance they appeared on a dusty road, covered in worn and tattered clothes, slowly walking along silently.

After walking a few miles and as the evening came upon them, they decided to look for shelter for the night. Not far in the distance they saw a huge house all lit up with an abundance of lights both inside and out. They walked up a long and wide brick driveway with white fences on either side. In the distance they could see large herds of cattle settling down for the night. Many people moved around in the barns, storing equipment and feeding the animals.

They walked up to the massive front door and rang the door bell. Within a few minutes the door opened and a man appeared, seeming irritated to having been bothered. The old Angel spoke to the man, “Excuse me sir but we have been walking a very long distance and we are very tired, thirsty and hungry. Is it possible that you might provide us a place to spend the night and perhaps also give us something to eat and drink?”

The man frowned at them and said, “I have no use for beggars, go on down the road, get off of my property.” The old Angel smiled patiently and spoke again, “I am sorry sir to have bothered you, but please if you may, would you provide us a place to spend the night and perhaps share something with us so we might gain the strength to leave your property tomorrow?” With that the man told them to follow him and he walked around the house to a door that led to the basement of the house. Once inside he pointed to some horse blankets stacked in the corner and told them they could make a bed with them and sleep on the floor. The man then went up the stairs to the main house returning minutes later with a pan of steak bones left over from his dinner. He then pointed to a faucet and told them they could drink water from that. Before he left he said, “spend the night here, eat from these bones and depart at first light. I do not wish to see you come the morning.” The man then left.

The Angels made up their beds from the horse blankets and laid down for the night. A few hours later the young Angel awoke to see the old Angel mending a crack in the wall of the basement. He thought it strange that his old companion would work so hard for someone who treated them so unkindly.

True to their word the Angels were up before sunrise, folded the horse blanket and put them back where they had taken them. With that completed the Angels left the home and proceeded down the dusty road. As they walked the old Angel pointed out the many sights along the way. There were many critters that crawled on the earth, birds the flew, trees, grass and animals. The wind blew gently in their faces as they walked. All-in-all it was a very pleasant experience but once again the evening came upon them and they needed to find shelter.

Looking in the distance the Angels saw a small old house. Next to the house was a small barn that was as worn and tattered as their clothes. A single cow stood in the pasture. In the barn yard there was a few pieces of farm equipment, all having seen much better days. They approached the house and knocked on the door. An elderly man opened the door, greeting them with a big smile, “Hello,” he said, “It looks like you have had a long walk. You look very tired and I bet you are very hungry and thirsty. Please come in and sit down at the table.”

The two Angels entered into the house and nodded to the old farmer’s wife who was standing next to the kitchen stove. “Sit down.” she said, “I have just finished making some stew, please have some.”  With that she filled two plates with the stew in the cook pot and sat it in front of her guest. As the two Angels ate the stew presented to them the elderly lady poured two glasses of butter milk and gave it to them.  She then went into the her bedroom and after awhile she came out.

The Angels finished their meal and the elderly man asked them to sit with him a moment in front of the fire place. The farmer’s wife then told them that they should sleep in the bedroom tonight. At first the old Angel protested but she explained that her and her husband were used to sitting up next to the fire place and she asked them to please feel comfortable and sleep in the bed.

The two Angels retired for the night. When the young Angel awoke early in the morning he saw his mentor looking out the window into the barnyard. He walked up to his companion and looked out the window where in the distance he could see the milk cow dead on the ground. Next to the cow stood the farmer staring sadly at the fallen cow. The farmer’s wife was kneeling beside the cow, crying.

“What has happened here,” the young Angel asked. “How could you let this happen?” he once again asked of his mentor. The old Angel turned to the young Angel and said, “things are no always as they seem.” The young Angel argued, “how can this be, yesterday we spent the night at a rich man’s house. That man treated us miserably yet in the middle of the night you repaired the crack in his basement wall. Now, this couple has treated us kindly. This couple fed us their own supper and gave us their bed for us to sleep. Why did you let the cow die?  The old Angel replied, “Things are not always as it seems, yesterday when we were sleeping in the basement of the rich man’s house I awoke and saw gold gleaming through a crack in the basement wall. I got up and patched the wall so the man would not see it. Then this morning, the Angel of Death came to take the farmer’s wife and I told him if he must take something then take the cow instead.”

I often think about this tale. It is a simple story. There are good in all things, you only need to look for it.

God loves you,

Love always

Nathaniel

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