Acts of Kindness
Timothy’s parents died in a car accident when he was ten. Since then he was looked after by his uncle, John, a very stern and bad tempered man. John was in his fifties, single, and never married. He works in a sawmill located on the other side of town. They shared a small hut in the outskirt of the town.
Timothy was responsible for all the housework, cooking, cleaning and everything in between. Could be his boss gave him a hard time or he lost money on gambling. When that happened, he would be deprived of his dinner. He didn’t let Timothy attend school, he said he had no money and he cannot afford it.
It was a miserable life but there was nothing else Timothy can do. He often went up into the hills and wept; after John left home for work. After he done enough weeping, he would look for food in the forest – he learned to know what he can eat and what he can’t eat. He found a book, the only one, in his uncle’s house which is about plants and insects. That was how he to come to know about what he can eat in the forest. He wonders how his uncle got that book, he was never a reader.
When he was fifteen, he decided to leave his uncle. He had grown so much now and he was strong; he was not a child anymore. He didn’t know what he can do, but he knew he can survive. He could always find food in the forest if things don’t work out.
His only way of survival is stealing from other people in town, food, money and other things that he can sell to the crooks. He has built a relationship with those people we would considered criminals. He was happy he had stayed away from his vicious uncle. Even though life is hard and he sleep in the forest, and when it rains he will sleep in an empty barn or anywhere he could find shelter.
One early morning, he sneaked into a big mansion in town through the window. There was no light in the room and he could hardly saw anything. He lighted a match so he can see.
“Hello, how are you?” A voice of a girl sounded in the dark.
Timothy froze for a second, then he turned around to see who is there.
In the dim light of the match, he could see a girl sitting up on her bed. She was looking at him with a smile on her face. It was an unusual response, normally people would scream “Thief!” or they will shout “Who are you?” Then he will get away as quick as possible. In fact, he ran so fast and no one has ever caught him, no yet.
“Ouch!” Timothy screamed. The match burned his fingers. It was pitch dark after the match went out.
He heard the girl laughing.
“I will light a candle,” said the girl. A moment later, they could see each other clearly in the candle-light.
“What’s your name?” asked the girl smiling.
Timothy studied her face for few second. He saw her smile and he thought it was the most beautiful smile he ever saw. Invited by the smile, he answered tensely, “Uh! Timothy”.
“I’m Elizabeth,” said the girl. “You can call me Lisa.” She pointed her finger to a chair, but he didn’t know what she meant.
Not knowing what she want, he looked at her blankly. Her face is quite pale, but he can see she is a beautiful girl, maybe she is around fifteen.
“Bring the chair and sit here. I want to talk to you,” she said to him.
He did as he was told. He moved the chair and sit beside her bed.
“It is good you came. I was so bored and I need to talk to somebody,” said Lisa as she combed her hair with her hands.
“What do you want to talk about?” asked Timothy.
“I will tell you my story, and you will tell me yours.” Said Lisa with a smile.
“You want to be friends?” he asked.
They started talking and Lisa told him all about herself. She told him that she is ill and she cannot go out or go to school like other children. Timothy told her that he was an orphan and he told her about his unkind uncle. They kept talking until the first sunlight came through the window.
Suddenly, Timothy realized he had to go. He was a thief and he needed to get away from other people in the house were awake. He climbed out through the window.
“Come back at eleven o’clock today,” said Lisa. “I have something to show you.”
He did come back to the house and they became real friends. He told her all the funny things he saw in town and also the knowledge he learned from the book about plants. Lisa read him stories that she read in the books.
The servants saw him, they wondered, “where does this dirty, scrappy young man come from.” But Lisa ordered them not to tell anybody and get them to swear to not telling her father. The servants have never seen her so happy before, so they wanted to please her so they didn’t tell the master.
Her father, Mr. Thomas, leave the house and go to work in his own factory at 8:30 every morning. Timothy will come at 9:00 and they would have a day all to themselves. They play cards, read books, tell stories and sometimes Lisa would play the piano for him. The servants bring Lisa her medicine once a while and she coughed sometimes, but it didn’t bother them a bit.
Two weeks had passed, and Mr. Thomas noticed the changes with Lisa. She became more cheerful and her health seems to have improved.
“What happened during the day?” He asked one of the maids.
“Uh! I don’t know if I can tell you……Uh!” said the maid.
“Don’t worry, tell me. I will not be angry whatever it is,” said Mr. Thomas. He wanted to find out why Lisa acts a bit different from before. It was a good change and Lisa is getting better, so there was no alarm, and it wouldn’t be anything bad.
The maid told him about Timothy and everything they did during the day.
“Lisa, why don’t you tell me about the boy?” Mr. Thomas asked his daughter at dinner time. “What is it that you are doing?”
Lisa pondered for a moment and she said, “I want to help him.” She looked at her father in the eyes with determination. “He has been abused by his uncle, he hasn’t got a home, he…….”
“What do you mean?” asked Mr. Thomas. He was puzzled. “Why?”
“Daddy, I want to do one good deed before I die. It is my only wish.” She said quietly and sadly. “You know I am not going to live very long.”
He got up from his chair and he hugged her. He told her quietly, “You will get well soon. I am sure, honey.” There were tears in his eyes. Deep inside he knew her cancer is going to take her life – soon.
They hugged like that for a while.
“OK, I understand,” he said hesitantly. “You can be friends with him.”
From that day onward, Timothy could come through the front door. Mr. Thomas ordered the servants to give him some new clothes and they even have dinner together once a week. Mr. Thomas like Timothy for he saw that he is polite and courteous, even though he had a rough childhood.
Every day, Lisa would teach him how to read and write. Timothy would show Lisa some little insects he caught or some wildflowers he picked in the forest. She had never seen little creatures like that. They had a very happy time together.
They say good time never lasted. For 3 days, Timothy didn’t come. Lisa was very worried, but there was nothing she could do – she can’t go to look for him.
“I know where he is,” said Mr. Thomas as soon as he entered the house. “Lisa!” he shouted.
“You found him?” Asked Lisa excitedly.
“Yes, I know where he is,” answered Mr. Thomas.
“He’s in prison.”
“Why?” Lisa asked nervously.
“It appeared that Timothy was caught by the police. He had stolen some silverwares from a rich family who lives up on the eastern hillside.” Said Mr. Thomas. “One of my workers told me today. It was something he did half a year ago.”
Lisa wanted to cry, “what should we do? Can we get him out?”
“Don’t worry, Elizabeth. I will my best to help him.”
Mr. Thomas tried all he can, but at the end, Timothy got a two-year sentence. Lisa wanted to visit Timothy in prison, but Mr. Thomas think it wasn’t a good idea. He afraid that other people might have something to say. He didn’t want the gossips about her daughter and this young man.
Timothy and Lisa exchange mail every week. Lisa has sent a servant to visit him and gave him a pile of books, she encourage him to keep studying. Timothy made use of the time to study, day and night. When he had questions, he would ask other inmates. To his surprise, there were a few highly educated people.
Two years passed quickly, but just before he was released from prison Lisa passed away. She lost her battle with her cancer. Before her death, she made her father promised to take care of Timothy – Mr. Thomas willingly agreed. No one can say no to their dying child.
Timothy was welcome into the house and Mr. Thomas see him as his own son. Timothy was more than happy to have a father like Mr. Thomas, he called him “Dad”.
Mr. Thomas lost a daughter, but now he has a son. As he had promised his daughter. He sent Timothy to the best school and, later on, he became a doctor. He wanted to research on the cure of cancer – the disease that took Lisa’s life.
He became the best doctor in town and gave free service to the poor. Patients came to see him from far and wide. Timothy married a beautiful young lady in their own town and they have three children.
They lived happily ever after.
—- The end —
The acts of kindness from Lisa was repaid to his father. He would have been a lonely old man after his own daughter passed away. Now he has a son, a daughter-in-law and three beautiful grandchildren.
The acts of kindness also got payback to all the patients of Timothy, who got the love from Lisa indirectly.
We should not only love our own blood relatives, our love should extend to everyone around us.
Do you have a love story to tell me? Leave your comment below.