Peter, the lazy man – A short story
A man I once knew whose name was Peter; this is the story of his life.
Peter as a young man was a very straightforward, down-to-earth person.
Even though he got on at school okay, school wasn’t really his thing and at that time you only went to primary school.
When sixth class was over, at the end of his primary schooling, Peter diligently went looking for jobs with the local farmers of the area.
In those days, about 80 years ago, farmers had not much mechanisation so there were always jobs available.
These jobs did not give much money but in those days nobody else had money, so it didn’t feel so bad even though Peter hadn’t got the kind of the intellect that suited school. He had a very quiet mind and a fit young body.
So he started work at 12 years of age, very hard work. He worked at all the usual jobs that were part of farm life in those days.
Because of his quiet mind and his fit body soon he was a very good worker and had his choice of jobs around his locality. By the time he was 18 everyone knew that Peter had the better of this physical work. In fact, for example, when they were thinning beet and they were all lined up on the first row Peter would always be the first man to finish his.
And this is how it went on.
In time Peter grew up, got married and had children and his life was very regular. For all of his life he worked with local farmers.
When he reached the age of 55, he seemed to lose interest in farm work and when the farmer asked him to go to work he would turn up late and show less interest in his work during the day.
Before long the word got out – Peter’s lazy.
So the farmers stopped coming for him and you would hear them saying “it’s no use going for Peter any more. He’s just not interested in working, he’s gone lazy”
For the next five years or so Peter just tipped around his own plot of land at his own pace. He kept bees and grew vegetables and would lead a peaceful life.
His son, Peter Junior, who had left home a few years before had noticed this going on and heard the comments from the people who once totally respected his dad. Peter Junior felt very bad over this situation.
One day he was in the doctor’s surgery and quite by accident just enquired from the doctor how his dad was.
“Well” the doctor said “did your father not tell you”. “No, tell me what” said Peter Junior.
“Well, it’s like this – your father’s heart is so bad that he will go like the snuffing out of a candle”
The penny dropped about Lazy Peter.
Peter Junior now knew what had happened, his father being such a proud man didn’t even tell his own family of his heart condition and people were only too ready to think the worst of him.
A few months later the doctor’s prediction came to pass and Peter Senior died sitting at his own table drinking a cup of tea. He left with hardly a sigh.
After the funeral Peter Junior was talking to the doctor and the doctor said to him that his father, because he was so strong of mind, had literally burst his heart open through all the hard work throughout his life.
There is a message in this story for all of us not to jump to conclusions about people we know very well.
Most times we think something bad about somebody and we are wrong in our deductions.
It is better to say nothing rather than do an injustice to someone as honest as Peter.
Surely Peter deserved better?
Peter, the Lazy Man?