In his home... in his room and in the dark, an aged man stood thoughtfully at the window. He gazed with a long, despairing look, upon the fixed, eternal, and glorious heaven, and down upon the silent, still, and snow-white earth; whereon was none so joyless, so sleepless as he. For he had dawned on him that it will surely come pass that his blessing will to bless him and that his curse will come to hunt him down.
He looked desperately at his past life that he may find comfort from his past deeds; but none were blessed by him and none could sigh and say that he is the best thing that has ever happened to them. All that he could find in his long and rich life was nothing but save errors, crimes, and sickness--a wasted body, a desolate soul, a breast filled with poison, and an old age heavy with repentance and sorrow.
deeds, and full of the joy of angels; whilst, to the left, the road descends to the molehills of vice, toward a dark cavern, full of poisonous droppings, stinging serpents, and dank and steaming mists.
The serpents clung around his breast, and the drops of poison lay upon his tongue, and he knew not where he was.
But his father and his youth were far away. The time had finally crept in that he may be punished by his sins. His heart beat rapidly and his face turned pale. He knew very well that he had come to his end of the road. He had lived long enough that he would have no regret if he had to die at that very instance. But the regrets he had were not for the number of years he spent but for the years he wasted: for he now understands that what matters in life is the number of people you made sad or happy.
He was moved, but to a gentler mood. He gazed around, unto the horizon, and looked forth upon the wide earth; and he thought of the friends of his youth, who, happier and better than he, were now upon the earth, fathers of happy children, and blessed each in his condition.
"'Alas! and I, too, like ye, might now be sleeping peacefully and tearless through this night, had I willed so! I too might have been happy, ye dear parents, had I lived for the benefit of others!'
He could take it no more; he hid his eyes, a flood of hot tears streamed forth and met at his jaw. And he sighed, now more gently, and despairing, 'Return but again, O youth, come once again! He wept bitterly that his youth may return but it was too late and youth never returned; he was given no second chance and he died unfulfilled.