Old Jim sat gazing intently into the fire. He was seeing not the dying embers, but the kind, gentle face of his wife, Ethel. His mind flew back to the day when he had brought her there as his wife. He remembered how she had laughed at their misfortunes, and had worked tirelessly and courageously through the days of drought. "Ah, they were happy days, even if a little hard", he muttered to himself, absentmindely poking the fire.
Jim's face lit up as the thought of the little child came to him. But the light soon died away as he remembered his wife's illness soon after the child was born. There had been a polio epidemic, and, as luck would have it, poor Ethel had been a victim. She had suffered silently night after night, until one day she went for ever.
They had buried her beneath an old tree not far from the farm. Here, old Jim and the child would go every day. What a comfort Tommy had been! Tears were now streaming down old Jim's wrinkled face as he thought of the second grave, a much smaller on, next to Ethel's.
Jim knew that there was now little time left for him, and he had no regrets. 'I'll be joining you soon," he whispered hoarsely, "not long now."
He closed his eyes and leant back.
HELEN OLLIVER, 4th Year