第22屆英文散文組佳 作:A Happy Story /應英三乙莊偉誠

作者:莊偉誠 【A Happy Story】 Gallagher and Clare live in countryside and they are well-known for their conjugal love. Gallagher, an industrious young man, always remember to bring a gift for Clare’s birthday since the year they married and never fails to celebrate the event with Clare. Clare, on the other hand, is a lovely young lady who knows how to run one’s home well, even when she is expecting a baby soon. As December raining season arrives this year, so as Clare’s birthday. As always, Gallagher returns home with his cart and the day’s earning, just on time for the delicious dinner made by Clare. However, Gallagher’s blushing face and hesitant movement are showing something unusual about today. Facing wife’s concern, Gallagher tells his story about his way home. The countryside road is muddy due to the days of raining, which makes it twice as hard to travel during the winter season. As Gallagher ride across an intersection, he finds an old lady who falls and traps in a muddy puddle. He helps the old lady immediately and sends her home with his cart. To comfort the old lady, Gallagher gives her a bundle of narcissus, which was the gift for Clare, and goes home empty handed. After hearing Gallagher’s story, Clare says to her beloved husband: “There is no need to feel sorry,” Clare smiles. “You have an elderly mother yourself, so it is nature for you to associate the old lady with your own mother. It is your kindness makes me fall in love with you.” To reward Gallagher’s good deed, Clare gives Gallagher a kiss and leads him to their dinning table for their wonderful meal. On the next day, as always, Gallagher returns home with his cart and the day’s earning, just on time for the delicious dinner made by Clare. However, Gallagher’s blushing face and hesitant movement are showing something unusual about today. Facing wife’s concern, Gallagher tells his story about his way home. Gallagher visit the bakery after work and tries to buy a cake to make up for yesterday’s gift. Soon, Gallagher get the cake he wanted, which is a small cake with a lot of icing and dressed with sweet berries and pickled fruits. As he is loading his cart, he sees a young girl crying in an alley. The girl has just spilled her bucket of milk, which she was going to trade for a cake in the bakery. In the end, Gallagher give Clare’s cake to the girl and goes home empty handed. After hearing Gallagher’s story, Clare says to her beloved husband: “There is no need to feel sorry,” Clare smiles. “You are going to be a father yourself, so it is nature for you to treat the girl with compassion. It is your kindness makes me fall in love with you.” To reward Gallagher’s good deed, Clare gives Gallagher a kiss and leads him to their dinning table for their wonderful meal. On the next day, as always, Gallagher returns home with his cart and the day’s earning, just on time for the delicious dinner made by Clare. However, Gallagher’s blushing face and hesitant movement are showing something unusual about today. Facing wife’s concern, Gallagher tells his story about his way home. Gallagher still want to make up for the Clare’s birthday gift. In addition, he likes to thank for her love and understanding and decides that his wife deserve a gift worthy of a golden coin. Just as Gallagher withdraw his money and about to go home, his fellow townsmen stop him and request for a donation. It turns out that this year’s raining season has ruined many roads of countryside; urgent repairs are needed for the upcoming holiday and townsmen are one gold coin short for the whole construction. With guilt in his heart, Gallagher drops Clare’s gold coin into the donation box and goes home empty handed. After hearing Gallagher’s story, Clare says to her beloved husband: “There is no need to feel sorry,” Clare smiles. “You are a righteous man, so it is nature for you to serve your town when it is in need. It is your kindness makes me fall in love with you.” To reward Gallagher’s good deed, Clare gives Gallagher a kiss and leads him to their dinning table for their wonderful meal. For the next three weeks, Gallagher helps his fellow townsmen to repair the roads and have not time to worry about Clare’s gift. Although he feels greatly sorry about missing Clare’s birthday, Clare always returns with smile and says nothing. Thanks to Gallagher’s extra effort, all roads are repaired just before the Christmas Day and Gallagher still have time to prepare and to celebrate the holiday with Clare. On his way home, Gallagher encounters a carriage that travels along with him. Inside the carriage, there are the girl who received Clare’s cake, girl’s father who insists to thank Gallagher in person, and various valuable gifts. As Gallagher is bust introducing they to Clare, Clare sudden feels a great pain and needs a doctor or a midwife! They quickly move Clare to the carriage, which is faster than Gallagher’s cart, and rush toward to nearest midwife. On their way to the midwife, the girl sings many beautiful songs to comfort Clare and the carriage runs almost twice as faster on the newly repaired road. When they are arrived, another surprise has encountered Gallagher. As the old lady, who received Clare’s narcissuses, quickly gives instructs and prepares to deliver the baby. To smooth Clare’s pain, the midwife feeds her with an analgesic that was made from Clare’s narcissuses and sends others outside as the birth is taking place. With anticipation and worries, the dawn of Christmas Day arrives. Clare, with babies in her arms, greets to the girl, girl’s father and midwife as Gallagher introduces them. Although her tiredness is apparent, her face is mainly occupied by the joyfulness of having a twin. Gallagher sits beside Clare and says: “I thank you, my love. Out of all possible roles, you have chosen to be my wife and supported my every decision. With your support and love, our two angels are able to be delivered by the series of miracles.” As they kiss and smile, it is obvious that this story deserves to be a happy story since everybody is happy in the end. But little did they know, this happy and miraculous ending is the result of Gallagher’s kindness and Clare’s understanding. If Gallagher is unkind and Clare never respect Gallagher’s act, this will be a great tragedy instead. Kindness is the miracle to strangers and understanding is the source of family harmony, and they are two innate blessings that we can give and share to others. If everyone is willing to use them to everybody, the world itself is a happy story!

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