Thank you for your letter, and thanks for the wine you sent for my birthday. I was sorry to hear about your broken leg, but I suppose that’s the price you have to pay if you will go chasing all over the hills and rocks after lost sheep! Couldn’t you have left it? You must have, what, a hundred or so – is just one really worth all that hassle, inconvenience, and now injury?
Things have been going quite well for us in the last few weeks. The harvest was good – one of our best ever – and we seem to have missed the recent occurrences of foot-and-mouth disease that have affected some of our neighbours. Fortunately, we’ve had enough for ourselves and a bit left over so we’ve been able to help out some of those most badly hit.
I think that the charity work is helping to take Dad’s mind off the latest news. It seems as if there’s a famine in the country my brother went off to; we hear that people are dropping like flies and there’s not a scrap of food to be had. No-one seems to have seen my brother anywhere, even those he was friendliest with. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s just dumped them like he dumped us, and gone off somewhere else to spend his money.
Dad’s worried, though, in case what’s actually happened is that my brother’s lost all his money and can’t get away. After all, he was spending quite a bit, and it only needed a run of bad luck on the roulette wheel, and it’s all gone. So maybe he’s still there, starving to death. Well, all I can say is that it serves him right! We’re quite happy to help out our hardworking neighbours when they’re in real need, through no fault of their own; but there’s no call to go giving willy-nilly to people who are careless, who expect something for nothing.
If my brother had thought less about his pleasures and more about his responsibilities – in other words, if he’d been more like me – he’d still be here with us today, enjoying the fruits of our labour. So if he is in trouble, then he’s brought it on himself; it’s all his own fault. I have no sympathy for him at all.
Hope your arm gets better soon
(Based on Luke 15:4-6, 14)