Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Parable of the Farmer and His Four Sons

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Happy Valley, there lived a good and honest sharecropper, his wife, and his four capable sons, who were actually two sets of twins. One set of twins, sturdy and strong, could stand up to anything. These brothers were so in sync with one another that many considered them to be joined at the hip. The other twins, less strong but more agile, were best suited for complex farm chores. They worked hand-in-hand to assist the Farmer.

One year, at harvest time, one of the sturdy and strong sons grew tired and listless. At harvest time the next year, his twin began to feel the same way. They continued to get weaker until after a number of years they became lame and could not help out with the farm work at all. Luckily, the other set of twins remained healthy and used their agility to keep the farm going.

But this didn't last. Eventually, one of the agile twins began to feel weak, just like the sturdy twins had years earlier. And, sure enough, after one more season, the other agile twin followed suit. Everybody slowly got worse over time. Today, the formerly sturdy and strong twins, who could stand up to anything, can't move at all and must be carried everywhere. One of the agile twins is in the same boat. The other agile twin is hanging on, but getting more lame every day.

Today, the Farmer relies on the semi-lame, agile twin and the goodwill of the farmer’s (lovely) wife to fertilize the soil, plant the seeds, and harvest the crops…of life.

To be continued.

Cast of characters:

The sturdy twins – my left leg and my right leg
The agile twins – my left hand and my right hand
The Farmer – me

The moral of the story:

When things start to fall apart, you better make the most out of your remaining assets, and you better have a steadfast support system. “Buying the Farm” is to be avoided until all other avenues have been thoroughly exhausted.

(If you remember this story from its initial run in 2011, thanks for sticking around so long.)


  1. Like the songs of the 1950's - oldies but goodies!

    Yesterday brought reason for this story to come to mind again for me too.

    Thanks so much for sharing Mitch!

    1. Darren, I knew this was an old favorite of yours!

  2. Aarrgghhhh
    ..I bought in completely..Love it!

  3. Hey Mitch, I can't believe that this post is five years old. I remember it well, and always thought it was one of your best. Life on the farm does indeed keep getting harder, those two sets of twins are some damned troublemakers!

    1. Lazy sonsabitches is what they are! Kids these days…am I right?

  4. Yeah Mitch, you're right. But you gotta mother them with love anyway.