"The Farmer and his Landlord"
Long ago, a farmer lived in a rural village in Spanish Florida with his wife and young son. Their farm was very small, but the crops they grew always brought enough revenue to give them all they needed. The farmer told his family they persevered because hard work is always rewarded. They were always hungry, but never starving, and lived happily. The son played by the river with his friends, and the wife read news articles and magazines. The farmer, when his work was done, enjoyed hunting game in the woods.
The farmer's landlord, however, was cruel and greedy. He hated the farmer and all poor people. To him, to be happy as a poor man was a sin. In these times, it was permitted for a landlord to kill a tenant who failed to pay his rent on time. However, the farmer always paid his rent within the very hour.
The farmer's house rested far south, near Lake Okeechobee, while the landlord lived in a grand estate on the Panhandle. Although most people of this era traveled by carriage, all the farmer could afford was an old yet reliable mule. To make his monthly rent, he woke up earlier than any other day of the month and rode his mule, reaching the landlord's estate by high noon, and took the remainder of the day to ride back.
Each week, a disabled veteran limped through the village, politely asking for donations. While most rudely denied the veteran, the farmer was always able to spare a small amount of pesos or some food for the kind old man. This further enraged and perplexed the landlord.
Then, the landlord got a nasty idea. He took his rifle and rode his stagecoach to the farmer's house. It was the dead of night, and only twelve hours until his tenant's rent was due. The landlord took aim and shot the mule, and then raced back to his estate.
The next morning, the farmer awoke to find his faithful mule dead in a pool of his own blood. And his rent was due in but six hours. He would not bother his family with this sad news. Knowing he would not make it in time, he threw his sack of pesos over his shoulder and began walking to his landlord's estate.
After an hour, a carriage pulled up next to the farmer, who was very sweaty and tired. When he looked to the carriage, he was surprised to see the veteran he had helped for those many years.
"Thank you. I had bought this carriage and horse with your generous donations," the veteran said.
"I'm glad your leg will know some rest," the farmer replied.
"Would you like a ride?" the veteran offered.
"The carriage is not mine. I want you to enjoy it," the farmer said.
"I cannot enjoy this without the company of you, my friend, and the only person in all South Florida to not laugh at my poverty and give me nothing."
The farmer smiled, and boarded the carriage. The veteran got him to his landlord's estate in only two hours, where he paid his rent hours early to a shocked landlord.
As it also turned out, the Governor of Spanish Florida was visiting the landlord. The veteran struck up a conversation with the Governor, and learned Tallahassee was currently experiencing a deficiency of agriculture. The veteran then went on to speak of the farmer's generous and hardworking nature. Against the landlord's wishes, the Governor offered to the farmer a new, larger farm in the capital, where he and his family could live.
After working for a month in his new farm and making more profits than ever before, the farmer learned from a passing trader that his former landlord had since been forced to file for bankruptcy.
Edited by Master Inika, Mar 10 2012 - 11:48 PM.