Another Poor Richard Sermon from Witchy Eye

There was a barber in a small village in western Penn’s Land, who traded under the sign of the silver shears, that one night his son demanded his inheritance early, for he wished to set up in business as a brewer and marry.  The barber and his son quarreled, and the son fled on horseback.  In the dark, the barber’s son rode too fast, his horse stumbled, he was thrown from its back and he broke his neck, dying before the barber arrived.

The son’s fiancée was a witch and possessed of a vengeful mind, and three days after his burial, in the dark of night, the son returned to his father’s home, clawing at the door and howling until his father answered.

“What do you want, my son?” asked the barber, who was fearful but brave.

The son said nothing and only groaned.

“I see you are still anxious to marry and become a brewer,” the barber said.  “Come with me to the shop.  In three days, your hair and nails have grown long enough to need trimming, and at the shop I will give you your inheritance, my most prized possession.”  Then the father led his son to his shop, and sat him in the chair, and took out his famous silver shears.

The son could not talk, but groaned as if he were making a long complaint.  The barber listened attentively and trimmed his dead son’s nails, first one foot, then the other, now the left hand and at last the right.  Finally, after the barber’s son had unfolded his woes to his father, the father said, “yes, son, I understand you, and I am very sorry to have caused you grief.”

Then the barber cut his son’s hair, kissed his son on the cheek and laid him back in his grave.  The dead man never returned again to trouble his parents.

Poor Richard says: family love survives the grave; so does a family quarrel.

Poor Richard also says: an attentive ear turns away wrath.

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