A certain man had two sons, and the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the portion of thy wealth that would fall to me at thy death." He did so, and a few days after the younger son gathered all his wealth together and journeyed into a far country. There he met with evil companions, and wasted his money in riotous living. When he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land, and he began to be in want of bread to eat. So he went and hired himself to a man of that country, who sent him into the fields to feed his pigs. And he was so hungry that he would have been glad to have eaten the coarse food such as the swine eat; but no one gave it to him.

His sufferings brought him to his senses, and he thought how foolish he had been, for he remembered that his father's servants had food enough and to spare, while his father's son was perishing with hunger. He said, "I will leave this land and go to my father and tell him how I have sinned against heaven and him. I will tell him I am no longer worthy to be called his son, and will implore him to make me one of his hired servants." And he arose and went towards his father's house, but when he was still a great way off, his father saw him, and was sorry for him, and ran and embraced him. Then he told his father how he had sinned and had lost his title to be called the old man's son, but the father was so glad to have his son come back repentant, that he told his servants to bring the best clothing and a ring to put on his son. And he made a great feast, and they were merry, for he said, "This is my son that was as one dead to me and is now alive again; he was lost and is found."

But the elder son was very angry, and would not go in to the feast, but said to his father, "Lo, these many years have I served thee, and never offended or disobeyed thee, and thou hast never made a feast for me and my friends; but now this thy other son has come back, that has wasted thy wealth in riotous living, thou hast made a great feast for him." And his father said, "Son, thou art ever with me, and all I have is thine. It is right that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was as one dead to us and is alive again; he was lost and is found."

Index - Mother stories

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