Simple Goren

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Simple Goren was a very simple boy. He always walked forward and never to the side. He was steadfast when he did his chores and knew the merits of obeying his parents when it mattered.

It didn't matter if his mother asked him to go across town to pick up some bread, nor across the river for vegetables she forgot. When she asked him to pick up her clothes, he would do so with a smile, a bow, and a simple phrase.

"As you wish."

Everyone knew Simple Goren as a boy who did things right and with patience. Even if his mother asked him to do chores all day, his response would never vary. A week of cleaning and he would keep sweeping. He was a good child and the neighborhood loved him.

Now, as it were, Simple Goren had a number of friends who weren't so simple. They laughed at him when his mother asked him to cross the town or pick up the garbage. Whenever Simple Goren's mother would set him out on an errand, they would trail behind and ask him to play.

"Come out and play, Simple Goren."

"You don't need the bread, Simple Goren."

"Your mother can wait, Simple Goren."

He would just shake his head and keep on walking. "My mother asked and I will do. That's what I am and who I will be."

Well, it came down to one bright and sunny day. Simple Goren's mother---being a forgetful woman---had forgotten the bread, milk, vegetables, and even the newspaper. But she only remembered each one in turn, so Simple Goren walked the length of the city four times in a single day.

"As you wish," he would simply say and then turn around and head on out.

His friends would follow and ask their questions.

"How many times, Simple Goren?"

"Aren't you bored, Simple Goren?"

"Can't you play with us, Simple Goren?"

When they crossed an empty lot, one of his friends pulled out a ball. Another had a stick.

"Simple Goren! Let's play a game!"

"Simple Goren! Just a little one!"

"Simple Goren! You can go first!"

Simple Goren hesitated. For the entire day, he had been going back and forth across the town. "As you wish" was his only words but his feet ached and his arms were tired. He wanted to play, because that is what little boys do.

After a moment, he knew that he had to obey his mother. He shook his head and trudged away.

It took him an hour to get the final newspaper and bring it home. As he passed the lot, he had to stop as he watched his friends playing ball. The crack of the stick brought a tear to his eyes. He wanted to play, he wanted to have fun.

His friends saw him standing there.

"Simple Goren, come join us!"

"Simple Goren, we missed you!"

"Simple Goren, just one game?"

He hesitated once again. Playing a game would be fun and he had been simply walking for most of the day. He looked down at the paper and then across the empty lot filled with children who were dirty and sweaty from playing for hours. It had been a long time since he played.

Simple Goren nodded. "As you wish."

He set down the paper on the walk and headed across the street with his friends to play a game. They played, just a few minutes at most, and then he had to head back home.

"Play a little more?" they asked.

"Just a few more minutes, who would know?"

Simple Goren shook his head as he headed back across the street. "I've already played."

"Come on, Simple Goren."

"Play, Simple Goren."

"Have fun, Simple Goren."

He stopped and turned back. He did have fun. He wanted more. With a simple, he nodded. "As---"

A carriage came rolling by and struck him dead, leaving only a paper splatter in blood and his final words to echo down the street.

"---you wish."


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