The Father's Plan

An Anuak Story

Before you read the story

  • Do you parents give you advice?
  • What advice do they give you?
  • Do you listen to their advice?

Now read the story

Once there was a man called Obang. He was old and sick. He lay in his hut alone.

“Soon I will be dead,” he thought.

Outside, his wives were cooking food and his children were playing.

“Who will look after them when I have gone?” Obang thought.

Then he heard voices. A young man was talking and laughing.

“That's the voice of my son,” Obang said to himself. “Why is he talking and laughing with his friends in the middle of the day? Why isn't he working?”

Someone came to the door of the hut.

"Who is it?" Obang called out.

It was Obang's friend. He came into the hut and sat down beside the old man.

"Ah, it's you," Obang said. "I'm very happy to see you. Will you help me?"

"Yes, yes, of course," said his friend.

"Old friend, I'm dying," Obang said. "And I'm worried. Who will look after my family when I'm dead?"

"You have a son," his friend said. "He can ..."

"My son is lazy and weak," said Obang. "Every day he goes out with his friends and eats and drinks. But I have a plan. He must learn to work, and you must be his teacher."

"How?" said his friend.

"When I am dead, burn my huts," Obang said. "Burn my foodstore. Burn everything. I can't take all these things with me. Burn them all."

"But..." said his friend.

"Please," the old man said. "Please do this for me."

A few weeks later, Obang died.

"He was a good man, and a rich man too," everyone said. "But look at his son!"

Then they smelled something. They looked at each other.

"Fire!" they shouted.

They ran towards the fire. The old man's huts, his food store, his clothes and his tools - everything was burning.

His wives and children were crying.

"What are we going to do now?" they said. "We have nothing! We'll all die!"

Obang's son was drinking with his friends but he heard the noise and ran towards the crowd.

"Come back with us," his friends said. "Have another drink. You can't do anything here."

But Obang's son looked at his father's wives and children.

"No, no," he said. "Goodbye my friends. Now I've got to work."

The young man worked hard. Every morning he started working early. He finished working late every evening. He built more huts on his father's land. He filled the stores with food. His father's wives ate well and their children were happy again.

Obang's friend smiled.

“My old friend's plan was a good one,” he thought. “His son has learned to work, and I was his teacher.”


Exercises for The Father's Plan


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