In honor of Father's Day, here is a story about fathers and son by Freddy Flunkerer:
Once upon a jolly ole’ time, there was a very unhappy woodcutter. And why was he so unhappy? Well, because he didn’t want to be a woodcutter, that’s why. He hated being a woodcutter. Hated living out in the forest, hated the constant birdsong, hated how hoarse his throat got from shouting “Timber” all day long, hated everything about it. So why was he a woodcutter in the first place? Because his father was a woodcutter. And so was his father’s father. And so was his father’s father’s father. I could even go father…but I won’t.
In fact, this woodcutter might have been completely miserable had it not been for the one great joy in his life: His son, Trevor. And one day, he took the boy to one side and told him, “Son, I’m not like my father, and I don’t want you to be like me. I’m not going to force you to be a woodcutter like me. You can be anything in the world that you want and I’ll do everything in my admittedly limited power to make your dream come true. So, tell me: What do you want to be?”
“Well, said Trevor, “I’ve always thought I’d like to be a clown.”
“Then you’ll be the best clown in the world!”
Of course, clown school was expensive, even back then, so the woodcutter had to work twice as hard to cut enough wood to make more money to send his boy to school. It wasn’t easy, but he was happy the whole time knowing that his hard work would make his son’s dream come true. And before long, he could afford to send Trevor to clown school.
He studied Comedic Theory, Advanced Face Painting, Intermediate Juggling, Cramming Yourself Into An Overcrowded Car With Twenty-Six Other Guys and all the other courses which were of vital importance to anyone hoping to become a professional clown. He did well and graduated top of his class and soon landed a job at a circus. But studying something in a classroom is very different from doing it in real life, and somehow the reality of being a clown didn’t appeal to Trevor as much as he thought it would. After a year, he quit clowning for good.
“Sorry, father,” he said upon arriving back home. “I guess I was wrong about wanting to be a clown.”
“That’s all right, son. You’re still young. You have plenty of time to find your calling.”
“Actually, I did enjoy spending time with the animals at the circus. I think I’d like to be a veterinarian.”
Once again, the woodcutter had to redouble his efforts in the forest in order to pay his son’s way to veterinary college. And, as before, he was only too happy to do it if it meant making his son’s dream come true. And in no time at all, he had earned enough to send his son to veterinary school.
Being a clever, hard-working boy, Trevor once again did well and graduated top of his class. But, just as before, he found that being a veterinarian in real life was not as exciting as he’d expected it to be. The sad truth is he spent most of his time putting sick animals down, and that gets pretty depressing after a while.
That plus the constant spaying and neutering.
“Sorry, father,” he said when he arrived back home for the second time after giving up on being a veterinarian. “Maybe I wasn’t really cut out to be a vet.”
“Never mind, son. I’m sure you’re next idea will be the right one for you.”
“Well, once a knight brought in his horse for me to treat. I thought he must have an exciting job.”
Now if you thought clown school and veterinary school were expensive, it was nothing compared to knight school. The woodcutter worked harder than he ever had in his life to pay Trevor’s tuition, but he knew it would be worth it if his son would (finally) be living his dream.
Knight school was not easy. There was physical training, history lessons, and a whole unit on Advanced Chivalry (like what to do when a maiden drops her hanky and stuff like that). It challenged Trevor more than he had ever been challenged. But in the end, he succeeded and was knighted by the king as Sir Trevor and he was sure that now, finally, finally at last, he had found his purpose in life…or at least he thought that until his first encounter with a fire-breathing dragon.
“Well, for Pete’s sake!” said the woodcutter when his son came home after giving up on his career for the third time in a row.
“I’m sorry, father. I know you’ve been working really hard at something you hate just to help put me through school.”
“I don’t mind, it’s just…well, yes, I mind a little. I love you, son, but I’ve been working myself to death paying for all these lessons for things you don’t really want to do anyway!”
“Well, the truth is, I kind of already know what I want to do. I’ve sort of known it all along. I just never said because I didn’t think you’d approve.”
“Really? What is it? What do you really want to be, son?”
“All my life I’ve been so proud of my dad, going out into the wild, braving the elements, communing with nature, all to make sure the people of the village have enough firewood to get them through the long, cold nights. You stay in good shape, work with your hands and provide a vital service to the community. You ask me what I want to be. Well, I want to be like my dad.”
The woodsman was touched. He had never been more proud of his son. Even though others thought he was a failure, giving up being a clown, a veterinarian and even a knight for the sake of being a mere woodcutter, neither father nor son cared. The woodsman not only taught Trevor everything he knew about being a woodcutter, but seeing it through his son’s eyes made him realize that it wasn’t such a bad gig after all. He was finally happy with what he did and who he was. So it’s no wonder that the woodcutter and his son lived happily ever after.
This story was taken from the book Flunkerer's Fables, now available at Lulu.com, Amazon and other fine online retailers.