…there is the third installment of the story of the little boy without any gifts.
He could not find his way out to the woods if that is where he meant to go or home if he intended to come home. He was always lost, then, you see, for wherever he was leaving was the place he meant to go and the place he went was ever the place he meant to leave.
He could not sing or run or lift heavy things, as we already read. He did not fear Wilbur, the Wizard of the Woods, as did all the other little boys. He did not get off the porch much when he was little, though he wanted to do what all the others would do. He often started to do what the others did but almost always after they quit and went on to something else.
"He is not timely," one of the girls said.
"He is certainly not timely," another of the girls said.
All the girls agreed he was not timely.
"He is easy," the boys said.
All the boys thought he was easy: easy to poke at, easy to pick on, easy to pry loose. He was easy.
One day, the girls agreed with the boys. They would all demonstrate their scorn for the talentless little fellow. Perhaps, some thought, this would shock him from his lethargic mien. Others thought it might at least make him stop chasing them after they ceased to run.
Still others thought it would simply be amusing.
So, some ran in front of him, while some stood and others pushed at him. A few stood off ten paces and threw sticks at him.
Through it all, the little boy acted distracted. He alternated his actions from this group of attackers to that group, but without accuracy. He ran at the stick throwers, threw his hands open to the pokers and fell in front of the runners. In moments, he was an untimely, easy, torn and bloody mess.
They all laughed.
"I am here," he said, from the ground where they kicked him. "Hey, guys, I am over here."
They laughed the louder.
"I am down here with you," he continued. It seemed to him they were all with him. They just could not see him.
He looked at them with wall-eyed devotion.
The laughing stopped itself.
"What's wrong with you?" one guilty boy accosted him. "What's with you?"
"You're with me," he said, looking at the wrong boy.
"You are just too much, too little, too late," they told the little boy.
"Take care," he told them. "Look for the faith that loves the individual. Don't go off after the ism that wants to end the person in the group, here and now, or there and then. Love the way that loves the man."
"Huh?" they started.
"Don't lose your soul to the person next to you," he said, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Then, they ran from him.
Then, Wilbur came to him.
To be continued…