Helen peered through the ornate metal fence posts. Her mother had forbidden her to go near the old house.
It was strange, her mother told her. Her mother also said the old man that lived in it was strange too. Yet that didn’t stop Helen from staring. She thought the house was beautiful.
“Hi there”. The voice startled her and she strained to see where it was coming from. Glancing around she spotted through the fence an old stooped man behind the wall below the fence. His hands caked in mud had clearly been planting in the flower bed. Helen’s mind flashed with panic, she wasn’t meant to talk to strangers but he had seen her now, it would be rude to ignore him.
“Hi,” she said quietly and then removed her hands from the fence.
“Admiring my garden?” the old man said then gestured the flower beds. She nodded, not really sure what to say. She hadn’t, it had been the house she was admiring. Helen watched the old man intently, looking for the darkness that her mother believed he had. Yet all she saw was kindness, could her mother be wrong?
“Do you want to come inside?” he asked. Helen’s eyes grew wide, she knew she should say no, it was what her mother would want her to do, but the old man with the kind crinkled face couldn’t be anything to worry about could he? She nodded and he got to his feet, pointing towards the entrance gate and then began brushing off the dirt from his trousers.
“Helen!” Helen stopped dead in her tracks, then began to turn around slowly as the piercing shrill of her mother’s cry filled the air. As Helen turned she spotted her mother stood hands on her hips, her face red with both anger and exertion. Oh dear.
“Never mind skulking, get over here now! I told you not to doddle home.” Helen took one last glance at the beautiful big house, the old man seemed to be gone. Ignoring her disappointment she traipsed towards her mother. Maybe the old man would let her look another day…
“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Originally written in response to #WQWWC theme – Beautiful. The above quote seemed too fun not to play around with. What do you think? Did mother know best?