Short story from Jelvin Gipson

                      The Decision
Poverty is a tragedy by itself, to overcome it one needs to put in time, work, focus and determination. Do not allow it to be your shadow that moves with you every where you go, the only way to kill that shadow is to shine a light on it. 

Money is the root of all evil and a bunch of mind disturbances. Advice is part of the spirit that leads you to good life, at times you may have an ultimatum to choose between them. But the truth of the matter is money without advice is meaningless. 

This story took place in the life of a well-known hunter who was beset with poverty till nothing else mattered to him besides hunting animals so that he and his wife could eat. He was such a hard working man, patient with lots of potential in seeing his dream come through. He never gave up in his struggle, whether the day brought meat or not, his head was always up for a better tomorrow, for every disappointment to him was another step to move forward. His wife was committed to him always and gave him comfort when it was needed.

One bright morning, he woke up and sat under the tree where he usually sit to plat his mat. While platting his mat, a thought ran through his mind to take another step in life and try something else. Immediately he called his wife and sat her down and began to tell her his next plan of action in fighting poverty.  

"I am sick and tire of the way we live, no food, no money to take care of my domestic needs. Poverty is a sickness, no one needs to tell me that I am affected with it, 'cus when you are affected with it you will know, I don't need pastor, prayer bank, native doctor to tell me the root cause of my problems when I have not made effort in solving them. Since life in this village has not agreed with us, I am going to take a risk for our lives."

He told his wife everything he had in mind and made her understand that the journey he was about to embark on was for the betterment of their family. With a heavy heart he said, "I am traveling to the city, Monrovia, to hustle; I will be gone for eighteen years (18), please take care of yourself while am away. My decision is irreversible, because I have thought on it and my mind is made up." 

His wife was confused about the prompt decision which her husband had taken; but she has nothing else to say than to accept the decision which he has taken. The hunter's wife was three months pregnant and he never knew about it. She was afraid to tell him about it because such news would make him stay, and she never wanted him to go back on his word since it was for their own good, therefore she decided to keep it to herself. 

A week later the hunter left for Monrovia in search for a job, after a month of hard search, he found a job as a gateman. He told the house owner, his bossman, that he wanted to work for eighteen years (18), In that term, he told his bossman that he didn't want his salary till after the eighteen years. It was surprising to his boss, confused at the fact that a young man would want to work for eighteen years without monthly salary. The commotion in his mind couldn't allow him rest, so he asked the hunter, "Why do you want to work for eighteen years without a monthly salary until the eighteen years elapse?" 

The hunter told him that he was a family man and he wanted to show his wife that his labour was not in vain. And also he didn't want to waste the salary given to him every month, so to avoid using the money on things that will not benefit him and should be kept for the rightful purpose, he wanted the boss to keep his money. His bossman was shocked to hear such a thing from a young man of his kind, so he accepted to do what the hunter had asked. Because of his generous act, his bossman offered him the job with a monthly salary of 300 United States Dollars and a place to stay for the eighteen years. The hunter worked tirelessly to see his dream come through. He serve his bossman with honor and lots of respect, and his bossman was so proud of him each time he saw him opening the gate and closing it.

After the eighteen years has elapsed, the hunter went to him and told him that he was about to go back home. His bossman was so delighted with him for the time served, and he sat him down, brought out his eighteen years' salary which came to the amount of 64,800 United States dollars. His bossman had his money in full but didn't give it to him right away. 

He then asked him, "You have worked and served me for eighteen years now. You were too humble in your service, now this is what I have. On the table lies the eighteen years' salary for which you have worked. But I can give you three pieces of advice instead of the salary. So now the choice is yours. You will have to choose between your eighteen years' salary and the three pieces of advice which I have to give you."

The hunter was confused and thought that the old man was playing a trick to avoid giving him his money. But it was a decision where he was not forced to choose. The hunter thought for a long time, and with a deep breath he said, "I will take the advice." 

The old man asked him again, "So you want to tell me after eighteen years of hard work, you value the piece of advice which I have more than your salary?"

The hunter looked in the eyes of the old man with grief and said yes. 

So the old man took his money back inside and gave him the advice. "Listen, he said, 1. Never take the short cut in life, 2. Never sleep in a strange land, no matter the time, and 3. Do not allow your anger to control you, always seek the face of God before taking action."

After the old man had given him the advice, he later brought out a very big piece of bread which we normally refer to as Egyptian pillow. He gave the hunter a very strong instruction to eat the bread with his wife when he got home, so that she may not feel bad about the wasted years. The hunter was very angry to hear that was all the man had to say. So he took the bread which the old man had given him and walked away in grief. 

On his way to his home town, darkness was approaching so he decided to take a short cut to reach home faster before night fall. But the number one advice registered in his mind, "Never take the short cut in life." He then decided to take the long road to reach to his home town. The road was too long and darkness caught up with him, so he wandered to a nearby town to pass the night. But he town which he went to had laws that strangers were not allowed to pass a night in their town. Any stranger who intended on sleeping in their town would be sacrificed to their gods. 

In no time, while the hunter was asleep, he immediately jumped up as if something were running behind him in a dream. The second advice registered to him, "Never sleep in a strange land, no matter the time." Without saying goodbye to the villagers, he left. 

In the next morning while the hunter was approaching his house with excitement, he saw a guy sitting with his arm around his wife's waist. He got angry, dropped everything he had with him and bashed on them with a cutlass. As he was about to cut off the heads of the guy and his wife, the third advice registered to him, "Do not allow your anger to control you, always seek the face of God before taking action."

He immediately dropped the cutlass and went inside to concentrate. Early in the morning, he called a few of his wife's uncles to tell them what their daughter had done. While judging the case one of the uncles told him, "Thank God you did not commit murder upon your arrival yesterday. If so, you would have killed your entire family." 

The hunter was confused and needed to know exactly what her uncle was driving at 'cus his temper was uncontrollable at the moment. So another uncle elaborated on it. 

"You left your wife three months pregnant before going to Monrovia. You were lucky you did not kill them. By now, you would have regretted killing your wife and son all in the name of jealousy."

The hunter was ashamed of himself, and on the other hand he was excited that the advice given to him by the old man had saved him and his family. So he apologized for his actions. After everything subsided, his wife then asked him, "After eighteen years of work, my husband, what have you brought for us per our agreement? The hunter was ashamed but courageous in saying, 

"What I brought with me, for us, is life. If it hadn't been for the advice which I let go of my eighteen years salary to take, by now I would have been a dead man, and so would you and our son. But all the old man gave me is bread to eat with you when I get home." 

He brought the bread out and gave it to his wife. She was too upset with him, crying, "After all these years, my husband worked for bread!" With anger, she collected the bread from him. The moment she broke it to pieces, she saw that his eighteen years' salary was lying in it. 

The hunter was shocked and confused, and in tears they packed up their money.

By: Jelvin S Gibson


1. What do you think prompted the old man to do what he did?
2. Was the three advice helpful to him? If yes explain, if no, explain.
3. What would you have done if advice were given to you instead of your money?

One thought on “Short story from Jelvin Gipson

  1. The fable is full of learning materials that throws the light to the service of the hunter in the house of the old man and his three advices after finishing his job time which comes true in every step to meet his family again. Love it the writing.

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