He had served his master for many years.
Their relationship was distinct in the sense that the master treated him like a son. He was looked after very well and never mistreated. Indeed where others around him used to be considered sub-human, his master highly esteemed his welfare and that of his family.
The master would often share with his servant what his plans would be for the coming season. From time to time the master trusted him to carry out responsibilities that would sometimes be given to one of his sons. Such was the depth of trust that the master had in the servant. Such was the loyalty and devotion of the servant to the master.
Then the master fell ill.
No one poured out themselves to help more than the servant. Even when the sons were too upset to serve the master, who was unable to look after himself, the servant diligently and compassionately took on himself to bathe and clean him. He would be by his bedside at all hours tending to any needs of the ailing master. All remarked on how he went above and beyond to do whatever he could almost as if he could swap their physical circumstances he would to see the master revive his health and avoid the stranglehold of suffering and impending death.
The servant poured out his very being for his master.
His master passed away peacefully in his sleep. Any turmoil or angst he had felt in the final hours had been soothed and tended to by his faithful servant.
When the servant was told of the passing away, he mourned as if his own father had died. For days he was inconsolable.
As he got to grips with the new reality, the master’s firstborn son – set to succeed his father in all that was in his possession – asked the servant what he wanted to do. He offered the servant his freedom and resources to start up his own land with his own servants. Yet the faithful servant refused this saying that his place was to remain faithful and loyal to the master and his family and when the master died, the son became the new master and as far as he was concerned he was happy to pledge his loyalty of service to him as much as he had to the father.
The firstborn son was incredibly touched by the sentiment and allowed him to stay on. Establishing him as the chief servant responsible for the training and nurturing of others who would serve in the household. True to his word the servant loyally devoted himself to the son as much as he had to the father.
When the servant likewise grew old and eventually unable to carry out his duties, his master ensured he was treated well as if he were the master himself of the household. Such was the son’s high consideration for the servant, that the son took it upon himself to serve the servant in his final days – bathing and cleaning him when he was no longer able to do so for himself.
The son spent the final few hours of the servant’s life at his bedside and soothed any discomfort and pain he felt. The servant’s last words were gratitude for such help. The son ensured the servant was buried in the same lot as the father he had served to the end.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden