A young man sat reclined in the dim-lit study room inside a little hut that was situated upon the edge of a dark, midnight town. His elderly father was sitting on an old heap of straw on the rotten floorboards. They were starving, but they did not have a single penny in their pockets.
The son began searching around the room for a coin or a morsel of food for his father to nibble at, and when he found nothing more than some soggy papers lying around in one of the drawers of his old table, he sat down beside his father, and wept, while the old man quietly sobbed. They lay huddled next to each other, and the idea that they were going to starve filled them with dread.
“Father, what am I to do?” the son gasped.
The old man wept. After a while, he sniffed, and said, with tears, “look there, son.”
The old man pointed at the wet papers. The son looked at them, then back at his father.
“The… papers?” asked the son, wiping his tears away, for the sudden excitement in his father’s voice sparked some hope in his heart.
“That is our only chance,” said the old man, and his old, brown eyes glittered.
“You shall write a story that will get us some money. Money that I hope will let us live for the time being.”
And the son looked, and smiled, for the idea was hopeful. But again the sadness caught hold of him, for he had no ink to write with.
“But I have nothing to write with, my father,” said he.
But the old man said:
“You shall write with my own blood, which I would willingly give up to you.”
The son was silent for a while. And then what his father said came to him, and his eyes became wide with shock.
“No, no,” said the son, and hastened away to his chair.
But the old man insisted. “Take my blood, I say.”
“I could do no such thing,” the son said.
“You shall,” said the old man, and the look that his father gave him was so solemn that the son could not do anything else but obey him. So, he went to his poor father, and with an old knife, softly cut a little wrinkled piece of his arm’s flesh. Pained, the old man groaned, but he did not shriek.
The son felt pity, but he went to his table, brought a cup, and filled it with his father’s blood again. He took out an old quill pen, and dabbed it into the cup.
Then, his trembling hand carefully took the pen to the paper, and began writing.
After a while, when the son put the pen in the cup, he saw that all the blood was depleted.
And then he heard his father saying, “let me give you some more blood.”
The son grieved sorely. But he got up, and walked to his father. His father looked the same as before, and he shook his shoulders to show that he was fine.
“No, I shall not take any more blood from you,” said the son.
“Look how well I look. I don’t feel any pain. Take more, son,” said the old man, his voice trembling slightly.
And the son drew more blood from the same cut that he had made.
He went back to his table, and continued his writing. His gaunt body shuddered.
After a while, he put the pen in an emptied cup once more. In that brief moment of realization, he heard his father saying, “come, let me give you more blood.”
The son arose, and muffled a shriek with his palms.
“No,” he wept. “No, I shan’t do this anymore.”
But the old man said, “look, son, how well I look. I don’t feel any pain, take more.”
The son looked at his father, and noticed how pale his father’s face was. Out of desperation, the son mindlessly grabbed his knife, and filled his cup once more.
He returned back to his table, and began writing again. When he was half-way through the story, he heard the sound of something softly hitting the floorboards.
He looked back. His father was still there, lying with his head to the ground. The old man did not move. The son peered at his father; he was stone dead. The old man’s face was very blue.