Since no one stepped forward, Mike began begging repeatedly in his childish voice, “Help me swing. Someone help me swing. I need someone to push me off.”
Carolyn, being the only girl, as well as the oldest in the group, responds as a mother would to Mike’s plea. “I’ll swing you. Stop your whining now. Besides, I don’t have anything better to do.”
She replied, “Walked too far today selling stuff. Night came upon me sooner than I expected. Since you were close by, I reckoned you might let me warm up a bit. Anyway, I was wondering if you would be interested in buying something from me to help me out.” She stood next to the stove with her hands so close to the stove top that her damp gloves were steaming from the heat.
Then he looked up into the sunny blue sky, and turned to look around in the yard. The children were speechless as their ears perked up in response to the stranger’s voice. “Is anyone else at home? Are your parents here?”
In a pleasant tone, he said, “Well, I know you don’t know me, but don’t worry. I’m just passing through. I mean no harm. I want to give one of you children a gift, but you will have to earn it. I’ll give a knife to the one who will give me a kiss. Who will be brave enough to kiss a stranger? A kiss on the cheek, and I’ll be on my way.”
The stranger with an aquiline appearance, placed his hand in the side pocket of his overalls, and pulled out a small case knife, bone yellow in color with accents of brown. It was beautiful
Overcoming his diffidence, little Johnie descended the porch steps, as he cautiously approached the stranger. Suddenly, the stranger gracefully knelt close to the ground at the child’s eye level. Johnie kissed the stranger on the cheek. The stranger thanked little Johnie, and rewarded the boy with the special gift he had promised--a beautiful pocket knife. The others on the porch were incredulous to what just happened.