Short Story: Foolish Child

By: Pineapple Blueberry

The depressing truth behind the transformation of a child into an adult during the Great Depression of America’s 1930’s.

The clopping sound of horse’s hooves reverberated through the valley.

The child lay on the rocks finally content after days of slowly rotting away. The kind stranger–a camera man–had given him water and food that would sustain him for at least a few days. But what a foolish child, he savagely devoured all the food as fast as the economy went downhill. The foolish child. He would need that food later.

His bare, begrimed feet dangled off his makeshift shelter as he thought about his brief but dismal life. 2 million people were left homeless after the depression started, but they never imagined that they would be victim to the life ending pestilence of poverty. At least not until mama had died. After that…his life was over.

Papa started drinking, gambling, anything to take his mind off the loss. Soon after they got evicted from their house, he lost his job, and his four year old child was left without a mother, a home, or most times even food. Still, the child whistled through life with euphoria. I guess that’s one upside to being a child; no matter how bad it got, he never felt the impact. All he had was his oblivious bliss. He may have had his father, but that incompetent plague did nothing but spend the little money they had. However, his son adored him.

The child’s ignorance also blocked out his father’s impotence. He only recalls the sacred times with his mother–when his life was whole and his future promising. The foolish child.

The quick devouring of the food resulted in quick hunger. Within the hour of the cameraman’s departure the boy was, yet again, famished. The gritty taste of dust dictated his senses. The luxurious taste of water haunted him as he roamed the desolate valley.

He never doubted that failure of a father for one second. His papa’s promise of return resounded through his head. He had been gone for two days now. His father had just left an hour before the cameraman did. No thoughts of abandonment dared to reach the child’s mind; his saintly father was still preserved in his naive brain.

Their shelter stood alone in the vast empty valley. The unwanted rubbish they found off the road served as a temporary home. The everlasting smell of mold trailed the chairs used to prop up the fading blanket. It wasn’t much, but, to the child, it was paradise. The foolish child. The boy was bored by the second hour, by the third hour he had explored everything that the sovereign cave had to offer. The child’s imagination was all he had left, and it gave him immense joy. However, it’s fuel was running out. He was starting to doubt his father.

By the third day he was sad, broken down, and entirely distraught. 72 hours without food or water has torn away the hope and life in the young child. The tears he had cried coated ho dry face. The water blended with the dirt on his face making a bumpy tear stained face.

Only the power of a Great Depression could break down a child’s spirit like that. The desperate child begged and yelled loudly for anyone. The languishing cries would frighten anyone. His imagination and ignorance were long gone. The and by the third, his fitful mind discovered everything the valley had to offer. His imagination made the melancholy valley a place of dreaming and hope.

However, by the third day, his whimsical blessed ignorance had faded and in came the stifling mindset of an adult. The eccentricity of a child is quickly dislodged by a life ruining burden of maturity in the Depression. Children skip the age of pure joy in these times. The child’s desolate cries permeate the valley and grieve anyone in ears length. His dry tears had mixed with the dirt and created a bumpy paste that covered the boy’s face. The realization of his father’s deficiency had finally dawned on the newly grown young man. The craving of food was dominating all possible thoughts. He wouldn’t last long. The foolish child.


The clopping sound of horse’s hooves reverberated through the valley. A man rode into the canyon on horseback. He stood next to the inept shelter by the head of his cold son. Silence reigned through the plain, the only noise audible was the low sob of a grieving father.