Eli and his wife had lived alone for their entire marriage. They had built for themselves a very lovely home. It had a beautifully manicured garden with a large and luxurious home overlooking it. They had a beautiful life, and yet they wanted to share all that they had with another.
One day, Eli and his wife brought a helpless orphan named John to live with them. Eli walked the grounds with John, and told him that everything he had would now be his to enjoy. Their walks would go on for quite sometime. Eli and John would enjoy one another's company each evening.
Things began to change. First, John began to avoid walking with Eli. John allowed his room in the large house to fall into disrepair. It became such a large mess, that he eventually demanded that Eli and his wife give him their room. Eli plead with him but eventually John moved Eli and his wife out of the master's suite, and established himself as the master of the house. The help began to disregard Eli's authority. The gardeners neglected their duties, and the garden began to lose the beauty it had once had. The maids stop cleaning and the house became unclean and unhealthy. Eli and his wife were heartbroken and yet they continued to allow the orphan to continue. The beauty of their home was lost. The gardens were a tangled bunch of weeds and briars, and the house had become nothing more than a shell. The inside was no longer fit for habitation.
Sometime later, Eli and his wife had a child of their own. They would leave John to watch their child. John resented this new child. He rarely tended to the child as one would expect, and was often cruel to the child. Eli and his wife were hurt to see how their child was being treated. However, they continued to all John to mistreat their son.
The home continued to fall into greater and greater disrepair. The gardens and the woods beyond had become indistinguishable. The home was no longer a warm or safe place for Eli, his wife, and their child. They left John and what remained of their amazing home, and moved to a far country.
John grew used to the ugliness around him. When it would come to his mind how ugly the house had become, he would often blame Eli. He truly thought that Eli could have done more to maintain the home and gardens. How scandalous for Eli to flee his responsibility, and leave him in charge of so much. When John was no longer able to stay at the home because it was unsafe, he even blamed Eli for that.
Eli and his wife planted a new garden. This garden was even larger than the last. He hired the greatest gardeners to work it, and it became the most beautiful garden imaginable.
They also built a new home. This home was even larger and more opulent than the last. He hired the greatest architects and builders. When completed, the home became the most amazing place that anyone had ever seen.
By this time, John had taken to living under the tree. The windows of the old house were broken. Parts of the roof had caved into the house, and plants grew in the grand ballroom. The ballroom had been where Eli had held large parties, and was now home to squirrels and rabbits. John lived like a wild man among the animals of the forest. The clothing that Eli had given to John, were now nothing more than rags hanging loosely from his haggard looking frame. Gone were the days of warm baths in the large bathtub. The filth had been ground deep into the wrinkles that had come from his hard living. He had a look about him, of a man who had lived a life that had utterly consumed him. He sat in a low drizzling rain. His wet hair pressed tight to his head as water rain down his face and off the end of his nose. If ever there had been a more miserable person, then John could not imagine it. He wondered how he had come to such a point. Somehow he still managed to blame Eli for where he had now found himself.
Eli thought of John often. He wondered how he was doing. When their house was completed, Eli decided to send his Son back to the old manor. His son was to tell John that he no longer had to live in the woods. His son would tell him of the new house, and that there was a room made just for John. The only thing he would have to do is go along with Eli's son and follow him to the new house. Everything was taken care of. John had nothing left to do, but trust Eli.
When John saw the son coming, he could not believe it. Eli hadn't cared about what happened to him for so many years. How dare he come to check on him now. He doesn't really care about me. He never really has, or he would have never let all this happen to me.
When the son told him about the new house, he laughed. What is a house? There are no houses! This is all there is. This is as good as it gets. Where is this far country? I have never seen it. How do I know that it really exists? This all seems so outrageous to me. You must think I am a fool. Even if all this were true take a look at the manor house here, Eli doesn't know how to care for an estate. Why would I want to go live with someone that so obviously is incapable of caring for his estate. Honestly it is not as bad here as you would think. I am growing to like it. As nice as all that sounds, I am kind of fond of what I have here. There are just too many questions left unanswered. I am just going to stay right here. This is the best that I am able to get.
The son listened to John in silence. He was shocked by what he was hearing. He certainly wasn't going to drag John along with him. He had done as he was asked and now he would return to Eli. As he turned to walk away, it began to rain again. He took one last look at John as he was walking away. John stood up straight, and tried to look resolute. It was no use. In the pounding rain, John looked more pitiful than before.