Orphan Train: A Short Allegorical Story, Part 2

OrphanTrainCover

 

I pulled out the contract and the other publications from the seat-back pocket. The contract was embossed with “The Master’s Railroad Company,” but the other documents were not embossed, instead displaying a masthead that read “The Master’s Proclaimers.” I said to the conductor, “There seem to be a lot of publications here. Who writes all this stuff? Can’t we just read the contract and see what it says for ourselves?”

“My boy,” said the conductor, “The contract is complex, and you will need help to understand it. A small group of Chosen Ones in the forward car has humbly taken on the task of helping all of us orphans understand its true meaning.”

My friend looked puzzled. “I thought no one could tell who were the Chosen Ones. So how do we know that the ones in the small group are chosen?”

The conductor, looking slightly annoyed by the question, said, “The answers to all your questions are found in the publications. I suggest you read and study them diligently.”

“Don’t you mean the answers are in the contract?” I asked.

“Yes, of course, the contract is absolute. But you will need help to understand it. This train’s journey is nearing its end, so it would be best for you to be busily engaged in study.”

And with that he left us.

Being an avid reader, I began reading the contract and some of the Proclaimers’ documents. As I read, my puzzlement became greater and greater. Perhaps the conductor was right. Perhaps I did need help to understand the contract. But the problem was not that the contract was confusing; in fact it was quite clear and readily understood. My puzzlement came from the fact that the contract seemed to contradict the claims of the small group of chosen orphans. Or was it that the claims contradicted what the contract so clearly stated?

For example, the contract said that anyone trusting themselves to the master’s care (by boarding the train) would be adopted. It didn’t seem to limit the privilege to a chosen few. The contract also stated that all the orphans on the train would be heirs and citizens, and would also govern the province. The contract even said that all the train orphans would have the Son as their mediator.

My friend was eager to ask the conductor about these apparent discrepancies, so when the conductor finished answering another orphan’s questions, my friend called him over.

“What can I help you to understand?” He asked.

My friend inquired, “Can you show us where in the contract it says that the Master’s benefits are only for the chosen few? We’re not finding that.”

“Take a look close to the end of the document, where it talks about the Chosen Ones.”

I found the section fairly quickly. And it did indeed mention that a small group of orphans would be chosen just before the train arrived at its final destination.

“But,” said my friend, “The contract specifies that the ones chosen would be descendants from the original railroad workers. It even lists their family names.” (Those were the workers who built the railroad system in the old days.)

“My friends,” replied the conductor, “Have you never before seen figurative, symbolic language? The mention of those families is merely symbolic of the chosen ones now in modern times. That makes sense, doesn’t it?”

I didn’t want to say “yes,” because honestly it didn’t make sense to me. But I also didn’t want to disappoint the conductor, so I didn’t know how to respond and stared, grinning at him. My friend, however, responded brilliantly for both of us.

“I think I understand what you’re saying,” he said. And the conductor, apparently satisfied with that answer, walked away.

[Tune in next time for part 3.]

Link to location on Amazon to download the whole story: Here.

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