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[The recording is a
reading of the unabridged short story.]
In a southern state, during the time of the
Civil War, a child strays away from his home and into the woods. The child
becomes lost, tires himself out, and falls asleep on the ground. Several hours
later he wakes up and notices what he thinks are animals crawling through the
woods. They are wounded soldiers fleeing from battle. Earlier, these soldiers
had passed by the child while he slept. Now the battle is over and the soldiers
are moving back over the same ground. The child, without knowing the seriousness
of the situation, makes a game of it and marches in front of the soldiers,
pretending to be their leader. It is night by this time and, crossing a stream,
he sees a fire raging. He goes to the fire and makes a game of this also,
throwing sticks into the fire. Suddenly, he discovers that the fire is his own
home burning, and comes upon his mother, lying on the ground, horribly murdered.
It is then that we discover that the child is a deaf-mute.