Do you know last year, when I thought I was going to have a child, I'd decided to have it brought up a Catholic? I hadn't thought about religion before; I haven't since; but just at that time, when I was was waiting for the birth, I thought, 'That's the one thing I can give her. It doesn't seem to have done me much good, but my child shall have it.'
EVELYN WAUGH, Brideshead Revisited
Once upon a time, there was a man who had two sons. The younger son said to the father, "Father, give me my share of the property that is coming to me." So, the father divided his property between his sons and gave the youngest son his due. The youngest son gathered all that he had, abandoned his father, and set off for the far country.
The youngest son had a good time in that far country squandering his wealth on gambling, wine, and whores. In short time, the son was broke and a severe famine hit the country. Starving, the son hired himself out to feed pigs, and the son envied the slop of the pigs wishing to feed himself on their portion. Seeing how pathetic he was, the son said to himself, "I am a fool. Even my father's hired hands have a better life than this. I will return to my father and see if he will hire me as one of his servants."
So, the youngest son set off to return to his father's estate, but when he returned, he saw the fields were barren. His father's house was falling apart, and he went into the house to find his father collapsed on the floor.
"Father! What has happened to you?!"
The father turned over and looked at his son.
"Wine has happened to me, son. How about fetch me another drink?"
The son was disgusted at seeing his father in such a deplorable state.
"Where is my brother?"
The father pointed to the other room. When the son entered, he saw two whores laying in a bed and his brother passed out face down naked in a puddle of his own vomit. The younger brother wretched at the sight.
"Father, what has happened here? What is the meaning of this?"
"Well, son, we were so devastated at your leaving that we started to wonder what we were doing wrong, and your brother and I came to the conclusion that we were too hard and strict in our ways. We worked too hard and were too thrifty. We were too severe with our praise of virtue and condemnation of vice. So, we decided to become more like you and indulge ourselves in the good living we are sure you found when you left us. I, for one, am happy that you are returned because my wine goblet is now empty. Do you think you could pour me another drink?"
A look of horror and disgust crossed the son's face.
"Pour your own drink you stupid old bastard."
With that, the youngest son left his father and brother to return to that far away country to feed the pigs once more. And he wept bitterly for what once was but is no more.