He shuffled into the kitchen, built a fire in the wood stove, warmed up day-old biscuits and boiled his coffee, good and strong. He was ready for the chores, then he would come back and check Sarah again.
As he paused on the porch steps old Spivy spied a solitary Robin, come down to herald the end of winter and the coming of spring. When the old farmer stepped down onto the path that led out to the barn, the Robin began hopping straight toward him. Curious, he stopped, but the bird did not. It hopped right up to him, unafraid, and perched on the toe of his scuffed right shoe. "Queer, queer thing!" said Spivy under his breath. He had never seen the likes of this.
The Robin pecked impatiently on Spivy's shoe as though anxious to further gain his attention, and the old farmer bent down, hands on knees, to better see. The Robin raised and turned its head sideways so that it was peering straight up from its dull eye into his. It blinked a time or two, and, totally dumbfounded at such a thing, Spivy could only gawk as a large tear emerged from the Robin's eye and fell upon his shoe. Then the bird seemed to sadly shake its head and immediately took flight.
"Trying to tell me something, I ken," Spivy muttered, continuing on toward the barn and the cows waiting to be milked. "I do wonder what . . . "
He was soon to learn. Before the first warm flush of summer Sarah took to her bed day and night so weak and coughing so hurtingly that she soon fell under the spell of a raging fever which burned Spivy's hand when he touched her forehead. None of their home remedies did ought to alleviate her desperate state. A few days later Sarah passed during the night with he dozing beside her as he held her cold hand.
"Oh my sweet Sarah," he said in a tone of profound grief. He reached to close her sightless eyes, then drew back in blackest sorrow as a large tear rolled down her lifeless cheek and moistened the tips of his fingers.