His fists came down harder than usual this time as he beat his son Fredrick down to the ground. Fredrick had done nothing wrong but his father was angry, as he most often was. Whenever he was angry he struck out at the nearest person and Fredrick was usually the most convenient victim.|
Fredrick's mother had left the room again. She could never bear to watch her husband hurt their son as much as he did. Each time her husband flew into a fit of rage against their son she wanted to stop it but her own fear of her husband's violent nature was stronger than her desire to help her son.
Fredrick and his mother attributed the father's frustrations to the barbarians who had been rumoured to have invaded some nearby villages. The father had become worried and angry about the possibility of losing his farm, and he vented these frustrations through beating Fredrick.
One day the rumours of the barbarians became reality as the horde swept into the village on their blac horses. Fredrick and his parents were in their field working during the invasion and when they saw the black horses flooding the streets they knew the barbarians had come to claim their village. Fredrick's father was in a fury and ready to fight in defense of his land, but he knew he could never take on the mass of barbarians alone. He ordered Fredrick to run to the house to get their weapons so they could fight together but Fredrick had no intention of fighting.
"No, I won't do it! I'm not going to get myself killed, not for you," Fredrick yelled at his father. With those words came his fists father's fists into his face and Fredrick was knocked down into the dry dirt of the field. When Fredrick looked up he saw his mother on her knees crying into the palms of her hands which covered her face. His father was running to their house to get weapons.
The father searched desperately all through the house for his weapons and found only a small sword. It would have to do because he was running out of time. He was panicking wildly by this time, losing faith in himself and his ability to defend his land but he still had to try. He expexted to be able to force Fredrick to fight with him but upon running back out to the field he found only his wife weeping on the ground. Fredrick was gone.
"Where has Fredrick gone?" he asked his wife.