Upon his death bed the old man lay there turning grey before their eyes. He dismissed them asking they return one at a time as he asked for them and so his gathering of family and friends complied with his wishes.
Each time one left another was called to his bed side. Each parted with a ghostly expression as though they had just given grave news as if oaths had been sworn.
Finally a newly announced widow was the last to leave his side. Amid howls of weeping anguish she abruptly yelled out, "He was having three affair and living with me!" They all gathered about to comforted the horrid expressions of the grief stricken woman.
After many moments of shedding tears the eldest son announced, "Father... He told me.. he had killed a man in his youth, just before he married you mother. He hid his body by the river near your parents house, and that was the first time he ever saw you."
A hush fell upon everyone in the room. The old man's only daughter gave up her father's death bed confession next with, "Father told me, that after he met you mother he stole a man's horse, sold it and that was how he paid for your wedding; the money was not from the gambling winnings after all."
One by one the stories unfolded of a character no one ever knew. Even the old man's brother divulged, "I never knew that our aunt was really his mother and our father loved his own sister."
The last to speak in the silence was a grandson beamed a shaky smile, "He told me he loved me best."
Everyone burst into tears of a different kind. For as the evening had worn on and died down into dusk better stories of heroism and a lifetime of caring deeds surfaced by all as well. Even his widow said, "Maybe he should not have released so many secrets. but in the end he was who he was, and much loved in the open, scared and sad as he was inside."