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I've been trying to find this story for years. I remember reading it in Reading class as a kid (in the 1960s or early 70s). This would have been in a 4th or 5th grade reading book in New York State. It may have been in Highlights Magazine or Reader's Digest around the same time, too--I seem to recall that when I read it in school, I'd already read the story. I'm pretty sure it's an O. Henry.

The story starts with a boy leaving for work in the morning. He's been working in a factory since his father died--supporting his mother and two younger siblings. He resents it.

This morning he decides that his younger brother can take his turn supporting the family. So the older brother decides to just walk away--toward freedom. The story ends with the surprise reveal that the boy has been working so long it the factory that he is crippled (and, thus, will never be free or able to support himself any other way).

Does this ring a bell for anyone? Thanks in advance for any help offered!

  • If you're not sure about the author, I'd recommend not using the author tag - it could after all be by a different person. So unless you're 100% sure about the author, I'd advise against using an author tag on a Story-ID. Thanks :) Nice question BTW, although we could use some more details - when did you read it? Where did you read it? What language?What format (ebook, print, etc)? Any detail can be helpful, no matter how small you may think it is! – Mithrandir Sep 25 '17 at 14:56
  • thanks, Mithrandir. I'll change the tag back again (I undeleted your deletion because I didn't understand and thought we might have been adding it at the same time). I'm pretty sure it's O. Henry though – Robin Blythe-Nicathain Sep 25 '17 at 14:58
  • @RobinBlythe-Nicathain I had a look with no success in this complete works books.google.co.uk/… you may do better at recognising it if it was O Henry. – Spagirl Sep 29 '17 at 1:55
  • @Spagirl thanks! I'll check it out – Robin Blythe-Nicathain Oct 10 '17 at 16:58
  • Some of the details resemble "The Apostate" by Jack London – Quassnoi Jan 29 at 7:21

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