A staunch man, a marching man, a Belfast man, lies stately on his deathbed. A king, in his neat little castle, surrounded by a company of stocky, staunch, princes.
The sons have beefy arms, with faded tattoos, but their faces are melting with sobs, and they speak with the tremulous voices of little boys. Their father is thin and hard, unyielding as bog oak, and he speaks out clearly, with the authority of his years: “Go over thon Peace Wall and bring me one of their men of the cloth. I’m converting to their religion today, before I leave this world.”
Silence. Then loud sobs and hysterical protestations: “But Daddy, no, Daddy, and you a big man in the Order?!”
“My mind’s made up. Get over thon Peace Wall nigh, and bring me one of their men of God til I convert. I’m convertin’, so I am.”
The request is hurriedly acceded to. With Bible, and solemn vows, the old man follows through on his dying wish.
One of his sons wails: ‘Why, Daddy? What did you do it for?”
The old man fixes his gaze on him. “Son: it’s better that one of them dies than one of us.”