Les Miserables It was a quiet sunny day. The cold steel gate of a prison creaked open, releasing a tired man with a long beard. You are free to go, Jean Valjean! Jean Valjean had been in prison for 19 years. Slowly, he raised his eyes to the sun, which he hadn’t seen in so many years. Freedom. I am free at last. Jean Valjean returned to the small French village where he grew up. Hungry and exhausted, he went to a restaurant hoping for a little food. Where is the owner May I eat here.
Wellonly if you can pay. Of coursehere. Jean Valhean had made some money in prison, and he showed it to the Restaurant Owner. Very welltake a seat. At that moment, an elderly man dining at the restaurant called out indignantly What is going on here! Owner! That man is a convict! A convict Really A convict Where The other patrons began to murmur nervously amongst themselves. This is unacceptable Are you saying we should eat beside a dangerous convict If this is the case, I will leave at once! Noplease stayat least finish your dish.
The Restaurant Owner was hesitant, but he finally resolved to remove Jean Valjean from the restaurant. I am sorry, but I can’t let you stay. I have to ask you to leave. You are ruining my business! Get out! Oh, what an unlucky day for me! Still hungry, Jean Valjean tried another restaurant and met with the same cold reception. But I am not a violent criminal! It makes no difference to me. I will not serve an exconvict. Facing such rejection and discrimination, Jean Valjean felt desperate and miserable. Jean Valjean knew that he had once been a good man.
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He had lived with his widowed sister and her young children. They were very poor, and although he worked very hard, he could never make enough to support all of them. It broke his heart to see his little nephews lying in bed, weak with hunger. Poor childrenthey don’t even have the strength to cry anymore He tried his best to find a job, but times were hard and no one would hire him. He was filled with despair at the thought of his starving family. If only I could give my nephews some of this bread.
Thief!! Stop him! He’s a thief!! Before he could stop himself, he snatched a loaf of bread ran He hadn’t gone far when he was caught by the police. Please let me gomy sister and my little nephews are starvingPlease, OfficerPlease understand. I am not a criminal! Worried about his family, Jean Valjean had tried to escape from prison many times. He was caught every time and his sentence was extended as punishment. It had started as 3 years, but soon became 10, then 15, and finally 19 years. Thrown out of his hometown, Jean Valjean wandered through the darkness and the drifting snow.
I only took the bread because I couldn’t watch my nephews dieI’m not a violent criminal Worn out by hunger and despair, and chilled by the freezing wind, Jean Valjean collapsed in the street. He would have frozen to death, if he had not been discovered by a kind Catholic priest. Wake up, young man! You will die of cold out here! When Jean Valjean came to himself, he thought about telling the priest his story, but he stopped himself. Oh. Father. No, if he learns the truth he will just cast me out like everyone else.
The kindhearted priest took pity on Jean Valjean and gave him some warm food. Here, help yourself. Oh. father. Thank you. It’s okay, you don’t have to rush! I have plenty of food for you The priest was so generous and good to him, that it made Jean Valjean feel guilty. Father! I must tell youI am a terrible sinnerI should have told you right away.but Do not upset yourself, my son. You have repented of your sins and been forgiven. You have served your sentence. You are free now, and can begin a new life.
Do not give yourself up to hatred and despair. Herehave some more food. As the priest spoke, Jean Valjean could not take his eyes of the sparkling silver plates the maid had brought in. Those plates must be real silver, worth a fortune! Just one must be worth more than twice what I made in prison in 19 years! That nigh, the thought of the silver plates kept Jean Valjean awake. How can I betray him when he has been so hospitable to me But the world is so unjustthe old man will survive without those plates, and what about me.
I work just like everyone else, and get nothing in return! Why shouldn’t those plates be mine! After everyone had gone to sleep, Jean Valjean snuck up to the cupboard holding the plates. Giving in to his darker instincts he grabbed three plates and ran off into the night. The following morning, the priests maid burst into his room as he prepared for morning mass. Father! Something dreadful has happened! What has happened, my child Three of the silver plates have vanished! What I know that exconvict has taken them.
But where is he now I checked his room. The bed is empty, and he is gone. He has run off with the silver plates. We must call the police right away! To the Maid’s surprise, the Priest only smiled. You will tell no one. What I owed that silver to the needy. God has helped me to see the futility of my own greed in wishing to serve my guests on silver plates, while people starve. The maid was confused, but she could not disobey her master. Jean Valjean was stopped by the police when he had to show his travel pass.
Ah, a yellow pass! You are an exconvict! Jean Valjean was worried when he remembered the silver plates in his bag. What’s that you have in your bag Oh.nothingjust old clothes and dishes Let me see that! Stop right there, thief! What possessed me to do this! Jean Valjean was arrested for stealing once more. The police came to speak to the priest when he was having diner that evening. Father, we have some questions for you. Father, do you recognize this man Before the police officer could continue, the priest rushed forward and took Jean Valjean’s hands.
My friend! I have been waiting for you! Both Jean Valjean and the Police were shocked and confused by the Priest’s reaction. The Priest picked up a silver candlestick from the table and handed it to Jean Valjean. You forgot to take this. Don’t you remember I gave you this candlestick along with the plates yesterday, when you promised you would become an honest man Father Do you mean, this man did not steal your silver plates Of course not, they were my gift to him. Is this true The policemen could tell something was not quite right,.
But they had no choice but to believe the priest’s story. Jean Valjean was deeply moved by the priest’s kindness, and tears of remorse filled his eyes. FatherI will never forget this. How can you forgive someone like me Do not throw your life away for a moment of temptation. I will carry your words in my heart forever, Father. Remember, the law punishes sinners, but love saves them with forgiveness. Why don’t you set aside blame and despair and live your life guided by love True to his vow, Jean Valjean carried the Priest’s words in his heart always.