"The Veteran" features Henry Fleming as a grandfather, many years after he appeared as the 18-year-old Yankee first-time soldier in The Red Badge of Courage. He retells the story succinctly and honestly about how he ran from his first battle as so many did. His grandchild is alarmed, as children are when they learn that adults are not perfect in what they do.
Fleming exhibits bravery in the story as he saves his farm animals and lurches into his barn to save what he can, despite knowing the long odds against it.
This story could well have been an afterword to The Red Badge of Courage. The last paragraph is well worth the listening: "When the roof fell in [the barn], a great funnel of smoke swarmed toward the sky, as if the old man's [Fleming's] spirit, released from its body - a little bottle - had swelled like the genie of fable. The smoke was tinted rose-hue from the flames, and perhaps the unutterable midnights of the universe will have no power to daunt the color of this soul."
Public Domain (P)2010 Christina Brown