I'll go home to my parents, confess what I've done
And I'll ask them to pardon their prodigal son.
And, when they've caressed me as oft times before
I never will play the wild rover no more.
~The Wild Rover, Traditional Irish Song
Forgiveness is one of the hardest lessons in life. The Parable of the Prodigal Son or the Lost Son tells the story of a foolish young man who squanders his fortune with high living only to end up impoverished as a swineherd. When he begins to envy the pigs he is feeding he decides to return to his father and ask forgiveness. His father embraces his son because he was lost and is now found, was dead and is now alive. The subject has been popular in art. A Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur shows the son leaving his father in finery only to be reduced to herding pigs in rags. The Lost Son was given a Symbolist treatment by French painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898). Italian Surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978) depicts the prodigal son as mannequin-like hybrid figure welcomed by a ghostly father who has stepped down from a pedestal to forgive his wild rover.