For Sadje’s What Do You See? photo prompt.
I try to resist the temptation to reuse a story, but now and again one begs to make a second appearance. This is a reworking of a longer tale I wrote in June 2009.
He had a little wooden workshop at the bottom of the garden. I don’t think anybody ever saw inside, except his wife who wandered down now and again with a mug of tea.
I remember as a child hearing sawing and hissing as I walked past, I even climbed the fence once, hoping to peep through a window, but I couldn’t see anything through the dusty glass pane.
Every Christmas each of the children in the village found a little wooden toy in the stocking they’d hung from their bedpost. We were told that Santa made it, especially for us. A little car, an animal or a wooden whistle. Little did we know where it really came from.
The years passed by and many of us had children of our own. The tradition of the toys was enjoyed by a whole new generation.
He lived to a good age and carried on working in his workshop until he died. On the day of his funeral, several of us were invited to visit his little wooden workshop.
For the first time in our lives, we saw inside. Hammers, chisels and screwdrivers hung from the wall. Pots of paint lined up like soldiers along the shelves. A lathe on a bench, and saws of every shape and size below.
In the centre, sitting on trestles was a coffin. It was no ordinary coffin. It was intricately carved with smiling kiddies’ faces, many of which seemed strangely familiar! It was a riot of colour and sitting on top was a wreath of wooden flowers.
Later at the church, we each placed one of the gifts he’d made for us on the lid of the coffin.
It was probably our imaginations playing tricks, but in a quiet moment, we thought we heard the faint sound of sawing and the hiss of sandpaper on timber.