The whittling man.

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

In the stillness of a clearing within the forest, sat an old man. His hands gnarly as the bark of the ancient trees that surrounded his solitude, the tan sacked clothing could have made him appear to be just a small rocky outcrop, covered in moss. Trance like he sat, unmoving except for the hands which with the help of a small blade, expertly shaped and shaved the bone of some now forgotten creature. On a small table which lay before the doorway of his small wooden cabin was a collection of his carvings. The bone stood out in stark contrast to the dark wood of the table top, each piece showed the level of skill the man had. For as long as anyone could remember, one of the local merchants would come to purchase his work, bringing food or supplies. Each would find the man in the same place, as they entered the clearing he would stop his work and watch as they approached. Silently he would wait as they selected the pieces which caught their eye. Before they could raise the question of price, his voice would whisper around the glade like a soft wind. He spoke only a number, indicating the trade would conclude after they were placed in the small bowl by his side. With a slight nod he would then return to his creation, as the coins were deposited. Today the wind was warm as the young man entered from the woodland path, he had heard of the old man deep in the woods, and figured he could gain a profit from the old bones. He moved over to the tablewares, all the time sizing up the craftsman. With a flourish he drew out a bag and placed a few choice pieces, and as he pulled the bag closed, "14" voiced the carver, tapping his bowl with the knife. The young man strolled towards the pathway and laughed back towards the figure. "Your foolish to live so deep in the woods, nobody to watch over you are your work." A new fresh collection of bone lay next to the man later that day, the creatures meat stripped clean. Each piece of unpaid work removed from the bag, and returned to its rightful place.

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