Monday, June 20

The Wooden Heart - IV

Click here to read this story from beginning. 

Carpenter decided to apply polish on the surface of wood. When he was polishing it, a small and sharp nook uprose from a part of fancy design tried to penetrate into his finger. Carpenter, whose experience of years had taught him to stay safe of such nooks, frequent in woodwork, detected it timely and stayed safe of it. He detected a small stain of blood in root of nook, telling that boy couldn’t manage to stay safe of the nook when he carved this. Carpenter had applied polish on the whole surface by then; otherwise he might have tried to remove the stains before polishing. 
He took the heart to carnival next Sunday and talked to many stall holders, hoping he’ll get one bronze coin. For his disappointment, even though everyone praised the fine artwork, no one expressed interest in buying it for more than one nickel coin. After a while, carpenter reduced his expectations to three nickel coins, still it didn’t help him finding a customer.

An unexpected customer came unexpectedly when carpenter had just finished his argument with a stall holder who sold toys. Carpenter failed badly in convincing him that children love such beautiful things and there might be at least one child of any rich man in the carnival who will happily buy this for two or may be more bronze coins. “If there’s any such child, you have to find him yourself!” Stall holder closed the debate with this final argument. Carpenter picked the wooden heart and was about to throw it desperately in the bag full of items shopped from carnival when he listened to a soft and feeble voice. “Are you selling this wooden heart, good old man?”

Carpenter turned to the voice. This was a young, pale-faced lady, not so rich looking by her dress. “Of course I’m selling this beautiful heart for two bronze coins but to a charming and graceful lady like you, I’ll charge only one bronze coin for this.”
“Can I see this?” Young lady asked.

“Why not, in fact this is made for such beautiful hands to hold it. I’m just a middle man whose hands don’t deserve holding if it was not impossible for this beautiful heart to reach such beautiful hands without my help. I’ll charge you only one bronze coin for this, I hope you’ll be agree with me that a bronze coin in no price for such a beauty.”
Girl held the heart in her hands. “This is awfully pretty; look at the pattern of bruises underlying this beautiful design.”

“Oh, this is just because inexpert of my assistant, persons called assistants go mad occasionally, you know.” Carpenter said hastily, he feared these bruises might cause him to lose a customer. “But I assure you these scars have no effect on durability of this gem. Hang it on a wall or to a ceiling and it’ll be a companion of life time for that place, without losing its beauty.”

“These bruises are real beauty of this heart, only if you see them from my eyes” Young lady replied with a sigh. “I can’t express in words how pretty and splendid this wooden heart is looking to me with these bruises, this is a master piece. It looks exactly like my heart; it seems like saying something to me. I wish I had a bronze coin to buy this.”

Carpenter couldn’t understand anything except last words those clearly meant customer is slipping out of his hands. “I think I have demanded somewhat more than it deserves, never mind, business is a matter of calculations and some times it becomes a matter of miscalculations. Only four nickel coins, nay, only three nickel coins for it. It may be still a bit more than its worth but I hope lady’s heart is generous enough to ignore such a slight difference.”
Young lady smiled a meek smile. “This heart is worth more than a bronze coin, if I had a gold coin, I’d have bought this heart for that coin without any hesitation.” She paused for a while “But I have no coin at the time, not even a nickel coin. I have only thing ring.” She raised her hand to show the carpenter. “This is not a very expensive ring, the metal is silver and I don’t remember anymore which gemstone is this. Even if I remembered its name, I’d have preferred to forget it. This is a burden on my fingers now and on my heart as well but I’m not sure if this will suffice as price of this heart.”

Carpenter had estimated the price of ring before lady lowered her hand with ring. This ring was worth many silver coins; forget bronze, many silver coins. He even couldn’t imagine this price for the useless piece of wood in his hand. He became sure that young lady was a either a princess or daughter of a very rich man disguised as an ordinary young lady. “By God, I have never seen such a wise generous lady on the face of Earth. Indeed this heart is worth many coins but only eyes of an art lover like you can guess its real worth, a person of wood and tools like me can’t understand its real worth. I accept this ring in exchange of this beautiful heart.”

Lady removed her ring and put on hand of carpenter who handed over the wooden heart to her. “Just tell me one thing, who made this?” Girl asked when they were both about to apart after exchange of smiles.

“My assistant made this, I’m the carpenter. Look at this heart and guess what master pieces master can make when his assistant can carve such a gem. Don’t forget me if you ever needed any kind of wooden furniture or a window or door for your magnificent home.” Carpenter answered warmly and left.

Young lady belonged to a noble, though not rich family. Her father was a farmer with his own land. He plowed his land and sustained his family for many years before listening from someone that out of world’s all wealth, nine-tenth is given to the trade and remaining one tenth is given to rest of professions. With intention of getting his share from nine tenth instead of from a fraction of one tenth, he bought trade commodities and went to far away countries with a caravan. Years passed since then, his land, home, wife and his daughter, all were waiting for his return, in vain most probably. His land was being plowed on contract, yielding a minimal income and his wife and daughter sustained on that little income.

Young lady believed in assurances of his mother that her father will return one day to marry her with a prince, with enough wealth to arrange a royal wedding that all people of town will remember throughout their lives. She dreamed of return of her father for years, before falling in love with someone and even after falling in love with him. Before falling in love she waited for her father to return and find her the prince waiting for her somewhere, after falling in love she believed she has found her prince and his father’s job is reduced just to arrangements of their marriage. Love made her face more beautiful, her heart more cheerful and her laughter more melodious. She frequently exchanged affectionate letters expressing love, passion and delicate sensations, with her lover. They both lived in world of flowers, butterflies, fireflies, rainbows and stars, they ate from the tree of love and drunk from stream love and dreamed of each other every night.

But her dreams were doomed to crush by cruel hand of fate. Her prince found a lady that could manage to look more beautiful than her with the magic of her wealth. Her prince left her, after a few months of hope and dreams and expectations and a silver ring, everything came to an end. After numerous promises of happy days, her prince left her to cry without making any sound in silence of nights. Since then, she lived a miserable life with a bruised heart having deep cuts all over. Her elegant face turned pale and lifeless, sweet voice turned to a low, hardly understandable murmur and her laughter went away with her presumed prince. Her mother observed and understood all these changes, but waiting for return of her man, she was as helpless as a queen with no country to rule over. She grieved inwardly for her husband and her daughter both and shed tears for both in solitude.

She returned home with wooden heart in hands and an unusual smile on her face. Her mother, who had advised her to go to carnival for some entertainment, was happy to see that smile and welcomed the wooden heart that made her daughter smile. They argued a little about place of wooden heart in the home and agreed upon hanging it on the wall right in front of young lady’s bed.

Heart was hung there with a thin brass chain. Young lady soon became used to stare at this heart for long periods of time. It always seemed to say something, whenever lady looked at this heart, it seemed like saying something but lady couldn’t understand what it was saying.

 (Click here to read next part of this story) 

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