Tale #111: The Wooden Man

In the woods there stood a wooden cottage filled with wooden furniture, and inside lived a wooden man. Each summer he grew slightly taller and wider, and the leaves on his head grew into a thick dense tangle. When autumn came he shed his leaves and planed down the summer’s growth from his waist, and burnt it all on the fire to help keep himself warm through the long barren months of winter.

One spring he had a son, and he was overcome with happiness. He watched with pride as the boy grew steadily bigger and taller throughout the year. When the winter came and lingered on as it does, he could not bear to see his boy go cold, so he built the fire bigger than ever and let it burn long into each night to ensure that the cottage never allowed the chill to seep in and freeze his sapling son’s fragile young roots.

Every day, before his son rose, the wooden man would peel off his outermost layer of bark and put it on the fire. At first he noticed no difference in himself, for he was old, and big with it. But as the days turned to weeks and eventually months he became steadily thinner and frailer, until eventually there was nothing left of him but a spindly twig without the strength to move.

That morning the boy rose from his wooden bed, threw the twig onto the dying embers of the fire and stepped outside into the sun, into the glory of the first day of spring.

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Notes:

1. Written in November 2013

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