The Carpenter and the Little End Table

By Harrison Woodard

“I just wanted to say thank you for the stories you’ve shared on your website. My church puts on a children’s event every spring called ‘Kid Jam’ with games, contests, story-telling, and other activities.

When things got started, a group of kids would come to my booth/tent and I would read a story for them.

I…tried ‘The Carpenter and the Little End Table’. I found that it was exactly what I was looking for. I was able to get the children excited and follow along with the story quite well. I would slow down at the part ‘…covered in dust, the old carpenter saw something familiar’. Then I would stop and ask them all what they think he saw. Over half the children would say with excitement ‘the end table!’.”
Jason Cook
West Hills Baptist Church, Spiritworks Team Member
West Hills, CA

 

Once there was a young carpenter. His father was a master craftsman and had taught him how to make the finest furniture in the country.

The young carpenter decided to create a small end table for his room. He worked for several days making every little detail just perfect. It was absolutely the most beautiful table he had ever seen and he loved it with all his heart.

And then one day while the young carpenter was away; a wealthy banker came to visit. When he saw the table he just had to have it.

“It is the most beautiful table I’ve ever seen,” said the banker. “What do you want for it? I’ll pay anything!”

The salesman at first was reluctant, but when he saw the banker counting out money, he quickly forgot how much the young carpenter loved the table.

“It is worth at least $500, probably more,” said the salesman.

“I’ll give you twice that,” said the banker. “Never in my life have I seen such perfection.”

The banker carefully carried the table out to his carriage and drove off into the dark night.

The next day the young carpenter returned to the workshop.

“Father, where is my table?” asked the young carpenter.

The two searched everywhere, but the table was gone. Soon, the salesman arrived.

“Do you know what happened to my son’s table?” asked the father.

A big smile came over the salesman’s face, “I sold it for $1,000!”

He saw the disappointment in his face, “Did I not do well?”

“You did,” said the father. “Do you know who purchased the table? I wish to purchase it back.”

The salesman thought for a moment. I don’t know his name. He said he was a banker, but I have never seen him around here.”

“Very good,” said the father. “Go on and watch the store. I’ll take care of everything.”

The father walked to the back where his son was waiting. He put his arm around his son.

“Don’t worry. We will find your table,” said the father. “Get focused on your work.”

Many years passed and the father never found the table. After his father’s death, the young carpenter took over the family business and it became a major enterprise, hiring hundreds of craftsmen. He became very wealthy and known throughout the world for his fine work and generosity.

But no matter what success he had, he could never forget his little end table.

After a long and happy life, the now old carpenter was enjoying his final years. His son now ran the business. The old carpenter enjoyed the simple things in life like spending time with his grandson.

One day the two were visiting a flea market checking out the merchandise. Off in the corner of a booth, covered in dust, the old carpenter saw something familiar.

“It just can’t be,” said the old carpenter as he carefully wiped the cobwebs and dust away.

Although missing a leg and neglected for years, the old carpenter instantly recognized his little end table.

“What is it grandpa?” asked his grandson.

“This is best piece I ever made,” said the old carpenter.

“That old thing?” asked his grandson.

The old carpenter turned to his grandson with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes, “I love this table dearly and have looked for it for many years. It is perfect in my eyes.”

The grandson was confused. All he saw was a broken piece of junk.

“Come back to my workshop and let me show you what love can do,” said the old carpenter.

For several days the old carpenter carefully worked on his end table. He removed all the scars and blemishes and fixed all the broken parts. With his grandson at his side, the two perfectly restored the end table.

“Its beautiful Grandpa!”

The old carpenter put his arm around his grandson and the two admired their work.

“Let’s take it inside,” said the old carpenter.

Several days later, the old carpenter had a big banquet at his house. All the guests gathered around the little end table and admired its beauty. The old carpenter’s grandson explained how they had taken a broken piece of junk and made this perfect little table.

“Its so beautiful. I must have it!” said one of the guests.

“I’ll pay whatever price you require,” said another.

Soon the guests were bidding against each other over the little end table.

The old carpenter raised his hand and a hush fell on the room.

“Friends, thank you for your kind offers and admiration. But this table is not for sale. It was lost and neglected for many years and I never stopped searching for it. Now that it is back where it belongs, I will never lose it again. I love this little end table and it will stay with me forever.”

And so the little end table stayed with the old carpenter. Each time someone inquired about it, the old carpenter would happily recount the story of the table that was lost, but later found. It was broken, but now it was again and forever perfect.

 

The End

 

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