A Christmas Story by Safe Hans
Pencil Pots and Holly Wood
Once upon a time, a man had a desk on which sat a beautiful wooden pot holding his favourite pens and pencils. The man very much liked his pot, but so too did his son, an intelligent boy who grew up to gain a place at university. Perhaps fearing his pot would also find a place at the university, the man conceived a cunning and generous plan to have a similar pot made as a special gift for his son to accompany him through his new life in the wider world.
After many hours and days of searching across the land, the man found a woodturner who could make such a thing. The woodturner showed images to the man of not three, but four kinds of wood that had once grown as trees in his far-off domain. He described their qualities and offered the man four simple choices: the noble oak, the steady ash, the stately maple, and the evergreen holly.
Perhaps the man chose holly because the pot was to be a Christmas gift? Perhaps, as many have before him, he thought it a symbol of immortality or would work as a lucky charm? Perhaps he admired its delicate grace and great strength? Why he made the right choice we do not know.
Once the woodturner had made the man’s pot, he found he could not stop. Still entranced by the magic of holly, he went on to make another pot, then a cup and another cup to match it, and finally two more from some dark and unseasoned spalted holly stock, which slowly cracked and broke the spell. In the end they all turned into gifts and we hope they live happily ever after.