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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)

TITLE: The Tale of Aspen's Work
By Lisa Cox


It was the beginning of the first day and his hands were sore from carving, yet he continued out of sheer delight for what his work was creating. His name was Aspen, after a sweet but strong tree with heart shaped leaves that trembled in the slightest breeze. This was a very fitting name for not only did Aspen have a huge heart and a talent with timber, he was also the oldest living soul around. However, he was all alone in the wood and he longed for company, someone with whom he could walk with and tell stories to. And it was for this purpose that his hands worked so diligently.

He had been working for a solid week shaping and molding the little lumps of sugar wood into tiny beings. They were the mirror image of their creator and Aspen had high hopes for the life they would soon all share together.

Finally on the seventh day Aspen put down his knife and gazed at his newly finished creatures all lined up, yet still lifeless. “Sweetgums…that’s what I’ll call them,” he thought as he leaned close to them and whispered, “Today little children you shall become my companions.” With that said, he gently let his breath fall on them. And as though someone had lit a match to paper, color began to lick up their little wooden bodies and they soon were awash with life and laughter.

They seemed quite happy to see one another and raised quite a ruckus greeting with hugs and pats on the back. They were so happy at the sight of themselves that they hadn’t yet noticed Aspen, who was perched back grinning broadly at them. He thought to himself, “My work is good and I am pleased.”

Aspen spent every day with his children showing them the woods and telling them every tale he could remember. He built them little houses to live in and showed them how to till a proper garden. And when the time was right he taught them about love because you see they didn’t know about hate. Not until that terrible day.

One cloudy morning as Aspen entered the wood, he noticed how unusually quiet it all was. Not a single bird could he heard singing, nor the rush of water or happy giggles from the small houses. “Where are my children?” he called out. But there was no reply.
“Something is terribly wrong,” thought Aspen. “Come out, and find your Aspen. What has happened that you must hide from me?”

Slowly upon that invitation the Sweetgums came out of hiding and stood in Aspen’s presence. “What has happened children?” Sebastian proceeded to tell Aspen of a bitter argument that broke out during the night between two children. “And they became so angry, Aspen, until Lucas struck Aiden down…his body …” And before Sebastian could finish, Morgan interrupted him, “Aiden deserved it, he stole from Lucas!” Chloe, Aiden’s sister burst through pushing Morgan to the ground, “He did not! I tell you, He didn’t.”

Aspen watched in horror, as the companions he worked so diligently to create began to turn on one another in hate. “This is not the love I taught you! Where is my son Aiden’s body been laid?” But as Aspen uttered these words, the Sweetgums turned on him as well, hurling the same insults and stones upon him they had assaulted each other with.
Aspen cried bitterly knowing he had only one choice. Raising his hand with compassion he struck a single match and let it fall among the Sweetgums. The hands that had worked so joyfully to create, now worked in despair to destroy. The flames engulfed everything in its path quickly and completely until all that was left was the charred remains of Aspen’s work.

Aspen locked himself in his small house and grieved over his children. With pain deep in his heart he thought, “Their every inclination turned to evil and I am sad that I have worked to create them.” But lying in the corner of his worktable was a small little lump of the exact wood the Sweetgums had come from. Every day Aspen, in his loneliness, would glance at the little lump of sugar wood and then look away, until one day he carefully picked up his knife and the wood and began to work again. Just as his knife slipped gently in, a beautiful rainbow pierced the sky and on that day hope was born.

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This article has been read 870 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Maryolyn Payne08/04/06
This is an excellent writing. I enjoyed every word of it. Keep those stories coming, and I hope I will be able to recognize your writing.
Maryolyn Payne08/04/06
Excellent story. You kept this reader's attention all the way through. Keep those good writings coming, and I hope I will recognize them so that I may be able to enjoy them as much as this one.
Sincerely, Maryolyn Payne
Ann FitzHenry08/05/06
Great writing with a wonderful lesson. This is one of my favorites in beginners this week!
Lisa Vest08/05/06
Excellent job. This is simple enough for a child to understand yet it has so many layers and Biblical parallels that an adult can really "chew" on this and get so much out of it. I think you won't be in beginners very long...You are very good at capturing that fairy tale feeling. Great writing!
Trina Courtenay08/09/06
I have to agree with Ann. This is one of my favorites as well - awesome job!
Helen Paynter08/10/06
THis is really beautiful - very creative and well written. On a technical note, I think the first paragraph needs just a tiny bit of tidying up - mainly punctuation work. But that was a tiny point, and this is an excellent piece. Well done.
Teri Wilson08/10/06
Lisa, Congrats on your EC win! This story is very creative. I was captivated. Well done.
Trina Courtenay08/10/06
Go Lisa Go! Way to write - #1 in beginners, Congrats!
Stacey LaMontagne08/10/06
WOW, that was great. Very creative and heartbreaking. I loved it!
Angela Joseph08/12/06
Hi Lisa,
I enjoyed this story very much. It was simple but creative enough to make us reflect on the book of Genesis a bit more. You deserve to win. Congratulations!
AJ Dowell08/17/06
Great story and reminder that we are to be what God created us to be. Congrats!