A ship carved in silence

The author tells a beautiful story of devotion and details to celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

Santiago Populín Such-March 19, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes
san jose barca

- Dad, will you tell me a story? But a long one, tomorrow is March nineteenth and there is no school.

Laughing, his father replied:

- You know these dates well, don't you, Juanito... Well, let's see, let me think of one while you put on your pajamas.

- Daddy, don't tell mommy, but I like your stories better, hers are a bit boring, they have no castles, no battles, no monsters, no villain to capture....

With a sly laugh, his father replied:

- I already have one, but this time it won't be about castles, battles or monsters, nor will there be a villain to catch. Today, I'll tell you a special one.

- Well, what's it all about?

- Many, many years ago, there lived in a humble village a boy of about twelve years old, very virtuous, with a big heart. Every morning he helped his father in his carpentry workshop and in the afternoons he liked to play with his friends. But this boy had a very special ability: every piece of wood or log he found, he carved it and turned it into something useful; for example, a toy, a spoon, or any other household tool.

One afternoon, while walking through the orchard, he found a large olive tree trunk that had perhaps fallen from some woodcutter's hand. He was overjoyed, for he had been looking for one of that size for some time, so that he could make himself a small trunk to store his tools. As it was a very heavy trunk, he went home at full speed to look for the wheelbarrow.

When he returned, he found the log intact and breathed deeply with great relief. On his way home, he stopped by the town market to buy something his father had ordered for him, and while waiting to be served, he heard behind him some young parents lamenting that they did not have enough money to buy a toy boat for their young son.

He recognized those voices, he knew who they were. They were a very poor family living near the river, not far from his home. On his way home, he had an idea. Instead of using the log to make his trunk, he thought of carving a boat to give to that child.

He entered his house, greeted his parents and had dinner with them. When his parents went to sleep, he silently went to his father's workshop. There, next to the log, all his tools were waiting for him under the shelter of a bright torch. All night long he carved the log, and made a beautiful boat.

When he had it ready, he sanded it down and, before the rooster crowed, he took a piece of cloth out of his pocket and used it to make the sail. The sky was clearing and before the chickens began to fuss about claiming their kernels of corn, he extinguished the torch, took the boat and returned to his room without a trace.

When sThe sun came up and while his mother was preparing breakfast, he took the boat and left in a hurry. Arriving at the boy's house, he looked out the window and saw no movement.

Relieved to have arrived in time, he left the boat at the door and ran out of sight.

In the afternoon, his mother asked him to go to the river to fill the water jugs. Tired from not having slept all night, he slowly went down to the river. As he dipped the pitcher into the river, he was surprised by the crash of a small boat in his hands.

He recognized it - it was the one he had been making all night - took it in his hands, looked up and saw a little boy with a big smile running towards him to retrieve it.

He handed it to him, and the boy said, "Thank you so much for stopping it, I thought I'd never catch it. See you later.

As he returned home, with jugs full of water and a smile on his face, he remembered some words his father had said to him months before: "Son, never forget that there is more joy in giving than in receiving".

Juanito, this story is over.

Juanito yawned, like a sleepy lion, and with his hands rubbing his eyes, he asked his father:

- Dad, what was that boy's name? He did something good and without anyone knowing it was him?

His father, smiling and looking at him with affection, replied:

- That child's name was Joseph.

The authorSantiago Populín Such

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