James sat on the porch his father built six years ago. A lot of the planks had started to rot, and there were fewer places to sit comfortably than there was some years earlier. Finding a spot to sit at the edge of the stairs that was still relatively smooth, James was leaning the side of his body and head against the support pole to his right. The sounds of his father chopping wood echoed through the forest surrounding their house, and James’ eyes were forced to blink with each swing of the axe. There were families in their village that didn’t have to chop wood. Smart families who had filled their homes with gadgets and tools allowing them to complete some of these basic tasks much easier. From his position on the porch, James admired the grit and determination involved in splitting logs for their nightly fire while simultaneously harbouring resentment for the act. He vowed to make sure that his own family never had to live such primitive lives.
Eventually, they gave in and bought the gadgets James demanded for so long. James’ father spent a great deal of time assembling their new possessions over the course of two days and, as a consequence, didn’t spend any leisure time with James or his mother. When everything was assembled, and the family were finally able to sit down and enjoy the warmth and other comforts the gadgets provided, James’ father was so exhausted that he went to sleep earlier than usual. In the morning, while James lay in bed, enjoying the warmth contained in his bedroom, he heard his father wake up early, get his jacket on and leave the house for work. Although the house was now warm, the water boiled easier and there was more time for James and his mother to spend together, the home felt colder and lonelier than before.
If the warmth stopped, someone would have to be called to fix it, adding to the hours that James’ father had to be away from home. The axe, left out in the yard for many seasons, had a brittle handle and a rusty head. James and his mother struggled to enjoy their time together, so James had taken to putting on his hooded jacket and walking through the forest. Once, while exploring the many tracks branching out from their yard, James rediscovered a swing that his father had built for him. It hung from the outstretched branch of the tree with two ropes. The seat was made from a short, thick plank of oak with two holes carved out on either side to tie the ropes through. After a long while, James realised he had been watching the swing gently move in the breeze. He walked over and ran his hands along the knots in the rope before sitting down and pushing himself back and forth. If only there were a gadget that would push me on the swing, James thought. In an instant, he felt a surge of energy through his body, and he ran back to his house. Rain started to fall on his jacket, and James tilted his head back to feel the fresh droplets on his face. He bent down to pick up the axe, testing its weight in his hands. James knew that any logs around him were no longer suitable for their fire and that he would need to chop down a suitable tree if he wanted some wood for the fire.
Just as his father was walking up the road in his black and red jacket, James swung the axe into the tree with a tremendous crunch, forcing his father’s eyes to blink.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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