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someone chiseling a light colored piece of wood

The Pencil Box

Richard Llewellyn

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In Welsh author Richard Llewellyn’s 1939 novel How Green Was My Valley, the schoolboy Huw has just been given a finely crafted pencil box.

There was no harm in that little box. A hundred years before, a craftsman in wood had put love into his job for all men to see in that little pattern of grained woods on the lid and round the sides. There was no need for him to spend those hours, for the box was made, but that pattern was his kiss of love, and I could see his hands passing over its smoothness, feeling its weight, having joy from the look and feel of it, and slow to let it pass into the hands of a buyer….

Solomon never felt for his storehouse as I felt for that little box, and three men before me. To have pens, and pencils, and the tools of writing all your own, to see them and feel them in your fingers ready to do anything you tell them, to have them in a little house fit for them as good friends of yours, such is sweet pleasure, indeed, and never ending. For you open gently and take what you want, and careful in closing again, and you look at it before you start your work, and all the time a happy fullness inside you that sometimes will make you put out your hand to touch it as though to bless, so good you feel with it. God bless the craftsmen who give their fellow men such feelings even out of pieces of wood.


Source: How Green Was My Valley (Michael Joseph, 1939).
a curl of light colored wood at the end of a chisel
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