Grandpa and grandson walked in a park and came to a pond. There were many children who drove their remote-controlled boats. Grandson looked at the shiny boats and how the children were racing them, making waves, chasing each other’s boats. It looked like so much fun. He could hear the laughter and shouts of the other children and his heart felt heavy.
The two stood there for a good while, not speaking. The little boy knew there was no way his parents could afford to buy him such a boat. And Grandfather for sure had no chance of giving such a gift. His pension was so small that the boy’s mother had invited him to live with them. Grandpa looked at his grandson, saw the somber look on his face and felt the little boy’s envy. He looked around until his eyes fell on a bench right next to a big pine tree.
“Why don’t we sit here,” Grandpa said and started walking towards the bench. They walked together to the bench and sat down. The little boy sighed deeply, his eyes following the boats. “Grandpa, I would so like to have a boat like that,” he said quietly. “I know,” Grandfather patted the boy on the shoulders, “Sometimes life feels so unfair, I know.”
He bent over and picked up something from the ground. A big piece of pine bark had fallen from the huge tree by their bench. For a while both grandpa and grandson looked up into the deep green of the pine tree. Then Grandfather took a little pocketknife and started to carve the bark delicately. Grandson looked curiously at what he was doing. He carved the sides of the bark into the shape of a leaf; one end was pointed, the other was flat. Then, with the tip of the knife, he carefully carved a tiny hole in the middle of the bark. It was a perfectly round little hole, the boy noticed.
Grandpa raised his eyes from his work and looked around. “There—go and get me that twig on the ground, would you?” The boy hopped down from the bench and went to fetch the twig.
“Perfect,” the old man said, “straight and strong and not so dry that it would snap. Good! Now scoop some resin from the pine tree on the other end of the stick. Be careful not to get your clothes dirty!”
Grandpa had to make the tiny hole a bit larger, but soon he managed to put the stick into the hole. Some of the resin squeezed out from the hole, but Grandpa seemed pleased. Then he looked around again. “There! Bring me that twig! And some of that grass.” The little boy ran to the next twig, scooped up a handful of grass and brought it all to Grandpa. This was getting interesting. He edged in even closer and soon they were sitting there, both heads bent over what Grandpa was doing. First Grandpa cut the long twig into two. Then he made a small rope out of grass and used it to tie the first twig horizontally to the twig that was standing vertically from the bark. It formed a broad cross. Then he did the same with the other twig, this time he tied it to the base of the standing twig.