The Birdhouse Carpenter

Once upon a time, in a village far away, there lived a carpenter. This carpenter made lots of things, but his true passion was crafting beautiful wooden birdhouses.

The carpenter was successful, but lately had become very, very poor. For, you see, all of his neighbors already had birdhouses. Delightfully charming birdhouses. They had birdhouses in their front yards, they had birdhouses in their backyards, they even had birdhouses inside their own houses. They just didn’t need any more! And did I mention that this carpenter had SIXTEEN CHILDREN to feed?? Not easy when birdhouse demand has dwindled.

One day a stranger came to the village, and asked where he might find some birdhouses. WHY, the villagers cried, right down the road! They were thrilled to see someone who might be able to help the carpenter. And they sent him on his way. Shortly, the stranger arrived at the home of the carpenter, and knocked on the door. His slightly disheveled wife answered, surrounded by a mob of screaming children, and pointed the stranger to the shed at the back of the house. The carpenter was thrilled when the stranger explained he was in need of some birdhouses. And how many will you be needing? 1000. The wide-eyed carpenter blinked several times, and then asked, And by when? Tomorrow.

After the carpenter regained consciousness, he set to work, calling all of his children, as well as his wife into the workshop to help. All day they worked, and into the night. But by midnight, they’d only made 580 birdhouses. The carpenter explained they would have to all forgo sleep, in order to fill the stranger’s order. And work, they did. All night long and into the morning they slaved away, sawing and carving, nailing and painting. And even the littlest of the children did their share. Finally, by dawn, they were finished. Not just 1000 birdhouses, but 1004.

The family, exhausted, waited all morning for the stranger to return. When he hadn’t arrived by lunchtime, the carpenter began to worry, but waited still. All through the afternoon and into the evening, he waited patiently, until finally, the stranger reappeared on his doorstep. Looking over the heaping stacks of birdhouses, the stranger marveled at them all. The level of quality was unsurpassed. He counted each of them, and once reaching 1000, he could not believe there were 4 to spare. “Kind sir,” he praised, “You have surely exceeded my every expectation. I have come directly from the King, who created this challenge to find the best carpenter in all the land. You, sir, have won. I hereby offer you the post of Royal Birdhouse Maker, forevermore.”

The carpenter, overjoyed, accepted. And never again did his family know want.

12 thoughts on “The Birdhouse Carpenter

  1. Well, I was going to tell you how much I enjoyed your little story, but your daughter stole the show! What DID you have for breakfast? (My son made me a wonderful birdhouse, and I never have put it outside because I want it to last forever!)

  2. Love the story… love it… love the illustration. What about simple cartoon illustrations in pale colours? So if this is story one when will we see story two? How many do you think we need for a childrens book? (I mean the Royal ‘we’) :o)
    Madison – did mommy cook breakfast? My daughter loves jam on toast… strawberry jam, especially the one with big lumps of strawberry in it. :o)

  3. Christy, where were you 2 weeks ago, when I needed 35 stories for my class?????!!! I love it!

    Madison is on the Internets! Watch out world!

  4. Madison, Look how you’ve captured all these hearts w/ your hungry comment. Too cute.

    Hayden, I want that birdhouse baaaadd and will def let you know when the carpenter expands operations.

    Connie, I know – I try, but she’s got it all over me, hands down. No use competing w/ kids.

    Thanks Tracie! A friend of ours makes birdhouses & I keep hers inside too. Maddie had cheerios for breakfast, but wanted toast (we were out of bread).

    Gracias OrSo!

    Daffy, I am ready when you are. I have story upon story floating round my brain. Mommy didn’t cook breakfast yesterday. Mads had a chemistry class and we had to leave first thing to get there on time — BUT I LOVE JAM ON MY TOAST!! 🙂

    Thanks Spidey. And yes, it is mine — I’d get in trouble otherwise!

    Laura, if only I’d known… And yes, Maddie’s on the web. WATCH OUT! She loves youtube, but we only let her use it w/ supervision. Otherwise, she’s all about PBS kids and of course, SCOOBY DOO (her favorite). PS: HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUUUUUUU!!!! Hope you have a wonderful day today!!! xo 🙂

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