The Little Wooden Box
Kate

Part 1



   The stormy night was black and cold
The sky was big and scary
An old man huddled in a cave
His toes were long and hairy
His naked chest was taut and grey
His long white beard was dripping
Onto the little wooden box
His shaking hands were gripping

A lightning bolt did strike the ground
His face illuminated
His eyes, though mad and scary wild
Seemed strangely quite elated
Upon his chin a string of spit
Solidified and lingered
While all the time the little box
He clutched and carefully fingered

His greying hair was thin and long
His teeth were all decaying
Inside his rags, forlorn and ripped
A thousand lice were playing
His crumpled brow was sad and tired
Upon neat gin he choked
And breathed the fumes upon the box
He very gently stroked

The smallest toe on his left foot
Did sit inside his shoe
Besides it others nestled
There was nothing else to do
And on his legs, his ancient knees
Did straighten up, then fold
While in his hand the little box
The old man did still hold

A stray hair on his wrinkled chest
Did quiver in the breeze
And deep inside his nostrils
Lay the remnants of a sneeze
His creaking spine was worn with age
His cold cheek lay untouched
And bent towards the wooden box
His frail fingers clutched.

Inside his mind were layers of dust
His heart was filled with mud
And through a labyrinth of veins
Coursed many pints of blood
Above his head, encased in dirt
His withered halo hung
And shone upon the little box
To which his digits clung

Around his head some goblins flew
All holding hands and singing
And in his ears he heard the sound
Of ringing bells and pinging
The rainbow in the sky above
Grew wings and gently flapped
In 4:4 time to match the box
On which his fingers tapped

Behind his eyes a mustard field
Grew fingers and a beard
And baby badgers dined on soup
It really was quite weird
A million tadpoles stood in line
To see a pheasant freezed
Whilst marvelling at the wooden box
The old man carefully squeezed

And in the dankness shone a shark
With teeth like loaves of bread
All this and more, and yet far less
Went on inside his head
A squirrel, from the highest branch
Made strings of pearls by day
And threw them at the old man's hands
Inside which the box lay

An ocean knit from finest mist
Did rise and fall like steam
Amidst a parasol of light
That echoed like a dream
The rainbow-shaped bright smile of joy
Confounded all who knew
Just what the little wooden box
Could actually do.

And from the North an awesome wind
Did start to blow a blizzard
The old man raised his eyes and was
Confronted by a wizard
With long black cloak and beard of snow
And wand held straight and proud
The wizard eyed the little box
And to the man he bowed

"My name is Mr Wizard
I'm a wizard, did you guess?
Now please don't look so worried
I don't mean to cause you stress
It's just that little box of yours
Intrigues me like no other
It's just the same as one I had
That was stolen by my brother."

And though his bones were frozen and
His feet were numb with coldness
The old man struggled to his feet
Quite overcome with boldness
He clutched the box tight to his chest
And slithered like a lizard
Across the snowy mountain top
Away from Mr Wizard

But Wizard was an agile man
Who easily outran him
He raised his wand and out came light
With clattering and banging
The old man fell upon his knees
Unable to go further
Although he knew that little box
Was going to cause his murder

The wizard was about to hit
Him with his wand and kill him
But then he took a closer look
And what he saw was thrilling
"My brother! Is that really you?"
He just could not believe it.
And he quite forgot the little box
And how he'd meant to thieve it

He looked again, and then again
And then a bit more closely
The old man stared back just the same
But slightly more morosely
Despite the filth that caked his clothes
There just was no mistaking
This was his brother, with his box
He surely wasn't faking

The wizard gave a shout of joy
And flung his arms around him
"My brother! I just can't believe
It's you, it's quite astounding!
Its fifty years since last we met,
I thought you'd gone forever.
I'm glad you've kept my little box
Oh what a fine endeavour!"

The old man clutched the box to him
He wasn't very happy
He meant to keep that little box
Not give it to this chappy
For fifty years he'd lived alone
In squalor and exclusion
To simply hand it over now
Was not the right conclusion

With trembling voice, at last he spoke
His voice was dry and croaky
"You shall not have this little box!"
His tone did not sound jokey
The wizard's smile fell from his lips
He did not look amused
"That box is mine, I'll have it back
You must have got confused."

The snow was piling up quite thick
The air was rather nippy
The ground beneath their wrinkled feet
Was growing very slippy
The old man saw his one big chance
And sprung up, mad and shouting
With one great shove he sent his bruv
Cascading down the mountain

"AAaaghh!" The wizard could be heard
Then "aagh" it grew much quieter
The old man stared with shocked surprise
He'd never been a fighter
But even though he knew he'd killed
His brother, was he shocked?
A little bit, of course. But still
He had hold of his box

The silence of the hills resumed
The man went back inside
And crouched within his little cave
With quite a sense of pride
His withered earlobes reached his neck
Which touched his chins of double
He really loved that little box
Although it caused such trouble

He sat a while and had a think
About his poor dead brother
They'd never really been that close
Or really liked each other
And it was true, he'd stole the box
He just could not deny it
He'd taken it, he'd pilfered it
Made no attempt to buy it

But did he feel bad? He did not
Despite the icy blizzard
He knew his brother was not nice
He was an evil wizard
And had he got his evil hands
Upon that box once more
It would have had a bad effect
On something, he was sure

His mind went back to childhood days
They hadn't been too happy
His wizard brother's wizard sleeves
Voluminous and flappy
And his own ragged, dirty shirt
All torn and caked in jism
It really was a simple case
Of blatant favouritism

And thus, when grown, he'd grabbed his chance
And scarpered up the mountain
With box in hand, not stopping once
To wash in stream or fountain
And so he'd slowly gone to seed
As dirt and grime got thicker
And though, with age, his body slowed
The filth had just grown quicker

His wizard brother soon became
A memory quite hazy
Then turned in to a vaguer one
As he grew much more crazy
And as the years passed slowly by
And never seemed to end
The little box he'd stolen did
Remain his only friend

These sad thoughts flitted through his brain
Like needles flit through cotton
Awakening an age-old pain
He thought he had forgotten
And from his eye a single tear
Did bubble up and spill
Onto the little wooden box
His hands had hold of still

And so he lay upon the ground
Of rocks and mud and puddles
And tried to rest his mind and find
Relief from all his troubles
His weary eye-lids drooped and closed
He breathed once, then no more
And from his hands the little box
Fell quietly to the floor

Outside the cave, the last snowflake
Did flitter from the sky
And soon the clouds did drift off and
The wind began to die
The yellow sun came up once more
Upon a sheet of blue
The cruelness of the winter giving way
To seasons new

The old man's corpse was quite alone
Except for the odd lizard
While further down the mountain
Lay the body of the wizard
Two brothers, who with heavy hearts
Had died quite prematurely
To try and get that little box
It must be special. Surely.

As years went by the poor old man
Lay quietly decomposing
'Til he became a small grey pool
With some old dirty clothes in
The box that still lay by his side
No longer had a master
But who's this coming up the hill?
I wish they would walk faster

A hundred years had passed since our
Old man had sadly croaked
And now, quite unexpectedly
Appeared some climber bloke
He'd lost his way, his map was gone
His compass he'd forgotten
And as he passed the cave he thought
He smelt something quite rotten

He stumbled in and saw the pool
It didn't smell too rosy
And then he spied the wooden box
Thank goodness he was nosey
"What can that be?" he said out loud
The moment that he spied it
"Well bless my soul! A little box!
I wonder what's inside it!"

And so he took it from the floor,
It really was exquisite
He turned it over in his hands and wondered
"But... what is it?"
The ancient clasp was rusted stiff
It didn't seem to lay right
And so he took it from the cave
To see it in the daylight

He found a little piece of rock
And used it as a lever
To try and wrench the box's lid
He almost had a fever
'Til finally, he managed it
He broke apart the clasp
And opened up the box's lid
And saw inside at last

But what he saw, I cannot tell
Alas I wish I could
But I swore I'd never say a word
If I could, you know I would
But rest assured, I'm glad you read
Through all this load of writing
And really, what lay in that box
Just wasn't that exciting

 
The Little Wooden Box
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