Here is brandochunderdarksea’s beautiful rendition:
Niall stood hunched over the bench surveying the chair on its side. The chair had a lattice pattern of lovingly carved cherry wood shot through with elements of ivory and ebony. The twisted chessboard of the back flowed down to a curved seat, with bracings disguised as curves as well. Niall held the oil rag he was polishing and inspecting the individual pieces of the chair with nervous fingers. And as all master craftsmen, he was talking to his work.
“I’m not ready yet. Give me a minute.”
The chair didn’t speak back, but impatience seemed to strike the air.
Niall leaned forward and brushed off another speck of nonexistent dust with his oil rag. He then sighed and picked the chair up, turning toward the shop door holding the chair. Then he stopped and turned back toward the finishing bench, far away from the sawdust and sharp tools of the shaping, carving, and detailing benches across the room. He set down the chair next to the desk that was being sold together as a set to the wealthy merchant standing out in the shopfront talking to his wife.
“I said I’m not ready.”
His apprentices hurriedly covered their laughs as old Niall put down the chair and inspected the black oak desk, wiping and peering. Looking for mistakes. Finally, Niall sighed and said to the desk, “I suppose it isn’t even worth it to say I’m sorry. In fact, I’m disappointed I even mentioned it.”
The desk, obviously frustrated with the old master crafstman holding up his day of glory, spoke up as if an adolescent to a protective father “It’s time.”
“I told you I’m not ready yet,” said Niall, taking on the air of a
rebuked parent. The desk would have rolled its eyes if its creator had given him any.
“You think I’m a coward.”
“You’re afraid!” shouted the desk. And as always, Niall knew it to be
true. He was always afraid of giving away his best pieces, what if they weren’t cared for by those fat merchants?
“You were always harder on me that I was on you,” said Niall to the
ungrateful desk, who had been sculpted with care. The desk just didn’t appreciate all that Niall had given him. Why didn’t it understand how hard giving him away was?
“You’ve always been the weak one,” said the desk under his voice.
Indignant eyebrows shot up in Niall’s face. He looked out toward his
wife, whose face had started to flick towards the shop door, wondering what took her husband so long to collect the chair and send the apprentices to carry the desk. She really didn’t care about the
crafting, just the selling.
“Nobody sees that but you,” Niall said bitterly to the desk, afraid that everyone in town did know how much he hated to sell his art.
“Who else is there that matters?”
“Nobody,” laughed Niall nervously, thanking God that at least the art
understood the relationship between the crafter and his pieces. Nothing else mattered, just the art. If the piece thought it was time for Niall to let go, then probably he should stop worrying.
“Did we get selfish after all? We tried to give them so much, but I
think, in the end, we got selfish.” This piece had been more than the
customer paid for, and Niall suspected that the fat Olive merchant
wouldn’t know that. But Niall knew, and the art knew.
“You’ve always cared more about that than I have. You gave us up a long time ago. Why fight it now?” The desk said, trying to sound reasonable, and meaning it. He was ready to start his new life as something beautiful out in the world, useful and prepared. Niall had prepared him, he was smooth and strong, and he was beautiful. He had been given Chair, a gorgeous lithe creature. What more could he be given? But Niall was kind, and worried. He always distrusted clients with his creations.
“Yes. We belong to them now.” Tossing his head toward the door, Niall
sighed at the neccesitty of selling to people who didn’t understand. But it was time, and it would never get easier.
The desk pushed just a little more. Feeling brave and projecting
assurance and love toward his elderly creator he spoke, “It’s time.”
Smiling, Niall sighed a final time. Then he patted the desk and turned toward the apprentices,