Much More Than A Phoenix Chair

pensive ethnic kids in window of shabby train

( Intermediate Level )

Jannatul had a dream. A dream to make life better for his younger brother, Abanish, and his mom, Barsha. His father had died shortly after he turned eleven years old and he became the man of the house.

Unfortunately, Jannatul couldn’t attend a school like most his age. He had to work and earn money to help his mother.

He worked odd jobs around his village. Anything from cleaning out livestock pens to helping pick vegetables from the farmer’s fields.

It wasn’t easy for such a young boy to sacrifice his childhood for this. It was his responsibility being he was the eldest child.

What he remembers about his father wasn’t much. He did remember him going to work early in the morning and not returning until late at night.

His mother always told him he needed to slow down and take care of himself but he never listened. “ I want to give our children a better life than we had, Barsha. I want them to dream bigger than we could.”

Those are the last words he remembers his father spoke. Now he has this burden on his shoulders.

Jannatul had befriended an older man in his village, Sharmin, who taught him a lot about the world. “If you are to succeed in this world you need to keep moving forward no matter what obstacles are in your way.”

Sharmin hadn’t any children of his own nor had he married. His grandfather taught his father the art of furniture making which his father then had taught him.

Now, he designed beautiful crafted wood furniture, by hand, like the generations before. He lived a great life but never had the opportunity to have a family of his own.

Sharmin saw something in Jannatul that sparked his interest. He hired him to help in his shop. Cleaning the shop floor after a full day’s work.

Jannatul would show up early so he could watch Sharmin put the finishing touches on the masterpiece he worked on that particular day.

How beautiful,” he would say as he ran his hands over the intricate carvings on the wood. Each piece being one of a kind which made his products so popular with customers from all over the world.

“If you want I can teach you as my ancestors taught me. It is a craft that will soon be gone. Modern automation is detrimental to my craft. Pieces of furniture can be made by the dozens in one day as one of mine may take months.”

“I will be honored to learn such a craft. As you know I have my mom and younger brother to look after.” Sharmin smiled knowing this could change young Jannatul ‘s future.

“Well, next week I have another piece I have to start. It is hard work and it is not glamorous work but the end product is a masterpiece crafted by your own hands.”

I will be here! What time?” Jannatul couldn’t wait to run home and tell his mom of this opportunity. “Be here at eight in the morning sharp. We will decide which pieces of timber to use and then begin.”

Over the following months, Jannatul learned as much as he could. Asking many questions hoping he wasn’t too much of a bother. He soon learned Sharmin was more than happy to take the time to answer all his questions.

Every night, when Jannatul returned home for dinner, he explained to his mom what he had done during the day. Much of what she never understood. She was amazed at his enthusiasm.

It made her heart skip a beat to see a smile on his face, once again, since his father passed. She hoped she would have the opportunity to thank Sharmin for taking such an interest in her son.

Sharmin paid him handsomely for his work and Jannatul learned a craft in his spare time. He insisted Jannatul return to going to school and keep his grades up. He could work in his shop after school and on weekends.

Within the week their chair would be finished. They had worked on it for over four months. It was a beautiful high back chair with a phoenix bird carved at the headrest area. The ends of each arm and each leg were sculpted into the foot and claws of this regal bird.

“I would like my mom to see our finished piece before it gets shipped off. I want her to see what I had helped to create,” he asked Sharmin. “Sure, “we will put the finishing coat of varnish on Saturday and it will need a day to dry so have her come by on Sunday.

“Mom, Sharmin said you can come by the shop Sunday and see the chair that we have worked on the last few months. It is my first piece and I would love for you to see it. There will never be the first piece again,” he asked over dinner.

“Of course, I will. I have wanted to talk with Sharmin and thank him for everything he has done for you. He has made not only enriched your life but made ours better.”

The final coat of varnish was applied and the chair was left to dry overnight. Awaiting its grand reveal to Barsha the next day.

Jannatul was anticipating the moment when his mom could see it. It sounded silly to others but it meant a lot to him. He knew his father would be proud of it and him.

“Hurry Mom, I told Sharmin we would be at the shop around nine. Abanish, get your shoes on. Lets go.” he said with eagerness.

They had around a thirty-minute walk to the heart of the village. With Jannatul heading the pack they arrived in less than twenty. Barsha smiled as she heard the two brothers talking about the chair.

Sharmin was waiting outside the shop sipping on his morning cup of coffee. He smiled as the trio approached. “Good morning my apprentice.” as he looked at Jannatul. ” Ma’am. And who’s this young one?”

Jannatul quickly introduced his mother and his brother to Sharmin and ran into the shop.

Sir, I wanted to thank you personally for everything you have done for my Jannatul. He was at such a loss when he lost his father. He lost his smile. You have given this back to him.”

“The pleasure has been all mine. I needed another set of hands around the shop and he is such a quick learner. Always asking, always inquisitive,” he said with a smile on his face.

Jannatul came out of the shop wanting to see what was taking so long. “Come on you three. Hurry! I want you to see our chair!”

They entered the shop and Barsha stood in awe. She, like Jannatul, ran her hand over the beauty of the craftsmanship. “What a beautiful chair. What a beautiful Phoenix. Sharmin, you are magnificent.”

No ma’am, We are,” he said as he put his arm around Jannatul ‘s shoulders. “Your son helped create this chair.’

“What he doesn’t know is that we made it for you. There will never be another first for him, like this one, so once I have seen how excited he was in learning I had no doubt in my mind this chair belongs to you.”

Jannatul looked up and then threw his arms around Sharmin. “Thank you, sir.

Written By: Angel

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Thoughts From Angel:

I personally love it when I receive gifts that are handmade. The love that goes into it has much more meaning for me.

If You Appreciate what I do and want to support me:


man of the house – noun: the male family member who has the most responsibility for taking care of and making decisions about the household

livestock – noun: farm animals regarded as an asset

sacrifice – verb: giving sometimes unwillingly

eldest – adjective: oldest member

burden on his shoulders idiom: being something to deal with 

befriended – verb: act as a friend to someone by offering help or support

obstacles – noun: something that blocks one’s way

one of a kind – phrase: unique

automation – noun: automatic system for manufacturing or other production process

detrimental – adjective: tending to cause harm

glamorous – adjective: having beauty or being attractive

more than happy – idiom: very pleased or happy / willing

enthusiasm – noun: intense enjoyment, interest, or approval

skip a beat – idiom/ informal: used to say that someone is suddenly very surprised, excited, or nervous about something 

handsomely – adverb: to a large or generous degree; substantially

sculpted – verb: create or represent (something) by carving

regal – adjective : majestic

varnish – noun: resin dissolved in a liquid for applying on wood, metal, or other materials to form a hard, clear, shiny surface when dry

enriched – adjective: to improve quality

eagerness – noun: enthusiasm

inquisitive – adjective: curious

stood in awe – idiom: you have a lot of respect for someone or something

Question ( s ):

Store bought or handmade, which do you prefer?

Do you know any craftsman? Which are their crafts?