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The Last Pole Carver in England

So the two of them sat down on upturned packing cases either side of the black wood-burning stove and drank the strongest, darkest tea Scabbit had ever tasted. They chatted aimlessly about this and that, about life and the wood, and the wood and life, while gradually, one by one, the birds ceased to sing and the wood grew quiet and dark all around them.

‘I had hoped one day to have a son,’ said Chindlin Bob, staring into the flames. ‘To pass on my trade, my dying craft. But my poor Mary, she was carried away with a fever, and after her there never was another.’ A tear fell from the old man’s face, and landed on the back of his claw-like hand. And in the darkness of the fire, Dick Scabbit pretended not to see it.

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