Cheapening the Gift

She came to my table from an adjacent vendor at the farmer’s market. I had many turned, wooden items that you might want to use in your kitchen or in your garden. Among the items were some weed pots, small pieces I had used for practice. I could either consign them to the wood stove or sell them for a small amount.

One particular weed pot, made from burnished Russian olive, caught this woman’s eye. She finally said, “I have spent all my money, will you sell me this for $1.00 instead of the $2.00 marked price. I consented, feeling like sharing the beauty of my turnings with even someone who couldn’t afford it.

A few moments later I noticed this woman at another table, wad of bills in hand, buying polished rock lawn ornaments. “OK,” I said to myself, “I’ve been had.”

Some hours later, it struck me that the real loss was on the part of the woman. She had admired the weed pot, but all she walked away with was a bargain. In her deception, she exchanged a thing of beauty for a monument to her ability to deceive. My weed pots had been inexpensive, but what she had was now only cheap.

Ellis Hein

About Ellis Hein

I am a woodturner and the author of The Woodturner's Project Book. I have a life-long interest in the gospel preached by George Fox and the early Quakers. You can see some of my material on that subject at
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