The Hat Maker’s Daughter
As the star glowed red and warm it looked down upon the girl their eyes met. It saw wonder and youth, questions and curiosities, a whole lifetime of adventures to be taken. With it’s final breathe it shrank down and died, scattering it’s dust across the universe, covering the girls lips and her cheeks with beauty, filling her heart with life and her eyes with light, filling her lungs with music and her mind with thoughts.
The next day she sat with her father in his workshop and watched him make his hats. He made hats for ladies, hats for men, caps for children. She sat down beside him, and taking up needles and wool she started to knit. With nothing but wool she played and weaved until she had finished a beautiful hat simple and elegant, noble and humble all at the same same. She stood and presented the hat to her father.
The hat maker admired his daughter’s work. Never before had she entered his workshop. All she found interesting were the games that other children played in the streets outside. He turned the hat in his hands wondering at where she could have learned to make something so skillfully. Carefully he raised the hat to his head and found himself marvelling at the comfort of the lining. Indeed if he had know better he would have said that the hat had simply vanished as he placed it upon his head, so comfortable was the fit.
As he stood looking down into the eyes of his daughter, his thoughts raced. He saw a whole shop filled with the finest hats all lined with this new method that his daughter had perfected in the space of an afternoon. He saw visions of machines, inventions new chemical processes all improving, refining and enhancing the experience the hat wearer would recieve. His mind was racing. He couldn’t stop it. His hands began to shake and slowly he was able to raise them to his head and with a gasp remove the wonderful hat.
Excitedly, nervously he started to babble. Wide eyed he took his daughter’s shoulders, drew her towards him and hugged her. Tomorrow they would order all the things they needed. They were going into business. From that day on, they would be famous! They ate an evening meal together, and sat down around the fire to tell stories. The hat maker told the story of her mother and the little girl told the story of her dream.
“Last night, I dreamt I was drifting through the universe. It was peaceful and quiet. There were many stars and they were singing. They were sad because an old wise star had died but they were singing how the old start would make new stars.” The Hat maker reached out to stroke his daughter’s hair to find that she was very warm.
They went to bed and in the morning he woke to find her weak and tired with a fever. He tried everything he could think of to bring her temperature down but by lunch time he had called the doctor. The doctor, a family friend was concerned. There was nothing he could do and after several hours of powders and remedies, he finally gave up and told the hat maker to keep her cool and give her lots of fluids. The look in his eyes told the hat maker that he should fear the worst. There was nothing more that could be done.
When the evening finally came, The girl was close to death. Her skin was pale but with every passing minute, her eyes burned brighter and brighter. As her father sat by her bed, she reached up to touch his cheek and smiled. Although her touch burned as the poker from the fire he did not brush it aside instead smiling back into her eyes; hoping that perhaps whatever illness possessed her was finally lessening it’s grip. She pointed to the window and her father, thinking it would be cooler there lifted her in his arms and carried her to the open ledge. Now she was as light as a feather and steam was rising from her nightgown in the cool air.
Reaching up the girl kissed her father on the other cheek which burnt hotter than charcoal, his tears cooled the spot and he held his daughter tightly but she whispered, “Please. Father you must let go.” As he started to release his grip, he was shocked to find that his daughter no longer seemed to weigh anything in his arms. Shocked he stepped back to see her floating in front of him now her eyes burned with the light of the midday sun.
“Father do not cry, for this is not my end but my beginning.” With these words she rose through the open window becoming brighter and brighter. She rose into the sky shining brighter and brighter until finally she stopped in place, a tiny point amongst the other bright needle tips.
The hat maker could not sleep. He sat at the open window though the dark night, staring into space, searching for the star that was his daughter. The next morning, when the doctor came to visit, he could not explain what had happened to his daughter. He could only look up at the window and touch the marks upon his cheeks. As the doctor treated his marks, he wondered how his friend had disposed of his daughter’s body. He wondered if there was a risk that the disease she had suffered would appear again in others. While he worked, he looked down and saw by the fire the amazing and wonderful hat that the girl had made the day before…