The Coffin Maker

Many, many years ago, there was a young man whose job was to make coffins. He had been a carpenter’s apprentice when his master had taken a commission for a coffin. The master believed the task was beneath his talents and assigned it to the apprentice. That led to the revelation of the young man’s true gift. Upon delivering the coffin to the customer, the man was shocked to find a scene carved on the lid. The master began to reprimand his apprentice when the man stopped him. Despite the apprentice being told nothing, he had accurately depicted the wife’s death. The customer was appreciative of the memorial in spite of his grief.

Word spread, and from that day forward, people from all over came to request coffins from the young man. Years passed, and the requests never slowed. Grief was always present, but awe and gratitude accompanied it in equal measure. Visitors would stop by the young man’s workshop to see his work, and his reputation grew.

One day word reached the castle that the young man had built a coffin depicting the king’s death. When he heard this, the king was fearful that there was a plot against him. He ordered the young man brought before him in order to uncover the plot. The young man insisted he had seen the king’s death in a vision and knew of no plot to kill him.

Unpersuaded and frustrated at the coffin-maker’s unwillingness to reveal the plot against him, the king ordered the young man’s death. He was taken to the gallows and hung as the king and his court looked on. As the coffin maker drew his final breath, a stone fell from the heavens and hit the king on the skull, killing him and terrifying all present.

The prince sent soldiers to the workshop to see what might be learned from the coffin-maker’s possessions. They returned with two coffins. One was the king’s, which showed him being struck down from the sky. The other showed the coffin-maker himself, hanging from the gallows.

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