This post is part of an archive. To read the current version, we recommend “Glass (*)”
Note:Please read Glass (Part 1) before continuing / Charles is Erick’s father
“You mean the vase! I saw a purple glaze and in it the future!” As his father closed the plate, Erick pushed the hourglass completely on the crate.
Charles straightened and let the sand slowly spill though the gaps between his fingers. “It showed you a portion of time that would make a difference in your outlook. Time teaches. It forgets, destroys and advances without care or concern.
I made a vase for you because I didn’t want you to loose the family’s skills. The purple you saw was more than I expected. It indicates grand prosperity. As it turns out, your skill has far surpassed my own and soon you will gain the notoriety your abilities deserve. I took some risk for if it had shown you black I would not have forgiven myself.”
“What does black mean?”
“The glass made from the sands of time take on shades based on what they have to show you. Black will show you sorrow even death. Others I’ve discovered are purple for wealth, brown for poverty, pink for companionship, white indicates peace. Only the recipient can see the color then it disappears.”
Erick was incredulous. “How can you not make use of this power? We should be crafting everything from this!”
“What it shows you cannot be controlled! Do you want to know the coming suffering your children will endure or view your long forgotten grave? How about seeing your wife after her beauty has long faded. How can you enjoy your wine today when you know tomorrow you will suffer from a terrible fever? The burdens of this life should not be assumed until you must. Our lives are harsh and short. Enjoy what you have today and take pleasure in it.
Now put it back.”
Erick complied without another word. He replaced the wooden panel and began moving the sand back where it covered the hourglass.
“One last thing…” Charles stood as Erick finished. “You must promise not to disturb the hourglass until I am gone. Even then, I would not use the sand. Your work is as fine as can be found. You will prosper; let it be enough.”
“As you desire father. It will remain here counting the seconds until eternity.”
Erick did as he promised. The seasons of his life changed from spring to summer. Nobles, mayors, and wealthy tradesmen sought his work. They paid him well and he was able to marry well. Children followed and Charles watched over the growth of his family with great pleasure. He lived another fifteen years before his body was returned to the earth
All the while, Erick kept the secret near to his thinking. He wondered about the secrets that could be revealed. He wondered if the shape of the glass effected the fragments of time that would be revealed. Erick had plans for the sands of time and now that his father was gone he was free to test them. The warnings were understood but for Erick it was madness to have such an opportunity and fail to try it.
Only a week after Charles was laid to rest, Erick returned to the storage room. Very little had changed. The coal and sand were piled where they had always been. It took him longer to move the sand then remembered. The excitement was the same as it was years ago but he was older now. After almost an hour of work, the hidden door was uncovered. Erick took hold of the iron ring and forced the door free.
The gold hourglass was exactly as he remembered it if seeming slightly heavier. Erick set it on the floor and tried tipping it to one side. It would not rock in any direction. He brought the seats of two chairs together and hefted the hourglass between them. Erick took a small pan and placed it under the hourglass, found the bottom plate, and pushed it slightly open. The trickle of golden sand began piling up along the bottom of the pan. It took three hours before Erick decided he had enough to work into a vase.
The sand was stubborn. Flames from the furnace were strong making it difficult for Erick to get close enough to melt the sand. The molten glass gave off light beyond an orange glow. Instead it gave off a white light not overwhelming but easy and consistent. Erick spun the solidifying glass on the ends of his rods working it into a narrow-necked flask. It was an exquisite work by any standard.
When it was finished, Erick held the flask up by his fingertips. Sunlight danced and wavered through the glass but there was no color.
“Hmmm, I had no one in mind as I shaped it. Perhaps someone will see something in it that I cannot. I’ll set it along my storefront for sale.”
The very next day the apprentice to the local cobbler flew through the Erick’s shop door. “Master Erick! Master Erick! That green flask you have in your window! It’s amazing! It sounds like foolishness but I believe I saw something like a dream inside of it!”
Erick set down his tools. “Tell me then, what did you see?”
The young man spread his hands. “Well, I saw myself taking my inheritance and investing it with Kamron’s caravan group. The man is a boar and once he found out I had been given my sum he’s been pestering me continually! I’ve been ignoring him and was going to buy several sets of new clothes instead; there is a lady I’ve been working to attract. However, I saw myself lending Kamron the money and six months from now receiving close to three times as much in return! I saw it all and it felt real!
I believe the vision and now I want to purchase the flask. Tell me, how much?”
Erick couldn’t believe it. This young man was given the benefit of a hard lesson before living through it. His inheritance was saved thanks to the wisdom time’s perspective could bring. Immediate pleasure delayed for much greater gain in the future; the benefit of time!
“Six months from now your new clothes could have been food for moths but now you have the right perspective. Take the flask. There is no charge.”
That night, Erick went back to the hourglass. He siphoned off additional sand and the next morning he began work on a glass bowl. Again, the heat necessary to work the magic sand was excessive. Erick felt as if his skin cooked each time he had to approach the furnace. The finished bowl was clear and completely level; a true marvel.
“I shall set this at the edge of my highest shelf, crowded by many other works. It shall be a test of the hourglass’s unique power. I wonder who will be able to next partake of the hourglass’s power?”
Erick did as he planned. The bowl was even set behind a much more elaborate pitcher Erick had made. For almost three days, those who entered his shop glanced about or spoke with Erick, but no one ever mentioned the glass bowl. Some even commented on the glassblower’s other works, but nothing was said about the bowl.
On the fourth day, a young woman entered Erick’s shop. She was dressed well but her clothes were dirty and it looked as if the woman had not bathed for some time. Her eyes met Erick’s and filled the glassblower’s mind with pity. He knew this woman. Her husband and three year old son became sick over this last winter with a terrible fever. Both had perished and she was left alone. Her father and the church had tried to care for her but she would do nothing but weep over her loss.
She had come to beg him for a few glass needles. They were a specialty of Erick’s; now his apprentices made them from thin metal molds and open the needle’s eyes with a thin bit of metal. Erick gave them to the poor to sell. This young widow had been in many times.
Erick placed a few in her apron when something attracted her attention. Her eyes were pulled away from his almost as if they were pulled with strings. Her gaze fell to the top shelf. “What, what is…?”
He made a dismissive gesture toward the far wall. “Everything you see is for sale of course, but are you sure you can afford it?”
She didn’t respond. The widow took two steps toward the shelves then stopped. “May I see that amazing bowl you have there? Please let me see it. Please.”
“The bowl? Yes, you may see it. Let me get it down for you. “ Erick took his step stool and took the bowl down. The widow had her hands open and gently lifted it away from Erick.
“Look! Look, do you see it?!” Her brows lifted and she smiled. “There! Between the reds and the violets! I can see myself! I am beautiful again and there are arms to love me!” She had to close her eyes; dirty tears zigzagged down her cheeks. “I have a family again!”
The widow clasped the bowl to her dress. “How much?! Please, how much do you want for this magnificent bowl!?”
Erick studied her for a moment. “The bowl is yours if you will tell me exactly what you see in it.”