Elya Hambuilder’s First Hambuilding Day

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Elya Hambuilder was a young person who lived in a far away village where people are named after what they do.
Elya’s family (which was just Elya and Elya’s Grandmother) built things for the other villagers out of ham and it was finally time for Elya to learn the family trade.
For two whole months, Gramba Hambuilder taught Elya everything a great Hambuilder would need to know. Then, for another two months, Elya helped Gramba Hambuilder with every job. There was one thing left to do to finish Elya’s training and it would only take one day.
“You must help all the customers today on your own. You will get better only by doing this,” said Gramba Hambuilder one morning. She then returned to her corner of the family yurt and went back to bed.
Soon after the snoring began, there was a knock.
“Can you build me a hampillow?” asked Mortence Rockwasher from down the road.
“Yes, I can help you with that!” said Elya, who simply went out to the workshop and selected the softest ham in the hambin.
Mortence put 35 glass beaks (the village’s currency) in the life-sized piggy bank by the door and went home smiling.
“That was easy!” said Elya aloud just as another villager knocked on the yurt’s door.
It was Imbus Lobcobbler. Elya loved the lobstershoes Imbus and his family made and he always got the best Hamworkmanship from Gramba and Elya. That would continue today, whatever he wanted.
“Can you build me a hamchair?” asked Imbus.
“Yes, I can help you with that!” said Elya while walking again walking to the workshop.
This time, Elya took the biggest, sturdiest, ham in the hambin and shaped it into a chair  with a carving saw.
Imbus loved it so much that he whistled as he carried his chair home (after adding 61 glass beaks to the piggy bank, of course)
Elya didn’t even have time to rest before spotting the next customer approaching the Hambuilder yurt.
It was Niatrice Stovepuncher, who asked for a hambanjo.
“Yes, I can help you with that!” said Elya as Gramba had instructed, but with some worry now.
Elya and Gramba had never liked the Stovepunchers very much.
Why punch stoves? What good does it do? Elya had stopped for a moment to think. And why would she ask me to build a hambanjo? Doesn’t she know they are one of the hardest things to make and will never sound as good as a beefbanjo anyway?
Elya knew to be professional anyway and returned to the workshop to complete the task, which took until evening.
The finished hambanjo was not perfect, but it sounded good enough that Niatricie accept it and paid the full price.
Elya was surely done for for the day and went back inside to give Gramba the good news.
But before the door was closed, Elya heard something in the distance. It was an eerie voice that sometimes broke into chuckling. It was instantly clear what it was, so Elya sighed and crossed the street to the Hambuilder’s favorite neighbor, the Mysterious Voice from the Chuckling Bog.
“I’m very tired, Mysterious Voice from the Chuckling Bog, but if you want something, I will build it.” Elya meant these words and truly wanted to be seen as a great Hambuilder in Gramba’s eyes. “What do you want?”
“I want a better world for my children and their children,” said The Voice mysteriously (it was the bog around it that chuckled).
“I cannot help you with that,” said Elya. “It is not something that can be built from ham.”
“Yes it is,” said The Voice, but Elya only heard distant chuckling.
Elya went back home and told Gramba Hambuilder about everything.
“That was good work today Elya,” she said, “You have completed your training, but I see from that last job that hambuilding is not really the job for you.”
“I will think of something else!” said Elya.
And Elya did.

CfPUiSL: Tales of the Last Axe Swallower

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You know the feeling you get when you jump off the seventh floor of speeding train and land on a soft pile of freshly carved pastrami, suffering only minor internal wounds and find a lucky penny after regaining consciousness? I’m sure you do.

Axe-swallowing is sort of like that.

Way back when, before the Ambulance Wars and the Great Flattening, we axe-swallowers were popular entertainers. You could find us at any lobcobblery, shelack-shack, or roadside salad bar in the country.

But those days are long past and dwelling on them swallows nothing. The axe you swallowed yesterday means nothing next to the axe you will swallow tomorrow. And in this day and age, tomorrows axe will be celebrated by few.

We do it now, not for fame, money, or even free lunch (though sometimes there still is that). No, we axe-swallowers just like swallowing axes.

Unlike sword swallowing (which is sadly still popular in some parts), we can legally chew the axes before swallowing. This sounds like it would make it easy, but acquiring strong enough teeth for it takes years of training. It is also balanced by the rule that the axe, once swallowed, may not be unswallowed. See if a sword-swallower can do that!

And now, my friends, sit still and I will tell you about my life.

[This, like other CfPUiSLs, may or may not eventually turn into a larger story.]

As part of the celebrations for the first day ...