2017-11-05 / Family

Imelda's Perfect Table

By VALERIE L. EGAR
Author

Imelda and Rihanna were sisters. They lived in a small cottage in a pretty village. They were not rich, but they weren’t poor either. Rihanna worked as a carpenter and could build almost anything. Imelda had an eye for beautiful things and their little cottage was filled with lovely furniture Imelda bought.

One early morning, Imelda was on her way to the market when she passed a beautiful mansion on the wealthy side of town. The house was so large, their small cottage could have fit inside it with enough room left over for several of the neighbors’ cottages, too. Workmen hauled furniture out of the house into the yard— tall gilt mirrors, chairs upholstered in brocade, carved bureaus topped with pink marble. Imelda was curious. “Why are you taking the furniture out of the house?” she asked.

“The Mistress of the house is re-decorating,” one said. “She wants everything sold.”

Imelda wandered among the rows of furniture, assessing each piece. The brocade chairs were lovely, but much as she liked them, she decided they were impractical. Their cat, Nero, would surely make short work of the delicate fabric.

She didn’t fancy oversized portraits of people she didn’t know and didn’t favor pictures of battle scenes, so she passed by the paintings.

Gilded furniture seemed too fancy for a simple country cottage, but a simple dining table, long and sturdy caught her eye. The wood shone as though it glowed from within. Imelda imagined relatives gathered for holiday meals, the table heaped with pies and cakes. She wanted that table!

Imelda timidly asked the price and to her surprise, she had the exact amount in her purse. She ran home to ask Rihanna to come with the wagon.

“Oh Imelda,” Rihanna said when she saw the table, “I do not think the table will fit in our house.”

“But it must,” Imelda said. “It is made from the finest wood and we will have many fine meals on it.”

Rihanna shrugged and loaded the table onto the wagon. It hardly fit, but she managed to get it home.

Narrow steps led to the front door of their small cottage. Rihanna shook her head. “Imelda, the table is wider than the steps into our house. We cannot carry it up the steps.”

“Surely you can build new ones.”

Rihanna cut lumber and hammered, and soon the steps were wide enough. They carried it to the front door.

“The table will not fit through the door,” Rihanna said.

“Take the door off and perhaps it will fit.”

Rihanna removed the door, but the table still would not go through, no matter how many ways they turned it.

“Make a new doorway, “ said Imelda. “We’ve been thinking about buying a new door anyway.”

Rihanna enlarged the doorway and finally, the table was inside the dining room.

“Now we can eat,” said Rihanna.

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