Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Wishing Knife

One day the old man's grandson spotted the knife, old and worn lying on his dresser.  "What's that" he asked?  "That's my wishing knife."  "Why do you call it your wishing knife, Grandpa?" now more curious.  "I'll tell you why" the old man replied.  

When I was a lad about your age, my dad was working long hours in a factory that made propellers for planes.  He worked long and hard for little pay because of the War overseas.  Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before we would need those planes in the air.  We could not hold out much longer before would have to get involved in the fighting.  There was an even more pressing need for men to join the service, and there had been discussion that Dad might be among those men.

To a boy who didn't understand the violence and devastation of war, but only saw the wonder of uniforms and mock battles played with toy soldiers where everyone lived to see another day, this was wonderfully exciting.  "Go Dad", I said, "Go and bring me something back."  My dad felt-duty bound to enlist, though not because of anything I had said.  To him it wasn't exciting or glamorous; he knew the dangers, but felt he owed his country this service.  Then Pearl Harbor was attacked, and attention was drawn to the death and destruction there.  This was it!  We were at war!  

I was excited and proud that my dad was going to be a soldier.  As he boarded the ship that would take him far across the ocean, the crowd cheered, and I cheered right along with them.  He was going to be based a world away in France, but spending much time aboard ship.  He was a seaman in the Navy, patrolling the waters just off the coast.  While there was much action in the Pacific, we were all relieved Dad was overseas just doing patrols.  This was still a frightening time, with long periods of silence, and letters from Dad were scarce.  The ones that did get through were filled with hope and courage, and reassurances that we shouldn't worry.  He was not among those doing the fighting.  He was just on patrol.

Six months later we got the call.  There had been a surprise attack on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean, and it had been sunk.  They didn't have any more information at that time.  Another ship in the area picked up all the survivors, and we awaited word.  The survivors had been identified, and Dad's name was not on the list.  I cried for days.  It was all my fault, I had wanted him to go.  I was so proud that my dad was in the Navy, fighting for his country.  Now he wasn't coming home.  I could not be consoled.

A Magpie Tale
When his body was found and shipped back to the states, along with his belongings there was a shiny new knife with a polished wooden handle.  It said "Made in France".  With it was a note that read:  To my dear son, may this knife always remind you of Freedom.  Love Dad.

I've kept this knife with me always, and everyday I look at it and wish that I could take back those words,  "Go Dad", I said, "Go and bring me something back."

Please click beneath the picture for more magpie tales.


  1. Clever Magpie Tale, Linda. This is well crafted and engaged reader me from start to finish. I love the poignancy behind the wishing knife's origin.

    Well done!

  2. Nice Magpie - amazing how we all look at the same picture and see so many possiblities. I hope the boy remembers his fathers sacrifice.....bkm

  3. That's a beautiful little story very touchingly told. Sad but nice.

  4. This is a beautiful and poignant Magpie Tale...war and its horrors have been on my mind a lot this week, and your eloquent story was perfect for my mood. The memento of freedom your character received was such a wonderful narrative technique.

  5. Very touching. Great Magpie.

  6. really a wonderful captured me right fromt eh beginning...war brings such memories...

  7. A bittersweet tale, but very well done! Nice magpie.

  8. Very touching..Bless the Dad, the soldier, the hero! Lovely magpie..

  9. If we could only hit the replay button of life! If this is a true story, forgive yourself, you were only a kid. We've all done that one! And thanks for the visit!

  10. bittersweet indeed. A story to reflect and think about. Good Magpie.

  11. What a lovely story, though it actually made me feel very sad.

  12. A poignant tale - it never ends, does it? Wonderful writing.

  13. Brenda- Thanks so much.

    signedbkm- Thank you. There are many ways of looking at the same thing.

    Rinkly Rimes- Thank you.

    Berowne- Thank you.

    Sam - Thank you. Sorry to hear that war and such has been occupying your thoughts lately.

    RA- Thank you.

    Brian Miller- Thank you, and yes it does evoke memories. Thankfully, this was entirely fiction.

    00dozo- Thanks so much.

    Lyn- Thank you kindly.

    Stafford Ray- There are things I'd like to rewind, but thankfully this story was entirely fiction.

    Willow- Thanks so much.

    Kathew- Although it is a work of fiction, it does give one pause to think.

    Babs-beetle- Thank you. I'm sorry that it made so sad, though.

    Tumblewords- Thank you.

  14. Linda, wonderful story and even more appropriate on Father's Day.

    Maybe if enough people wish...

  15. So powerful ... so very powerful. Your Magpie made me sit, reflect and remember events I hadn't thought about in years.

  16. A tragic yet hopeful tale to remind us of why our soldiers deserve such recognition; because they are willing to die to keep the rest of us safe (none of that dulce et decorum est pro patria mori crap thank you very much).

  17. Talon- Thank you. You're right about Father's Day. I didn't even think about that fact when I wrote it.

    Helen- Thanks for visiting. I hope your memories aren't all sad ones.

    Aoife Troxel- Indeed, and this would have been appropriate for Memorial Day, as well.

  18. Linda,

    I agree with Talon. A well written story for Father's Day, especially in my case, as my dad fought in WWII.

    I am enjoyed your stories very much. You make them interesting. I also like the picture you used for this one:~)

  19. Thanks Sara, I am enjoying writing them. I can't take credit for the picture, though, since it's the "magpie" prompt.


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