The Master Stonemason was in his eightieth summer and he was all but blind, still his hands knew their work and each chisel stroke was as clean and precise as it had been in his youth. Once he had cut and carved he began the laborious task of polishing, trusting nothing to the hands of his sons, or his grandsons, or the apprentices who watched in something like awe. When one of his sons would have intervened to help the old man, his only surviving daughter stepped in front of her brother.
“Leave him. Let him make his last work as glorious as his first.”
When the last letter was incised and the last square inch of the finest Carrera marble was polished to a soft pure shine, the old man lifted his eyes to the sky and rested at last.
One by one, each man in the yard stepped up and laid a gentle hand on this thing of beauty the old man had crafted.
Last forward was the Master’s daughter. Her homely features were shaped into the tenderest of smiles and she laid her cheek against the cool marble.
“It is perfect,” she said softly, “now come home to your dinner”.
The old man took her proffered hand and they walked away together – leaving the young men to carry the headstone the Master had created to its place on the grave of his beloved wife.