Wooden Figurine

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Object No. TK of 50 โ€” Significant Objects v3

Object No. 27 of 50 โ€” Significant Objects v3

[The auction for this object, with story by Katie Hennessey, has ended. Original price: $2.00. Final price: $50.00. Significant Objects will donate the proceeds from this auction to Girls Write Now.]

This little statue stood on the window sill in my favorite auntโ€™s front hall. Perched between plants of varying shapes and sizes, surrounded by shards of broken pottery and miniature ceramic elephants from the Red Rose Tea box, dappled with sunlight shining through the leaded glass figures of St. Francis in his garden and the mossy Celtic Cross, the woodland creature stood by her cauldron, day after day, night after night, for all the years of my childhood.

Indistinct at first, her jack-knived features came, for me, to represent benevolence itself. What was she cooking, there in her pot? Was it a witches’ brew of bark and herbs, meant to quell my fears and slow my speeding thoughts? Was it essential oils, drawn from petals and seeds, distilled into droplets and lovingly collected to act as a salve, summoning spirits long forgotten to soothe my aching unconscious?

I wondered who had made her, and of what type of wood. No one seemed to know. Was her burlap outfit, glued together and barely hemmed, some sort of disguise?

My aunt put holy water in the cup on special occasions, but from time to time my uncle used it as a shot glass. To each his own, I guess.


Katie Hennessey has written for Orion, Whole Terrain, and Utne Reader. She is the drummer for Brook Batteau and the New Cosmology.

4 thoughts on “Wooden Figurine

  1. How could you be surprised by the “live like hippies” comment.

    Look at this doll!


  2. I think this is a Tarahumara Indian carving from the Copper Canyon in Mexico and I think the wood is call “madrone.” My parents brought little dolls like this back from their trip there several years ago.

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