Pavel was a very happy peg.
He lived in Simon’s basket with all of his peg friends.
There were many pegs in the basket and they would laugh and talk all day. It was so much fun. They all slept together at night and were very cosy. Pavel always slept very well.
Some days Simon would take the basket full of pegs outside and several pegs would be allowed to sunbathe for the day.
If it rained whilst they were sunbathing, Simon would rush outside, grabbing all of the pegs to protect them from the rain.
On a really sunny day, Pavel was very excited because he was at the top of the basket and just knew that Simon would choose him to sunbathe.
As Simon was carrying the basket of pegs down the garden, he stubbed his toe and sent Pavel flying out of the basket by accident.
At first Pavel wasn’t too worried because he still got to sunbathe. He knew that it was an accident. Simon would soon pick him up and return him to the basket with his many friends.
Later that evening, as the sun was setting, Simon came out to collect the pegs. The sight of the huge man filled Pavel with joy.
However, much to Pavel’s surprise, Simon walked straight past Pavel and didn’t pick him up.
On the way back inside, he not only ignored Pavel but he also stood on his head, causing him to be snapped in two halves.
Pavel couldn’t believe it. Why was Simon doing this to him?
Pavel was scared. Not only had he never been alone before, he’d also never been outside at night time.
As the sky grew dark, Pavel began to hear strange noises; movement in the bushes, birds that said “tweet” and birds that said “twoo”. He saw shapes and shadows and he didn’t know what was going to happen to him.
When morning finally arrived, Pavel had not slept a wink. Although he was exhausted, he was far too frightened to sleep.
During the day, he saw birds and butterflies and the cat walked past a couple of times. But he never saw Simon.
Two whole days passed before he saw Simon again. Yet, Simon still ignored Pavel.
The day after, he returned with the basket full of pegs. Still, he ignored Pavel.
This continued, day upon day upon day, Simon still ignoring Pavel.
The days turned into weeks. The weeks became months. After almost a year, Pavel didn’t see Simon at all… ever.
Pavel was lonely. None of the garden animals ever spoke to Pavel, they just thought that he was a silly little peg.
And he didn’t sleep well outside, all alone. The summer had disappeared and with the winter came wind, rain and frost. The terrible weather caused Pavel’s metal spring to rust and this made him feel ill. It was as though his heart was crumbling away.
Pavel couldn’t move and this made him feel completely useless.
He was a tired, lonely, rusty, cold, useless, little peg.
As Pavel was crying to himself one day, he noticed a strange looking man in the garden.
He’d never seen this man before. He had wild hair, wore huge spectacles, and a white shirt with dashes of paint all over it.
The man was staring straight at Pavel. He began to walk towards Pavel in a hurry.
Pavel was scared.
The man picked him up and stared at him through those huge spectacles.
“Wonderful!” the man cried. “Just wonderful!”
And with that he stormed back into the house with Pavel in his hand.
“Finally,” thought Pavel to himself, “I’m going back to see my friends.”
The man took Pavel into the garage where the basket of pegs was usually kept, but when they went inside Pavel was devastated.
The basket had disappeared.
Pavel looked around and soon realised that the whole garage had completely changed.
The last time that he was here, there was Simon’s car, Simon’s ladder, and a collection of Simon’s tools.
Now, there were many strange and weird items in the garage.
There were paintings, sculptures, and broken pieces of metal. Pavel couldn’t understand what the things were for.
The man then placed Pavel onto a square piece of grass. It didn’t actually feel like grass. Pavel had been lying on grass for such a long time that he knew what grass felt like. This grass felt more like plastic.
Anyway, this didn’t stop Pavel from feeling a bit happier. He mainly felt happier because he was a lot warmer in the garage.
After the man had left, a broken can of orangeade turned around and spoke to him.
“So you’re the one then?” said the broken can in a husky voice.
“Sorry?” said Pavel, confused.
“You’re the one he’s been looking for” said the can.
“The one who’s been looking for?” asked Pavel, still confused.
“Van Blake. The man. He’s an artist.”
“Yes. He collects things that were rejected or broken by the world and turns them into a piece of art.”
“Yes. He once found a car engine at a scrap yard. He put this engine in a glass box. Next to this was another glass box and in this glass box was a pig’s heart that he had bought from the butcher’s shop. He put the two boxes next to each other in an art gallery with a tatty, ripped boxing glove in between them. Would you call that art?”
“I don’t really know.”
“Well Van Blake called it art. He called the piece Man vs Machine. He sold it for a lot of money.”
“Yes, and I think you’re his latest piece.”
“I am? What does that mean?”
“It means that you won’t be staying here for too long, kid.”
Would you believe it? Pavel was now a work of art.
And the can of orangeade was correct, Pavel didn’t stay in the garage for very long.
He was soon whisked away and taken on a car journey that seemed to last forever.
Eventually they arrived at a fancy building with many steps at the front.
Inside the building there were many paintings and sculptures, just like in Mr Van Blake’s garage. But this building was much cleaner than the garage.
Pavel was then placed on a stand. Later that day many other broken pegs on plastic grass were brought into the building and placed on stands next to Pavel. He couldn’t believe it.
There was also a sign beneath the pegs. It read Charles Van Blake’s Lonely Peg Collection.
Many people came and admired Pavel throughout the day. He was so happy. He didn’t feel lonely or cold or tired any more.
And after the people had left and the lights were turned out, Pavel and the other pegs talked their way through the night. They all had stories to tell. It was amazing how similar their lives had been. They had so much in common.
Pavel didn’t sleep a wink that night, but in morning he didn’t feel tired at all.