From the workshop, the chipping sound of the chisel reached his ears. He listened. Had his ears deceived him? No, He could hear it again – the strong blow of the hammer on top of the chisel.
     Gopal! He was back! Gopal had returned. He would help him. They would finish the statue! He stumbled to his feet, crossed the small room and reached the door.
     “Gopal!” He was about to shout when the words froze on his lips. “No!” he wanted to cry out “ Stop! Stop the work!.”
     But he couldn’t move. Shock had immobilised him. He stood staring at the back of the young stone carver working on the face of the statue, on the eyebrows, arching over a pair of fine eyes.
     But it wasn’t his son sitting cross-legged before the biggest statue he had ever carved. It was Salim, his servant.
The old man could hear the chisel sound from the workshop. He listened carefully. He was not sure if his ears were tricking him or he heard the sound really. But he could clearly hear the strong blow of the hammer on the chisel.
The old man thought it was Gopal. He thought Gopal could have returned home and would definitely help him. They could finish the statue together. He tried to walk with difficulty and crossed the room to reach the workshop.
He was about to say Gopal when his lips froze and he could not say anything. He wanted to cry out of happiness and was thinking to ask him to stop the work.
But the old man could not move even an inch. He was so shocked that he could not move and stood there at the door staring at the back of the young stone carver on the face of the Krishna statue on the eyebrows above the eyes.
It was not his son who was sitting cross-legged and carving the statue but Salim, his servant!
It was Salim, with the hammer and chisel!
Meanings of difficult words:
Deceived Tricked, cheated
Chipping Cut or break (a small piece) from a hard material, like stone
Immobilised Prevent someone from moving
Arching Form the curved shape of an arch
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-2 English Standard-7. The Last Stone Carver-Sigrun Srivastav (pp. 109-116). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.