The girl saw the pile of sail cloth in the corner of the hut. The cloth’s edges were frayed and the canvas was streaked with dirt. These were scraps, she was pretty sure. Too small and irregular to really do anything with, except maybe patch sails.
She stood from the bench and brushed bread crumbs from her skirt, then walked over to get a closer look. The day was overcast, but not raining, so her father mended his nets on the dock next to their boat. A damp breeze seeped between the slats of the wall, and she smelled salt and fish on the air.
At the pile of scraps, she squatted and began picking through them. She uncrumpled each one to find its shape. She smoothed a triangular piece. It would be good for the cloth animal that was forming in her mind.
She dug around in her dad’s tackle box and found extra needles and thread. He’d taught her how to use them, and he encouraged her to practice.
She gathered the pieces she’d selected, and she took them and a slip of soap outside to wash them in the sea water. She could sew them wet. In fact, maybe that was preferable. Maybe it’d be easier to shape.
One by one, she dipped the cloth pieces in the water, soaped them, and then scrubbed them before rinsing them and laying them smooth on the wood planks of the dock. She could already feel the little animal — a lion, she discovered — coming to life in her hands as she handled the canvas.
In the meadow by the harbor, she collected the down of dandelions to stuff her creature. Then, she sat next to her father as he mended nets, and she stitched her little lion. When she finished, she turned its face to hers, and the lion roared a tremendous, plank-rattling roar. Her eyes connected with her father’s, and they both smiled.