by Max Lucado
The Wemmicks were small wooden people. Each
of the wooden people was carved by a woodworker
named Eli. His workshop sat on a hill
overlooking their village. Every Wemmick was
different. Some had big noses, others had large
eyes. Some were tall and others were short. Some
wore hats, others wore coats. But all were made
by the same carver and all lived in the
And all day, every day, the Wemmicks did the
same thing: They gave each other stickers. Each
Wemmick had a box of golden star stickers and a
box of gray dot stickers. Up and down the
streets all over the city, people could be seen
sticking stars or dots on one another.
The pretty ones, those with smooth wood and
fine paint, always got stars. But if the wood
was rough or the paint chipped, the Wemmicks
gave dots. The talented ones got stars, too.
Some could lift big sticks high above their
heads or jump over tall boxes. Still others knew
big words or could sing very pretty songs.
Everyone gave them stars. Some Wemmicks had
stars all over them! Every time they got a star
it made them feel so good that they did
something else and got another star. Others,
though, could do little. They got dots.
Punchinello was one of these. He tried to
jump high like the others, but he always fell.
And when he fell, the others would gather around
and give him dots. Sometimes when he fell, it
would scar his wood, so the people would give
him more dots. He would try to explain why he
fell and say something silly, and the Wemmicks
would give him more dots. After a while he had
so many dots that he didn't want to go outside.
He was afriad he would do something dumb such as
forget his hat or step in the water, and then
people would give him another dot. In fact, he
had so many gray dots that some people would
come up and give him one without reason. "He
deserves lots of dots," the wooden people would
agree with one another. "He's not a good wooden
person." After a while Punchinello believed
them. "I'm not a good wemmick," he would say.
The few times he went outside, he hung around
other Wemmicks who had a lot of dots. He felt
better around them.
One day he met a Wemmick who was unlike any
he'd ever met. She had no dots or stars. She was
just wooden. Her name was Lucia. It wasn't that
people didn't try to give her stickers; it's
just that the stickers didn't stick. Some
admired Lucia for having no dots, so they would
run up and give her a star. But it would fall
off. Some would look down on her for having no
stars, so they would give her a dot. But it
wouldn't stay either.
'That's the way I want to be,'thought
Punchinello. 'I don't want anyone's marks.' So
he asked the stickerless Wemmick how she did
"It's easy," Lucia replied. "every day I go
"Yes, Eli. The woodcarver. I sit in the
workshop with him."
"Why don't you find out for yourself? Go up
the hill. He's there." And with that the Wemmick
with no marks turned and skipped away. "But he
won't want to see me!" Punchinello cried out.
Lucia didn't hear. So Punchinello went home. He
sat near a window and watched the wooden people
as they scurried around giving each other stars
and dots. "It's not right," he muttered to
himself. And he resolved to go see Eli.
He walked up the narrow path to the top of
the hill and stepped into the big shop. His
wooden eyes widened at the size of everything.
The stool was as tall as he was. He had to
stretch on his tiptoes to see the top of the
workbench. A hammer was as long as his arm.
Punchinello swallowed hard. "I'm not staying
here!" and he turned to leave.
Then he heard his name.
"Punchinello?" The voice was deep and
"Punchinello! How good to see you. Come and
let me have a look at you."
Punchinello turned slowly and looked at the
large bearded craftsman. "You know my name?" the
little Wemmick asked.
"Of course I do. I made you."
Eli stooped down and picked him up and set
him on the bench.
"Hmm," the maker spoke thoughtfully as he
inspected the gray circles.
"Looks like you've been given some bad
"I didn't mean to, Eli. I really tried
"Oh, you don't have to defend yourself to me,
child. I don't care what the other Wemmicks
"No, and you shouldn't either. Who are they
to give stars or dots?
They're Wemmicks just like you. What they
think doesn't matter, Punchinello. All that
matters is what I think. And I think you are
Punchinello laughed. "Me, special? Why? I
can't walk fast. I can't jump. My paint is
peeling. Why do I matter to you?"
Eli looked at Punchinello, put his hands on
those small wooden shoulders, and spoke very
slowly. "Because you're mine. That's why you
matter to me."
Punchinello had never had anyone look at him
like this--much less his maker. He didn't know
what to say.
"Every day I've been hoping you'd come," Eli
"I came because I met someone who had no
"I know. She told me about you."
"Why don't the stickers stay on her?"
"Because she has decided that what I think is
more important than what they think. The
stickers only stick if you let them."
"The stickers only stick if they matter to
you. The more you trust my love, the less you
care about the stickers."
"I'm not sure I understand."
"You will, but it will take time. You've got
a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me
every day and let me remind you how much I
care." Eli lifted Punchinello off the bench and
set him on the ground.
"Remember," Eli said as the Wemmick walked
out the door. "You are special because I made
you. And I don't make mistakes."
Punchinello didn't stop, but in his heart he
thought, "I think he really means it." And when
he did, a dot fell to the ground.