Amarver grasped the glass bulb with the tongs and held it up to the light. The golden afternoon sunlight illuminated it like a lantern, shimmered with reds and blues. As he slowly turned it, the refracted colors swirled around the walls of the workshop. But, he narrowed his eyes, alas, it was unevenly shaped. He flung it out the window with the tongs, and it sailed out of view.
He opened the heavy door of the oven, feeling it's inferno breath even at arms-length. He carefully removed the clay crucible and set it on the smooth stone floor. He heated the end of his clay blow pipe in the furnace for a moment, and then dipped it into the golden glowing liquid in the crucible. Swirling the tip of the hollow tube around like a honey dipper, he gathered a big glob of the viscuous molten glass on the end of the tube and then lifted it out. Keeping the tube turning he placed the glob onto the smoooth flat marble stone on the table, and rolled it back and forth to cool its outer edges. Once he was satisfied with this he began blowing through the tube, inflating the glob like a balloon, and continuing to rotate it lest it become lopsided.
As he continued to work the new bulb he occasionally rolled it across colored powder to add patterns. The sounds of seagulls drifted in the window. Presently, he transferred the bulb to a solid clay pole which he gently adhered to the other side and removed the blow tube, and used this punty to shape the other side of the ornate bulb. Finally, satisfied, he placed it in the annealing oven to slowly cool.
He removed a previous bulb from the annealing oven with the tongues. Holding it up to the light and slowly turned it. The green and purple stripes glowed in fading lighting. The shape was... pretty good. But wait, what's this?? He scrutinized it closely. Ah yes. An air bubble in the side of the bulb. He sighed sadly, walked slowly to the window. The ocean stretched out to the horizon. He tossed the imperfect bulb out and watched it slowly turn through the air before splashing into the crystal waters down below.
"Daddy, daddy!" his young daughter's glowing voice broke him from his disappointed reverie. He quickly strode out to the door in the inland side of the workshop and picked her up in his arms. She laughed happily.
"Daddy, it's dinner time!"
"Okay honey, let me just extinguish the furnaces." A few minutes later he let her lead him up the flagstone path to the cottage.
"Cristalla, honey, why don't you show your father what you found today?" his wife suggested as he sat at the table and picked up his spoon. A steaming bowl of soup in front of him smelled of cilantro, celery, and beef. Cristalla scampered into the other room.
"Cristalla and I went down to the beach today, where you gather sand for the glass..." she explained.
As Amarver was blowing on his spoonful of soup to cool it down, Cristalla came back in proudly holding a warped glass bulb. Amarver nearly spilled his soup.
"I found it in the sand, it's from mermaids!" Cristalla explained.
"Oh really?" he feigned genuine interest. He put the soup spoon back in the bowl and accepted the bulb his daughter was proudly holding out to him. It was badly warped, and had partially shattered, though the sea had worn the edges down to harmless softness.
"It's beautiful!" he lied. Cristalla beamed proudly.
A year goes by...
Amarver holds the ornate freshly cooled bulb up to the light from the window. It sparkles brilliantly, with compelx swirls and patterns. He smiles proudly and scrutinizes it for blemishes, but finds none.
"Daddy, daddy!" he daughter's voice hails him from the pathway. He sets the orb on the shelf and turns as she comes in.
"Yes my pumpkin?" Her lower lip protrudes a bit and she kicks at the ground unhappily. "What is it?"
"The mermaids don't send me glass any more." she confessed sadly.
"Well." he thought for a moment. "I can make you something. What kind of glass do you want, I'll make you anything."
"It's not the saame daddy. It's not from mermaids."
"Anyway mom says it's time to come eat"
"Okay, give me a few minutes to put out the furnaces"
"Okay" and she began to walk back to the house.
After a few minutes of thought he picked up his most recent orb. It was perfect, a work of art. He walked towards the window thoughtfully, hefted the beautiful bulb in his hand, and then carefully lobbed it out into the sea.
Special thanks to my friend Koriander for coming up with the general idea of this story