The Swallows Uncaged
Ngọc climbed the pole to the thatched roof, hauling her work with her — a bin of rattan splints, which she whittled with her awl until they were thin enough to weave into baskets and fishing nets.
I was tripped up by this passage because I did not associate awls with whittling. For me, whittling is a progressive shaving off accomplished with the blade of a knife. An awl is a pointed tool for piercing. Upon further reflection I could see how a more general definition of whittling as reducing in size could accommodate envisioning the work of an awl especially if dealing with rattan. The character could pierce the rattan splints and strip off a segment thereby thinning.
Still can’t quite shake off the suspicion that the selection of “awl” was influenced by the internal rhyme with “haul”. A word pierced and stripped: whittled down.
And so for day 1932