The sword would probably shatter if it struck anything hard, and the blade has never been sharp. There’s almost no chance my three-year old son can hurt himself with it, but it still needs to go.
That said, I can’t throw it away. I’ve had the sword since I was a boy, when my parents took me to Spain, and I saw it sitting in a basket among other swords, like umbrellas. I loved it right away. It was small enough for me to hold, carved with ornate images, and weird tiny twin heads jutted out from either side of the handle. I was overjoyed when my parents bought it for me, and asked the shop owner not to wrap it in brown paper (but he insisted).
I was an only child and, back then, I usually played by myself or read. It was around that time that I first came across The Hobbit, and I imagined my little sword glowing when orcs approached. I remember running around the house and slapping the couch with its dull blade, or occasionally leaving a small (fortunately unnoticed) dent in the wall.
My son, when he gets a little older, will do these same things. I know he’s going to have an immature fascination with fighting and weapons. He’ll see himself in whatever his generation’s iteration is of Star Wars or Indiana Jones, and he’ll fantasize about their fun bloodless battles. He’ll hold a toy sword, or a bow and arrow or a spear, and imagine striking down enemy after enemy. Young men are reared on these fantasies; violence is impossible to avoid, and nearly as difficult to realistically understand.
I have a bit of the overly-cautious parent in me; I get that. We go to a playground and I’m never more than a couple of steps away as my son gleefully runs through swings or climbs up slides. He probably can’t hurt himself with this sword, but I want to do what I can to keep violence away from him. Or, at least, delay it as long as possible.
So the sword has to go to my parents’ home, to disappear somewhere in their basement. Chances are, within a few months of the sword being out of my sight, I’ll forget about it. But maybe I’ll stumble upon it one day when I’m looking for something in my folks’ basement. Or maybe, even later in life, my son will. I can imagine him taking out the sword, holding it in confusion, wondering where it came from.
And maybe, at that moment, he’ll realize the significance of why it was hidden.