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All I can say is, it’s a good thing our cover knife contest was limited to stories that were only six words long. Otherwise, it would’ve taken me a hell of a lot longer to read through the 5,000-plus entries.

First, a bit about the judging process: There were many entries that were either fewer or more than six words long, and they were immediately disqualified. Of those that were six words long, the entries that stood out most were the ones that followed to the other rule of the contest: They told a story. A lot of the submissions read more like six-word slogans for DiamondBlade, and while some were nice and clever, they ultimately didn’t tell a story. So they were dismissed as well. Sticking to those guidelines, I was still left with a lot of good stories. What follows are some of my favorites:

The dependability of a good knife was a popular theme, and Barry Crane was one of many who wrote about a blade that outlasted a broken relationship: My wife left. My knife didn’t.

Survival came up time and again, and I have two favorites among these stories. The first came from Eric David Whittredge: I survived because of a knife. I love how this story forces you to use your imagination: What did he survive? A bear attack…A bitter-cold night…

My other favorite survival tale was written by Jason Everts: Doctor: “How’d you survive?” Hunter: “Knife.” Achieving a compelling dialogue in six words is not easy, but Everts does that here.

Sharpness was another source of inspiration for many. Some, like Ryan Pierson, were philosophical: Man sharpens knife. Knife sharpens man. Some, such as this one from Mark Leyba, were humorous: Oops! Didn’t need that finger anyway. And a few, including this gem from Jeff Greene, were simply true: Life without a blade is dull.

But the very best stories captured what is perhaps the finest quality of a fine knife: that these blades acquire character when passed down from one generation to the next. And no story expressed that more poignantly that this one–_the winner_–by Duane Boyd: Someday, son, this will be yours.

Congratulations, Duane. I hope you enjoy this knife and treat it well until the day comes when you pass it on.