Tuesday, 24 April 2012
There was once a stonecutter who was dissatisfied with
himself and with his position in life.
One day, he passed a wealthy merchant's house and
through the open gateway saw many fine possessions
and important visitors.
"How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the
stonecutter. He became very envious, and wished that
he could be like the merchant. Then he would no longer
have to live the life of a mere stonecutter.
To his great surprise, he suddenly became the
merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he
had ever dreamed of, envied and detested by those less
wealthy than himself. But soon a high official passed by,
carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants,
and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no
matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the
"How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I
could be a high official!"
Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in
his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the
people all around, who had to bow down before him as
he passed. It was a hot summer day, and the official felt
very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked
up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by
"How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "
I wish that I could be the sun!"
Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on
everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers
and labourers. But a huge black cloud moved between
him and the earth, so that his light could no longer
shine on everything below.
"How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish
that I could be a cloud!"
Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and
villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that
he was being pushed away by some great force, and
realized that it was the wind.
"How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be
Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of
houses, uprooting trees, hated and feared by all below
him. But after a while, he ran up against something that
would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew
against it -- a huge, towering stone.
"How powerful that stone is!" he thought. "I wish that I
could be a stone!"
Then he became the stone, more powerful than
anything else on earth.
But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer
pounding a chisel into the solid rock and felt himself
"What could be more powerful than I, the stone?" he
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a