The Stonecutter

Once upon a time a stonecutter lived in a small village. He earned a modest income and lived a simple life. Although highly skilled in his craft, and deeply respected and loved by the people in his village, he often felt restless and discontent. He often thought, “If only I had a more glamorous job and lived in a more exciting community, then I would be content.”

One day as the stonecutter worked with his hammer and chisel upon a huge stone, he heard a noisy crowd gathering along the street. He joined the procession and soon saw what all the excitement was about. The king was passing through their humble village! The stonecutter gazed in awe as the king, dressed in marvelous silk, was greeted by his subjects. “Oh, how I wish I had the power and glory of the king,” he thought. “He rides a magnificent horse. He has soldiers at his command. People bow to him in homage. There is no one more powerful than our king.”

His cry was heard in the heavens, and immediately the humble stonecutter was transformed into a powerful king. He found himself riding on a great horse, waving at crowds of people who flocked to see him. “This is power,” he thought. However, as the summer progressed, the new king watched the effects of the heat upon his people. Men and animals became weary and plants withered under the powerful rays of the sun. As he looked at the sky, the new king realized that the sun was far more powerful than any earthly ruler. “How I wish I were as powerful as that,” he thought. “I wish I were the sun.” Immediately his wish was granted.

He relished his new role as the sun and gloried in his power. As he sent bright rays to the earth, he watched kings and princes hide under their parasols. He watched powerful warriors become weak under his gaze. Even the crops in the field fell under his command. Then one day a large cloud moved over the land, shielding the earth from the sun’s bright rays. As hard as he tried, he could not penetrate the cloud. Seeing something more powerful than himself he thought, “I want to be a cloud.” Again his wish was granted.

Now he blocked the sun’s rays and felt important. He became a gigantic cloud and began to pour down torrential rain upon the earth. Rivers formed where previously there were none, and water flooded the streets of the cities and the farmland. Everything—trees, animals, and people—seemed awed by his power. Everything except a huge rock that remained untouched. Again he had discovered something more powerful. “There is nothing,” he thought, “as powerful as a rock. How I wish I were a huge stone.” Again, his wish was granted.

As a massive stone he remained motionless and powerful, unmoved by either sun or rain or anything that nature could bring, making him feel superior over all things. Then one day a man approached him, carrying a bag. When he stopped, he pulled out a chisel and hammer, and began to chip away at the rock. Realizing that the man with the tools was more powerful than any rock, he cried out, “Oh, how I want to be a stonecutter.” One final time the heavens heard his cry and granted his wish, and he became a stonecutter. Once again he lived a modest life in a simple village and made his living with a hammer and chisel. And he was content.