The Stonecutter, Part 1

I heard this story many years ago and was told that it’s an old Chinese tale. Recently I came to think about it again for no particular reason and when I told it to my kids they were captivated. Seems appropriate that I share it, although it’s no doubt been re-told better in hundreds of other places.

It’s quite a bit to write so I’ll be splitting it in several parts until it’s done, however many that might be. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Let’s begin.

A long time ago there was a stonecutter who was discontent with his life. He toiled away in the quarry and carried his stones to the local village, where his arrival was taken for granted and he was treated with indifference by the merchants that bought his stones.

One day as he came to the village he noticed a flurry of activity. A rich merchant from a city some days away was passing through. Everyone tried to get his attention, to please him with their goods and manners so that maybe he would share some scraps of his wealth with them.

The stonecutter watched in awe and jealousy. ”Nobody has ever respected me like that,” he thought. ”Look at how they grovel. I wish I was that merchant.”

Suddenly his vision changed and he found himself looking at the crowd from the very center of the throng. He had become the merchant.

Oh how he enjoyed this new existence. For some time he travelled far, ate and drank well, and lived in opulence. Wherever he went people treated him with politeness and respect, or even subservience and proverbial boot-licking. ”This,” he thought ”is real power.”

To be continued.

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal