There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.

One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through an open window, he saw many important visitors surrounded by incredible fine possessions. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be that merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became that merchant, enjoying more luxuries and more power than he had had ever imagined. Unfortunately he soon realized that he was detested and hated by those less wealthy than himself.

But soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair and accompanied by all kinds of attendants and escorted by soldiers beating drums. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before this high official and his procession. "How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be that high official!"

And with that he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared but hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!"

In a mere moment of time he became that sun, shining fiercely down on everyone and everything, scorching the fields, being cursed by the farmers and laborers. He felt so very, very powerful. But just then 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!"

Instantly he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages with tons and tons of rain, and being 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 the wind!"

Before he even realized it he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. Oh, how powerful he felt. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it - a huge, towering mountain. "How powerful that mountain is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be that mountain!"

And suddenly he became that mountain, more powerful than anything else on earth.

But as he stood there feeling so very powerful and unmovable, he felt himself changing and he began to hear the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into his hard surface. "What could be more powerful than I, a strong powerful mountain?" he thought.

And as he looked down he saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

(Benjamin Hoff)


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