There was once a stonecutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with
his position in his life. One day, he passed a wealthy merchant's house and
through the open gateway saw many fine possessions
and important visitors there. "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
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 procession.
"How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a
And Lo, He became the high official too. Now he was 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 his presence.
"How powerful this 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 laborers. But a huge black cloud moved
between him and the Earth, so that his light could no longer shine on
"How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought, "I wish that I could be a
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 the wind!"
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.
Now he was happy, but as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer
pounding a chisel into the solid rock and felt himself being changed.
"What could be more powerful than I, the stone?" he thought.
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter.