Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Stone Cutter

Today I want to just share a simple story with you.

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 the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. 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 high official!"

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and 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!"

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 the wind!"

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated 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 rock. "How powerful that rock is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a rock!"

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. "What could be more powerful than I, the rock?" he thought.

He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

The way of Tao is to be the best we can at whatever it is that we have chosen to be. This does not mean you cannot be something other, it does mean that you change for the correct reasons, not because you are jealous of somebody else but because this is what you want to be.

This blog is linked to another which I consider to be a small addition to this blog where I look at the artwork and why the chosen artwork was used. I did not wish to clutter this blog with that inforamtion Maybe I was wrong? It can be seen at :- Too Late To Crow Today


  1. Ralph, I can't remember if I read the story on your blog or if it was on a kid's channel my granddaughter watches during the day. It was the story of a fisherman who was granted a wish by an old wise fish he had caught and let go. The fisherman came hold and told his wife about it and demanded the fish grant her wishes. The fisherman complied and she kept wishing for bigger and better until finally she wished for something and was transported back to her original life. (It sounds like one of your maybe I'm rehashing what I originally got from you?) Moral being that what she had originally was the best for her. Anyway, this little parable reminds me of that one. Love the rooster; colors are perfection!

  2. Thank you so much for your comment. I am aware of this story but i have not used it here it is a lovely tale. Thanks also for your comment about my artwork how I wish i could do some of that stuff again but at this moment I am having a real block and cannot even look at paint. But as so many of my little tales tell me the worst thing I could do is force it so I will continue to go with the flow.

  3. Great story. It's one of those that you think you might have heard but can't remember all of it. Thanks for the reminder. So many artists want to do what another does, instead of being to best "we" can be.

  4. P.S. Love the rooster. He's being the best "rooster" he can be.

  5. Your lovely story points to the futility of the Western ethic (or is that "Protestant Work Ethic"?) of striving. Contentment is given a nod, but the accolades go to the strivers.

    I'm all for being the best I can be, the best I've chosen to be, but I'm afraid that I am frequently distracted by striving in all of its manifestations and conjugations.

    Thank you for looking in on my blog. Is it proper to wish a Scotsman Happy St Patrick's Day? All the best. Katherine

  6. Sort of reminds me of "be careful what you wish for" -- you just might get it. Well written Ralph, well read.