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,
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 laborers. 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,
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
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
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
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