The Stone Cutter – Elementary Level
Once upon a time there lived a stone cutter. Every morning, he woke up early and went with his tools to cut pieces of stone from a great rock in the side of a big mountain. He understood very well the kinds of stones wanted for the different purposes, and was a careful workman. Because of this, he always had people wanting to buy from him. For a long time he was very happy with his life, and asked for nothing better than what he had.
Now in the mountain lived a spirit which was said to sometimes appear to men and help them. The stone cutter had never seen this spirit, and did not believe these stories. But a time was coming when he would learn the truth.
One day the stone cutter carried some stones to the house of a rich man. He saw many beautiful things in the rich man’s house, such as he had never dreamed of. “Oh!” he cried, “If only I were rich. I wish I might sleep in a bed as soft as his. How happy I would be!”
And a voice answered him: “Your wish is heard; a rich man you shall be!”
At the sound of the voice the stone cutter looked around. He could not see anybody, so he picked up his tools and went home. But when he reached the little house where he lived, he was in for a surprise. The mountain spirit had heard his wish, and turned the poor little wooden hut he had left in the morning into a house as big as the rich man’s. It was also full of beautiful things, and the stone cutter slept that night upon a bed as soft as the rich man’s.
The next day, he decided not to work any more. It was now the beginning of summer, and each day was getting hotter and hotter. A few days later, he looked out of his window to see who might be going by. As he watched, a fine carriage went past his house, pulled by servants dressed in blue and gold. In the carriage sat a prince with a golden umbrella held over his head to keep him off the sun.
At once the stone cutter began to feel unhappy again. “Oh!” he said, “If only I were a prince. I want to ride in a carriage with a golden umbrella over my head. How happy I would be!”
And the mountain spirit answered: “Your wish is heard; the a prince you shall be.”
And no sooner had he wished it than it came to pass and he was a prince. He had servants dressed in red and gold, and he drove through the streets with a golden umbrella held above him to keep off the sun. So, for a little while, he was happy. But soon it was the middle of summer; the hottest time of the year. One day, he went out to his garden and he saw that the sun was drying out the grass, even though he had ordered that a lot of water be put on it. He also saw that his face was getting browner and browner, even though he had the golden umbrella carried over his head whenever he went outside.”The sun is more powerful than I!” he cried. “I want to be the sun. How happy I would be!”
And the mountain spirit answered: “Your wish is heard; the sun you shall be.”
Then the stone cutter was changed into the sun. He felt very proud and powerful; so large and yellow and high, up there in the sky. He burned the rice in the fields and made the faces of the people brown. But soon there seemed as if there were nothing more left for him to do. Then, one day, a cloud covered his face and hid the earth from him. “The cloud is more powerful than I!” he cried. “I would like to be the most powerful cloud in the sky. How happy I would be.”
And the mountain spirit answered: “Your wish is heard; a cloud you shall be.”
So he was changed into a cloud, and sat happily for a while between the sun and the earth. He stopped the sun from burning the earth, and sent down rain. The leaves were once more green, and the flowers grew. But this was not enough for him. He began sending down more and more rain. He made it rain for many days, until the rivers came up over the land and the rice died in the fields. He washed away whole towns and villages, but one thing he could not move — the great rock on the mountainside. “Is the rock, then, stronger than I?” he cried angrily. “Oh, if I were only the rock! How happy I would be!”
And the mountain spirit answered; “Your wish is heard; the rock you shall be!”
And at once he became the rock. For years he stood, proudly holding his head above the other rocks. The sun could not burn him and the rain could not move him. “This is better than anything else,” he cried. “I am greater than them all!” But one day, he heard a strange sound at his feet. When he looked down to see what it could be, he saw a stone cutter there, driving with his sharp tools into the mountainside. A strange feeling ran all through him, and a large piece of rock broke off and fell upon the ground. “Is a small child of the earth stronger than a rock?” he cried angrily. “Oh, if I were only a man!”
And the mountain spirit answered: “Your wish is heard. A man once more you shall be!”
And he became once more the same hard working stone cutter he was at the beginning. He lived in a small wooden hut, and slept on a hard bed at night. He had no more riches, and no golden umbrella. Yet he was the happiest of all now, for he had learned to be thankful for what he had and not wish that he could be someone or something else. He has never again asked for things he did not have, or wanted to be greater or more powerful than he was. And because of this, he has never again heard the voice of the mountain spirit.