There once was a stonecutter, who was dissatisfied with himself and his position in life. One day, he passed a wealthy merchants house, and through the open gateway, saw many fine possessions and important visitors.

"How powerful that that merchant must be!" thought the stonecutter. He became very envious, and he wished he could be like the merchant. Then he would no longer have to live the life of a mere stonecutter.

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 I could be a high official!" Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around who had to bow low 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 the sun is!" he thought, and wanted to be the sun. Then he became the sun. Shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching fields, cursed by 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 the storm cloud is!" he thought and wished he could be the storm cloud. Then he became the storm cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found he was being pushed away by some great force and realized that it was the wind; and wished he 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 up against it.....a huge, towering stone.

"How powerful that stone is!" he thought. Then he became the stone, more powerful than the anything else on Earth. 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.

(Benjamin Hoff)