Once upon a time in Japan, there was a poor stone cutter named Hofus who used to go every day to the mountainside to cut great blocks of stone. He lived near the mountain in a little stone hut and worked hard and was happy.
One day he took a load of stone to the house of a rich man. There he saw so many beautiful things that when he went back to his mountain he could think of nothing else. Then he began to wish that he too might sleep in a bed as soft as down with curtains of silk and tassels of gold. And he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only were rich as he!" To his surprise, a great voice was heard: "Have thou thy wish!"
When Hofus returned home his house had become a palace filled with beautiful things. Hofus decided to work no more, but he was not used to being idle and one day as he sat by the window he saw a carriage dash past with a prince inside. It was drawn by snow white horses.
When the stone cutter saw this, he began to feel unhappy, and he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only a prince might be!" And again the same voice that he had heard on the mountain answered: "Be thou a prince!"
Straightway Hofus was a prince. He had servants dressed in crimson and gold, and for a short time he was happy, but one day, as he walked in the garden, he saw that the flowers were drooping, the grass was dry and brown. And when he rode out he felt the hot sun burn him in spite of his umbrella.
"The sun is mightier than I," thought he, and then he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only the sun might be!" And the voice answered: "Be thou the sun!"
Straightway the great sun he became. He burned the grass and rice fields. He dried up the streams.One day a cloud came and rested in front of him, and hid the earth from his sight. He was angry and cried: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only a cloud might be!" And the voice answered: "Be thou a cloud!"
Straightway a cloud he became. Then day after day the cloud dropped rain. The rivers overflowed and towns were swept away. Only the great rocks on the mountain side stood unmoved midst the flood. The cloud looked at them in wonder, then he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only a rock might be!" And the voice answered: "Be thou a rock!"
Straightway a rock he became. Proudly he stood. The sun could not burn him and the rain could not move him. "Now, at last," he said, "no one is mightier than I."
But one day he was wakened from his dreams by a noise, "tap! tap! tap!" down at his feet. He looked and there was a stone cutter driving his tool into the rock. Another blow and the great rock shivered; a block of stone broke away.
"That man is mightier than I!" cried Hofus, and he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only the man might be!" And the voice answered: "Be thou thyself!"
And straightway Hofus was himself again, a poor stone cutter, working all day upon the mountain side and going home at night to his little hut. Yet, he was content and happy and never again did he wish to be other than Hofus the stone cutter.
thanks to my sister for posting this story. i love it. this is a lesson i need to learn...to be content and happy as myself.