Tajik folk tale

Book Description

The Stonecutter was cutting stone in his quarry when suddenly he heard the shouts of runners: “Down on your knees! Down on your knees! A white elephant appeared, and on its back rode a mighty king. The Stonecutter fell on his knees and thought: “The king can’t even see me. Here am I, bowing to an Elephant....” “Poor me, even an Elephant has a better life! I wish I were an Elephant!” And in- stantly the Stonecutter became an Ele- phant, stalking very proudly. And suddenly the king spilled his hot tea on the back of the Stonecutter-Ele- phant. “I wish I were the king instead,” he thought. The same moment he became the king, riding the white elephant and enjoying his power and his tea. The Sun was a nuisance, shining straight into the kingly eyes, and the Stonecutter- King thought: “The Sun is stronger than I am. I wish I were the Sun.” And a new Sun rose over the world. And its rays beat down upon the Earth. The Earth was very hot, and... ...steam rose from it and grew into a Cloud, and the Cloud overshadowed the Sun. “I wish I were that Cloud!’ the Sun said angrily. The Stonecutter-Cloud spread across the sky. Suddenly the wind rushed at it and tore at it, and the Cloud said: ‘I wish I were the Wind!” “I wish...” howled the Wind, ripping off roofs and people’s hats, racing faster and faster. Suddenly it bumped into a Rock and was dashed to pieces. “I wish...” howled the Wind, but it was no longer the Wind... .-but the Rock. Its head was high up in the clouds, and the people bustling down be- low were too small to notice. The Rock did not see the Stonecutter with a heavy pickaxe in his big hands. The man swung the pickaxe and struck at the Rock. ‘Man is the strongest of all,” moaned the Rock. “I wish I were a Man!” And once again he became the Stonecutter working in his quarry. Runners came again, shouting: “Down on your knees!” And the Stonecutter thought: “Elephant, King, Cloud, Wind, Rock: no, I shan’t go down on my knees!” And he didn’t. And no one could force him to his knees. It’s man’s own weakness and not anybody else’s strength that can make him.

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