Beneath The Boulder

A Sunday Story, a day late.

Adapted from "The Obstacle is the Way."

Once there was a king and he was concerned about his subjects. So early one morning, before anyone else was awake, he and his knights brought a huge boulder to the main road in the kingdom. With much effort they placed the boulder in the middle of the road and the king then ordered his men to return to the castle without him. Confused, they left, and their majesty went to the forest at the edge of the road. There, he hid among the trees and waited.

Soon, some wealthy merchants came along and stopped at the boulder. Immediately the king could hear them cursing him for not taking better care of their roads. Then, when they had finished their tirade, he watched as they half-heartedly tried to move the boulder and after only moments, when they could not, how they angrily kicked at it and threw up their arms and cursed him some more.

After hardly any effort and even less time, the men returned to their cart and the king thought that maybe they were going to sit and make a plan, but they did not. Instead, they turned the cart around and went back the way they'd come. The boulder remained in the road and the king was stunned. But then again he was not.

The king watched all day. More men and woman came to the boulder in the road and they too cursed him and half-heartedly tried to move the boulder and kicked at it and threw up their arms and cursed him some more. All went back the way they'd come. Not one tried with any real effort to move the boulder. And so it remained.

Finally, at sunset, a peasant came to the boulder and stopped his tired cart. He had with him just some simple rations that his family was waiting for, so that they might eat for the first time that day. The peasant quietly descended from his seat and approached the boulder. Then, for some time, he stood calmly staring at the massive rock. The king waited.

After a short time more, the man walked up to the boulder and he pushed it. When it would not budge at all the man put his shoulder into it and tried harder. Still the boulder did not move and still the man was quiet. Then, for some time, he continued to try to move the boulder. He used his shoulders, his arms, his back, his legs. He pushed at it from every side and looked at it from every angle and finally he stood back and again did not make a sound.

Then, after some more time, the peasant turned suddenly toward the forest. The king bent down so not to be seen and the man entered the trees. He went deep inside and the king could not see him anymore and then all was still. And the king waited.

After a long time the peasant emerged from the forest and he had with him a large branch that he had fashioned into a lever and the king was stunned. But then again he was not.

The man brought his handmade lever to the boulder and he wedged it under the massive rock and patiently he worked and he worked until finally the boulder began to budge and then it began to roll and he gave it one more shove and the boulder slid easily into the ditch beside the road.

The king waited then, his eyes wide and his breath held, as the peasant, with a cart full only enough for one meal, spotted the bag of gold that had been resting beneath the boulder.

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