Grain of Sand floated past on the current and Pebble saw her washed away into the valley.
“Gone is Grain of Sand,” cried Pebble. “Surely if I were like Stone, I would never wash away. Why can’t I be like Stone?”
Stone heard this and admitted, “Yes, life is good, but I can still be washed away. I would like to be more like Rock. Then surely I would stay in one place and never be washed away.”
Rock heard this and replied, “It is better to be a rock, but I would like to be like Boulder so I would indeed stay in one place.”
Boulder heard this, laughed a little and responded,”Oh yes, I am less likely to be washed away, but more fortunate would I be if I were Mountain; he wants for nothing. He will always stand tall and still. His years will be longer than all of ours, and he will never be washed away.”
Everyone agreed that it would be the best to be Mountain. Cheers arose from the crowd in the stream, “Be like Mountain, be like Mountain!”
Mountain heard all this chatter, for he was standing right there the whole time. He gave a mighty laugh, but then began to sob. Pebble, Stone, Rock and Boulder watched, amazed by the sight of the mighty mountain weeping, until they all asked together: “What’s wrong?”
Mountain replied, “You all want to become bigger, but listen to what I say! My lament is that I will never travel through the valley. I will never see how the sunlight illuminates each part of the stream. I will never flow over the dams, feel the chill and heat of the lands beyond, and perceive the myriad smells, tastes, and sights of the world. I will never flow through the roots of trees and wash up on the shores of new and exotic lands.
Being so tall, I can see all of it. I can see everything, but I will never really experience any of these things. I will always stand outside of them, gazing over them. What you consider a blessing, I consider a curse. The water will flow past me, slowly tearing away my flesh until there is nothing left of me; in hundreds of billions of years, I will have done nothing but stand here, tortured and exiled. You want to be me, but the truth is, I want to be Grain of Sand. She is truly blessed and I hope you will one day realize it.
The crowd in the stream thought for a moment about what they had heard. They realized that Mountain had gone mad, and if any one of them could change places with Mountain, they would be thankful for their great fortune.