Once upon a time, in a land far away, there were people whose lives were closely monitored by the gods that created their environment.
The gods were benevolent and kindly, but they made the land stony and rough to traverse. Everywhere the people went they encountered stones and boulders and inevitably, even when they tried to tread carefully, they would stub their toes, or bark their shins or stand on an awkward stone that turned an ankle.
Now, the gods decreed that if a stone hurt them in any way, they must pick up the stone and carry it for the rest of their lives, because it had impacted on them and therefore became a part of what they were.
So most people walked around with bags of stones in their hands and rucksacks on their backs, weighed down with the heaviness, scraped by the sharpness and banged into if they tried to run or jump. And the gods watched gravely and nodded their assent that the people were dutifully fulfilling their task. As their burdens became heavier the people had no energy to smile or laugh and their conversation became more focused on the stones and less about other things in their world.
Some people ignored the request and didn’t bother to carry their stones, but the gods just shrugged their shoulders and smiled benignly. Those people walked more freely, still encountering the obstacles in their path, but choosing to leave them behind, never stopping to pick them up and never carrying them in bags in their hands or on their backs. So they walked with a lighter step and smiled more often and laughed and talked more freely.
There were a couple, called Seth and Twinkle, who really wanted to please the gods, but couldn’t understand why they wanted them to struggle so much. They wondered why the people who didn’t carry the stones didn’t get punished - indeed the gods only shrugged and smiled. But the gods still requested that the stones be picked up and carried.
So they thought and wondered if perhaps there was a purpose to the stones? “But they make people less happy how can that be right?” So they decided to experiment. Firstly they decided to break up the stones into small pieces, to make them easier and less painful to carry. So they started chipping them away and breaking them up and inside they found something wondrous. In each rock and in each stone they found a crystal or a rough diamond. They marvelled at their discovery and realised this was what the stones and rocks were really about, so they discarded the outer rock and carried their prizes of rough diamonds and crystals.
Now their load was so much lighter and they felt proud and happy at their discovery. They told all the other stone-carrying folk about their wondrous find.
But some couldn’t be bothered to break their stones and some thought it couldn’t be right because the gods hadn’t instructed them to do it, but some set to and broke their stones and rocks and all found the crystals and rough diamonds within.
Now Seth and Twinkle were thoughtful and curious. They noticed how the gems sometimes caught the light and shone and sparkled. They realised that if they were cut and polished, they would shine even more. So they cut and polished and polished and cut and were left with just the brilliant, shining wonderful gems. They marvelled and exulted and wrapped themselves in their gemstones so they shone and glittered and they trod with a lighter step, with smiles and laughter.
The shining of the gemstones lit up the rocks in their pathway, so they hurt themselves less often and trod their paths with a light step.
Even when they had to pick up another rock or stone, they knew they could take it home and uncover the gem, polish it up and wear it with joy, pride and happiness.
Their shining light was seen by many and they showed others how to cut and shape and shine their gemstones. Not all people followed their example, but those that did added light to the land and happiness to everyones’ hearts.
The gods were dazzled and delighted and said - “You have learned your lessons and found your prize. Shine your light and reach as many people as you can and when you have done this, you may come to our dwelling and help us in our godly existence”.
Seth and Twinkle felt very tiny in the presence of the gods, but the light from their shining gemstones shone beyond their bodies and filled a big space around them and shards of their shining light radiated outwards and outwards and beyond until it reached all around their planet.