Once upon a time, there lived a small pebble,
on the shore of a stream.
It was an impatient, ambitious little pebble,
and felt that its dusty sphere was limited.
Sometimes, birds would fly by, laughing,
I have seen a great whirlwind swallow up boulders
a hundred times as big as you!”
“Have you ever seen an avalanche of snow falling
in pure white clumps from craggy peaks?”
Sometimes, too, fish would swim by, gurgling,
“We have seen sea snakes give birth in water
and toads that tear through their mother’s back.
Oh, all the sights and wonders we have seen!”
The little pebble felt very bitter, and often sighed,
“If only I could see those sights and be shaped by these wonders!”
One day, a child ran to the stream, giggling with her friends.
“Look! See how far I can skip these stones!” she cried.
And before the pebble knew quite what was happening,
it felt a warm, pudgy hand clamp down around its middle,
and the pebble was hurled into the middle of the stream.
The pebble spun, careened, whirled, tumbled, cartwheeled its way
down the clear, bubbling brook. Water licked at its sides.
The sky was bright and sparkling with fresh, dear, bluish hope.
The pebble squeaked, “At last! At last!
I will see the world at last!”
The stream then diverged into two pathways,
and the pebble was whirled along to…
a muddy rivulet.
The water grew slower and slower,
then trickled to a tired brown coil of mud.
The pebble was wedged into a pudding of dirt with a foul stench,
and its heart grew as heavy as its little body,
as it sank into the depths.
“Oh, why was I so ungrateful with my little plot of ground!” the pebble sighed.
“At least there, I had sunlight, warm wind, birds to listen to,
the reeds to dance and sway before my sight.
Here, there is nothing but darkness.
Why was I so ungrateful?”
the stream broadened, then opened to great, sparkling expanses
the pebble had never seen before.
White froth foamed at the glittering surface of the ever-changing liquid.
Sunlight cast jewels and gold necklaces on the bosom of the large river.
The pebble felt its heart soar on light, sweet wings,
and it sang at the top of its voice,
“Beat me and pound me and whirl me away,
Carry me into the midst of the fray!
Whatever befall me, I am not afraid;
Better tossed in the sea than dead in the shade!”