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The Tower of Stones
A short parable
In the lively town of Westhollow, the river Delos flowed, its shimmering waters reflecting both the joys and mysteries of life.
Some said that, on quiet nights, the river sang a gentle song. However, with all its beauty and grace, Delos was a double-edged sword. While its waters quenched the land and filled the wells, it also carved a deep chasm, separating the town from the lush meadows on the other side, lands ripe with promise and fertility.
Nestled amidst the quaint cottages of Westhollow stood the grand residence of Lord Cedric, a town elder renowned not just for his immense wealth but for his boundless generosity. Lord Cedric was the town's beacon, often coming to the aid of anyone in need. As seasons changed and time took its toll, Lord Cedric would pass, leaving the town draped in a cloud of sorrow.
Rowan and Leo, both close to Lord Cedric, received a special gift after he was gone. Lord Cedric had left each of them a monumental number of beautiful stones. These weren't just mere rocks; they were bountiful and shimmered in hues of azure, amber, and jade. Alongside the stones lay an age-old parchment, bearing the deep imprints of Lord Cedric’s final thoughts. Below this wisdom, he left them parting words: "With these stones, craft not just structures, but futures.”
Rowan’s thoughts immediately connected with the heartbeat of the town. He imagined a future where children could chase butterflies in the meadows, where farmers could harvest from the fertile land, and where traders could bridge gaps between distant towns. Recognizing the potential for transformative change, Rowan undertook the monumental task of bridging the divide across Delos. Each day, from dawn till dusk, he worked. Despite his calloused hands, Rowan’s resolve never wavered, for he envisioned a future where the village thrived.
Leo, intoxicated by his legacy, started building a big tower in town using the same stones. The higher it got, the prouder he became. At every town gathering, people would clap and cheer for him. As his tower grew taller, as did his status. Elevated to the local hero, he laid each stone with haste, often overlooking the deeper foundations and sacrificing the integrity of his creation. For him, the immediate dazzle was everything he needed.
Rowan’s bridge, though a marvel of design and intent, seemed modest. It lacked the immediate glitter and glamour of Leo’s tower. Knowing in his heart the lasting impact his bridge would have on the community's future, he continued work, despite the villagers paying him little mind.
But nature had its own plans. After years of construction, dark clouds gathered one fateful day. The river raged with an unmatched fury. A terrifying flood threatened the very existence of Westhollow. Leo’s tower, built on the shallow foundations of ego and pride, was no match for nature's wrath.
As the waters receded and a hush fell over Westhollow, the remnants of Leo’s grand ambitions lay exposed. Where the towering monument once stood there was now only emptiness. The once-celebrated tower's collapse was met with an excruciating silence, a chilling void that contrasted sharply with its prior glory. Chunks of stone and debris littered the town, each piece an echo of dreams shattered.
But amidst this devastation, a beacon of hope persisted: Rowan’s bridge. It had not only withstood the wrath of the flood, but had also become the lifeline for many. During the flood's peak, countless villagers had sought refuge across the bridge, escaping the path of the rampaging waters and finding shelter in the meadows beyond. This bridge had become their salvation.
Yet, as the townspeople began the arduous task of rebuilding, old dreams were not easily forgotten. While the bridge stood as a symbol of true purpose, whispers still traveled through the recovering town. Whispers of a tower even taller, even grander, and the age-old allure of reaching for the skies.
To many, Rowan and the bridge were merely a practical afterthought, overshadowed by the dazzling memories of the tower's former glory. In the town square, some children would stack stones, mimicking the tower's ascent, while the bridge's tales of salvation were seldom told.
Amidst these lingering dreams, a young child, eyes filled with wonder and innocence, gently placed a single stone upon the surviving bridge's pathway.