The Sculptor's Vow
There was once a sculptor who found a piece of perfect stone. At the sight of it he vowed he would turn such a rock into his masterpiece. It would, of course, take the form of a woman, convey beauty and strength and wonder—it would be the ultimate depiction of humanity, all crafted from his very hands. It would be his token to accolades, all the world would stare in wonder, and he would be regarded as someone great.
He sat before the stone, the chisel laid down at his side, and concentrated, with an ardor in his mind, on what it was to make such a work.
But no matter how hard nor how long he thought, there was nothing that moved with intensity into his being, no marveling motivation toward greatness, no guiding light of genius filling him with inspiration.
So long did he think on this that his life began to fleck away, in as much as the stone before him did not. And so he told himself that he must settle to his work and trust that in the midst of chipping away at the rock wonder would reveal itself.
The process was the same as it always was, to the grave disappointment of the sculptor—if this was to be his most pivotal work, something must be different. Yet he could not change his usual artist’s fervor that overtook his hands and his mind as he lifted layer upon layer, smoothing the rock into the shape that his mind had conjured.
Then came the day when there was little left to smooth, and even less to chisel.
The sculptor stared at the form of the woman, knowing that it held no breath of life, no captivating moment that would strike the eye in any way as to inspire marvel. The longer he contemplated his work, the greater the beads of sweat that stuck out upon his brow. Sweat turned to blood. Long he sat in agony, desperate for glory and honor from his craft, hungering after the rich knowing of having created wonder, until all at once he knew what he must do.
It only took a step upon the foundation for the artist to climb inside her and leave himself behind. His body decayed, then turned to ash. The wind swept it against the statue, smoothing away the last chiseled marks.
And all who see her marvel at such a masterpiece.