The Japanese folktale of the stonecutter

In every mountain there is a spirit and in every man there is a spirit of yearning. The mountain spirit yearns to help the man, while the man often yearns for what he does not need. A man who makes his living through daily sweat and toil such as a stonecutter can often become disenchanted with the everyday drudgery of existence and wish for a better life. The mountain spirit can grant a man anything that he can wish for and uses this power to benefit anyone deemed worthy enough to receive such a great gift. At any moment in time, at any place in the world, wherever a mountain and a man may be found existing together, is a place where this story may be enacted.

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The stonecutter

And in that place a man who made his living as a stonecutter goes every day to the the mountain where he chips away until he has cut a large slab of rock from the rock face. He then cuts it into different sizes. Sometimes he cuts it into paving slabs. Sometimes he cuts it into gravestones, and sometimes he cuts it up for different purposes.

Over the years he had grown very skilled and knowledgeable about his trade. People respected him for his hard work, skill, reliability and diligence and he had a good reputation and many customers.

He lived in a wooden hut at the bottom of the mountain. It was not much but supplied his basic need for shelter. For many years he worked hard at his trade which provided all his meager needs. He was happy and satisfied and asked for nothing else in life.  But things were about to change!  Continue reading

The Mermaid of Blake Mere Pool, Staffordshire

The British Isles has its fair share of myths and legends concerning mermaids attached to many different places all around the coast. Surprisingly there are also a number of mermaid legends attached to many inland lakes and pools from all over Britain.

Blackmere Pond – by Graham Richter –  CC BY-SA 3.0

Blake Mere Pool has two legends attached to it that tell very different stories.   One account tells how a sailor from Thorncliffe, a nearby town, fell in love with a mermaid he met on one of his voyages and brought her to the pool so that they could both live close together. However he was a mortal and she was an immortal being and the sailor eventually died leaving her in the pool all alone.  The other account is more violent and brutal.  Read more Continue reading