The Carver--A Life Lesson Story

By: Alice Steinbart

In a provincial city, there lived a woman who carved small wooden statues for a living. Her carvings were from softwood, because it was easy to work with. Most of the other carvers also worked in softwood. A few worked in stone, making large magnificent monuments, but the woman could never do that. Stone was expensive and if she made a bad blow she would ruin the whole statue. She didn’t know how to fix a bad strike like some carvers. No one had ever taught her.

Some of her carvings were appreciated, but other times she got complaints. The wood swelled in damp weather and split in dry. The complaints dampened her enthusiasm for her work and ate away at her self-confidence. She decided she was no good at carving, was never meant to be a carver. She looked around at what she could do and at what she liked.

Weaving. The colours were beautiful. The designs intricate. The fabric appealing. Having little money, she bought cheap thread and set up her stall off on one side of the bazaar. No one came. She knew she was too far from the center and her cloth not attractive enough.

One day as she was walking in the woods trying to decide what she should do, she came across some translucent stones lying in a stream bed.

Smooth, deep, and beautiful. She gathered up handfuls, filling her pockets.

Returning to the market, she went right to the center, and holding two of the stones to catch the light, showed them to the passer-bys. But they pushed past her, paying her no mind. She was bumped into a post, stopping her in bewilderment. “Why can’t they see how beautiful these stones are?" she thought.

She looked across the way, to Safia’s stall; Safia, the most successful seller in the market. Safia was buying carrots from one of the farmers. In the farmer’s hands they looked ordinary, because the farmer looked ordinary. But Safia displayed them as small, succulent, and rich orange. Safia was full of life, sparkle, and confidence. Buyers felt self-assured, smart, safe buying such good quality foods from her.

“I can do that", the woman thought. The next day she put on her best clothes, practiced what she would say and marched up to Safia.

“Safia, I have discovered these fine gems that will bring more people to your stall." Here she displayed some of the most spectacular stones on a piece of black velvet she had, rocking them gently to catch the light.

Safia pick one up and held it to the sun. “See how smooth, almost magical they are", said the woman. “You can set them in gold rings, string them into prayer beads, or simply roll them in your hand. They’ll bring a good price and attract a new clientele for you."

Safia saw immediately these would sell well. “I’ll give you 100 ringas for each stone", she offered.

“Safia, I will rent this section of your stall", countered the woman pointing to a spot next to the sweetmeats. “I’ll give you 10 spas a month plus 10% of my profits. This way you do what you do best, selling foods, while I give my full attention to these jewels. We will both make more sales."

Safia could see the woman wasn’t going to budge on this. It was either let her sell the stones or she would go elsewhere. “All right", sighed Safia.

The woman set up her display immediately. Safia told all her customers of her new wares. Curious they came over to see. The woman, by watching Safia, learned how to sell. She was a success and both Safia and her thrived. And from that day forward, the woman trusted herself. She knew she was worthy, valuable, and good enough. She grew in confidence and stature. Her demeanour changed. She had an aura about her that attracted people. She became as we all doFeature Articles, what she thought she was.

?2002 AliceSteinbart

Life Fear and Attitude
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