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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

572- The Stone Cutter


By: Maurice Kh. Zakhari


The young monk walked for a while with the elder monk until they reached a nice place where they used to go and enjoy the sunset. At this place, the elder used to speak with his disciple about God and the young monk used to tell the elder about his hopes and about what saddened his heart. The elder was always trying to make it easy for him supporting him to walk in the narrow path of the saints. Once the disciple wanted to tell his teacher about a confusing matter but he heard him saying,

How great are You God!

For everything in the world witnesses for Your greatness

And everyone glorifies You.

How nice are the ending moments

For they are the moments of release!

Oh God, when shall You release me from this world?

When the elder noticed that his disciple was confused, he asked him about the reason. The young monk felt embarrassed for knowing that the elder discovered his inside and said, Actually, Im busy thinking of many things.

The elder kept silent for a while then said, Its good for man to be busy with Jesus Christ not to be busy with matters that divert him from God. May your mind be busy only with God Who is inside you.

The young monk kept silent for a while thinking of the elders speech who looked at him kindly as if he was praying for him saying Please God, protect this young plant to grow and have good fruits. Keep him away from young foxes and from every evil.

The disciple looked at his elder teacher saying sadly, There are serious matters in the world that make one amazed thinking about their reasons.

Then he started to narrate the following story to him, Once I went to the near village to buy some needs for the monks. There, I noticed a poor man who has two tents. He lives with his two goats in one of them leaving the other tent which is better than the first for the strangers. Although he is very poor and earns only 10 cents per day from selling the milk of the goat he can fulfill his needs and help other people. For example, he always searches for any stranger in the village to invite him to his tent, wash his legs and present him food and drink. This man makes me ask amazingly, Why doesnt God grant this man more money to help more people? I think if he was a rich man, hed help more poor people and strangers. So I always pray and fast asking God to grant this person more money.

At this moment, the elder looked at his disciple and said harshly, No son, dont do that. May be its better for this man to be poor.

The disciple replied astonishingly, Why dont you want me to ask for his good? How could it be bad for him?

The elder looked at the sunset and touched his white beard as if he was trying to remember something. Then, he narrated the following story: Image: A Coptic Orthodox Monk walking in the wilderness, standing near a mountain with rocks - by Amgad Wadea صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: راهب قبطي أرثوذكسي يسير في البرية، في الطريق، يقف بجانب جبل و أحجار - رسم أمجد وديع Image: A Coptic Orthodox Monk walking in the wilderness, standing near a mountain with rocks - by Amgad Wadea

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: راهب قبطي أرثوذكسي يسير في البرية، في الطريق، يقف بجانب جبل و أحجار - رسم أمجد وديع

There was a pious man called Ologius. He was a stonecutter and was full of Gods grace. He worked hard daily to gain very little money. At night, he used to take a small lamp and go through his village searching for strangers to take them to his home, wash their legs, kiss their hands and present them food. Then, he used to present the remaining food to the dogs. One day, while returning home, he saw a monk who was selling his handwork in the village. Ologius got so happy to invite him with others home. In the morning, Ologius went to his work and the monk returned to his monastery in the Eskeit.

On his way, the monk thought, as you do now, about this stonecutter comparing him to many rich people and asked himself amazingly, Why doesnt God give this man more money to help more people? Thus, he prayed and fasted to God to answer his request concerning Ologius. He had eaten nothing for about three weeks that he became very weak insisting not to eat until God makes Ologius rich.

One night, the monk saw while sleeping - a glorious man looking like a priest asking him, How are you?

The monk replied, Please Lord, answer my request concerning Ologius sake and grant him more money.

The Lord replied, Now, hes better.

The monk said, Give him more money for, more people will glorify you through him.

The Lord said, I assure you that hes better now. Yet, if you want Me to grant him more money, I can do so, provided that you be responsible for him. You should guarantee that he wont leave my way when being rich, Ill ask you for his soul.

The monk agreed saying, I will, Lord.

Finally, the monk woke up happily, thanked God and had some food and drink, as God answered his request.

→ English translation of the story here at قاطع الأحجار. Divider

In the morning, Ologius went out to cut the stones as usual. He was walking among the high mountains lifting up his face to heavens and reciting his favorite comforting psalm

I will lift up my eyes to the hills whence comes my help.

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.

The Sun shall not strike you by day, not the Moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth,

And even for evermore. 

He felt that the mountains and all creatures were reciting with him his psalm. Divider

As he reached the place in which he was to cut the stones, he got his axe, called the name of the Lord and struck the mountain harshly with his axe. He heard a strange sound when he struck the mountain which proved that there was a hole downwards. He struck again and was surprised to find a small hole appearing. He continued to strike until the hole widened and he saw downwards a large cell. He could not see inside because it was dark.

Making sure that no one would see him, he tied is rope to a stone and to his waist. He descended into the cell and was hardly able to see inside.

He found many large boxes. He asked himself what would be inside. His question was answered when he struck one of them with his axe. To his surprise, he saw something extremely glittering. He cried, Gold, Pearls, jewels, diamond, coins! In a while, he broke all the boxes to find many treasures. He said to himself, If I took this treasure to my village people will ask about it and the ruler may take it by force. He decided to take the treasure to a far land where no one knew him.

He went out of the cell and moved a large stone on its opening. He rent some donkeys claiming that he would use them transporting the stones. He put his treasure on them and went secretly to the shore. He took a ship and put in it his treasure without telling the captains the truth. He told them that he was a merchant travelling to sell his merchandise and earn his living. The ship moved to Byzantium as Ologius ordered. On the way, Ologius thoughts were occupied with his treasure and his future. As he remembered the strangers, he said to himself, Ill build a large guesthouse and Ill give much money to the poor. Divider

As he reached Byzantium, he collected his treasures and went out of the ship. There, he was informed that a new king has been crowned over the city. He became one of the great people of the city because of his wealth. The king invited him to his banquet and rejoiced much when Ologius presented him a diamond more precious than the one on his crown. The king gave him vast lands and built him a wonderful palace. Leading such life, Ologius forgot all about the poor and the strangers.

Once he got up late after a night spent in amusement and drinking. He remembered that he had an appointment with the king. Therefore, he ordered his servants to prepare his best garments. He then went out and proudly rode his handsome carriage. As soon as he rode he heard someone crying, Have mercy upon me. I want to tell you a secret.

As he asked about that voice he was told that an ascetic monk was calling him. He smiled and ordered the carriage to move. Divider

Meanwhile, one of the servants beat the monk and hurt him. Then, he dismissed him. The monk moved on his legs and hands being unable to walk. Then, he sat beside a beggar. The beggar blamed him, Why did you come here? Dont you belong to a monastery? Youd have stayed in your monastery to fulfill your vows instead of begging.

The monk looked at him kindly and said, I didnt come to beg but to save this mans soul.

The beggar looked at him mockingly and said, Ologius! O fool!

The monk stayed sorry for guaranteeing Ologius. He remembered seeing him in a dream in a very ugly form among frightening creatures dragging him. Then, he knew how that dream showed his horrible destiny. Therefore, he left his monastery and went searching for Ologius in the place where he saw him for the first time. As he knew what became of him, he said to himself, Woe unto me. Im the one who sinned. Then, he took a ship to Byzantium.

Sitting on the floor, he thought, What shall I do after trying so hard to talk to him but in vain. Every time I try to approach him his servants beat me till death. He decided to return to the Eskait leaving Ologius to God to save him. As he got on the ship he prayed to God asking St. Mary to intercede on his behalf before her Son to absolve him of guaranteeing Ologius. While praying he fell asleep. He saw in a dream Lord Jesus Christ saying to him, Dont guarantee whats behind your ability and dont resist your Lords Will.

He could not utter a word. He went to St. Mary crying, O mother of the world have mercy upon me!

She went to Lord Jesus and worshipped Him. Then, the Lord said to the monk, Dont guarantee any one.

Ill never Lord. Ive sinned.

At the moment, the Lord said, Return to your cell and youll know how Ill restore Ologius to his first righteousness.

As the monk woke up, he rejoiced and thanked God and also St. Mary for her intercession. Divider

The king of Byzantium died and another king succeeded him. Later, three of his officials together with Ologius the Coptic minister disobeyed him. The king executed the three officials. As for Ologius, he confiscated all his possessions but Ologius was able to escape from Byzantium and return to his Upper-Egyptian village where he worked as a stone cutter as before reciting his psalm and served the strangers and the poor washing their feet, kissing their hands and presenting them food. Divider

The elderly teacher concluded his story looking kindly to the young monk. Then, he say tears in his eyes. The young monk stood up, made a prostration and said, Forgive me my father for, Im still young. May God save my soul.

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