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The Fable of the Man and The Boulder

Updated on May 27, 2016
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He is a former journalist who has worked on various community and college publications.

Just One Giant Obstacle

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Fable of a man on a journey confronted by an obstacle

The traveler heard a rumbling and a crash. It was the indistinguishable sound of an avalanche. He rushed around the bend on the narrow mountain road to discover to his dismay that there was indeed an avalanche. Worst yet, it left a massive boulder in the middle of the road.

That road led to his destination, a mountainside village where his family lived. He had been away from them for a long time, doing odd jobs in a faraway land in order to support them. Now, the long hard task was over. He had enough to return and to support them and live with them for good.

But this boulder now stood before him and his final destination. The man jumped up and down, spewing a volley of tirades at this unwelcome intrusion before him.

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“Why now” he cried in frustration. “Why couldn’t you wait until I passed?”

Frustration now drove him. He ran up to the bolder and tried to push it, but it was too heavy. He kicked it, but it was too hard. Finally, while he tore strands of hair from his head trying to come up with a solution, he started to yell at it.

“Move!” he screamed. “Move out of the way!”

The rock didn’t listen. It remained there on the road, blocking the man’s futile attempt to get home.

Frustration turned to anger. He jumped up and down and spewed more profanity at it. He screamed and threw volleys of fists at it until he was exhausted. After a while, he sank to the ground and started to weep. He crouched on the ground and buried his face into his arms and wailed.

Unbeknownst to him, the sun had made its steady pace across the sky and was about to duck behind the mountains and call it a day. This meant a new danger awaited him. From the wooded areas above the traveler, a lone wolf preparing for the sun’s departure spied on the traveler. He saw a vulnerable prey.

And that light didn’t go unnoticed. The traveler emerged from his depression. His mind cleared and he began to see the solution to his situation.

This is good, the wolf thought. The human has lost hope. He turned and vanished into the woodlands to tell the others in his pack of his discovery.

Within a few minutes, the howls started. The wolves were celebrating. The traveler heard them, and cringed. Was this the end for him? So close, but so far from his destination, he thought. That notion sank deep within him.

The setting sun took notice to the drama unfolding. It knew the man would be a sitting prey for the wolves. Usually, it never cared for the follies of humans. But this time, it took pity on the man. It shot a ray of light onto the boulder.

And that light didn’t go unnoticed. The traveler emerged from his depression. His mind cleared and he began to see the solution to his situation.

The boulder was huge and smooth. It couldn’t be scaled. He peered to the sides. That’s when noticed that it didn’t cover the entire road. It left a few inches of space between it and the edge of the road.

Still, this narrow passageway was nothing to cheer about. It was inches from a very steep fall.

The wolves howled again. This time, they were louder and more frequent. They were getting closer and closer. It would not be long before they emerged from the bend in the road.

He had a choice: he could sit there feel sorry for himself for not being able to move the boulder and allow the wolves to corner him; or he could take his chances with the ledge.

Thoughts of home, his family, and his wife flashed through his head. They depended on him, just as he depended on them. He knew what his choice had to be.

The first wolf appeared around the bend. He salivated and flashed an evil grin when he saw the traveler.

The traveler rushed to the ledge and skirted along the narrow passage.

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The wolf leapt but, couldn’t reach him in time. He tried to follow until he realized the passage way was too thin for his massive body. He yelped and fretted as the traveler made it to the other side.

The traveler raced as fast as he could up the trail until he heard another crash and a wolf’s piercing whine. He turned around to see the boulder slip off the trail and go tumbling down the mountainside, carrying the wolf with it.

The wolf had leapt to the top of the boulder; however, the added weight was too much for the road.

Now, a huge gap existed where the boulder was. The other wolves stood on the other side, unable to jump across it. They howled in frustration.

He peered across the mountain peaks on the other side of the valley he had come from. A sliver of sun was still visible.

“Thank you,” he whispered to it, before he continued his journey home.

Home, he thought. How sweet that sounds.

© 2012 Dean Traylor

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