Tyger (stormteller) wrote in mythmakers,


So it seems that at one time in a certain country, the king was getting old and had no children. Rather than pass on the crown to one of his daft and untrustworthy cousins, he decided to have a contest. After some thought, he concluded that it must be a contest of strength. In an ancient war, a siege engine had knocked down a piece of masonry into the royal courtyard, and no one had been able to remove it, thus ruining the feng shui of the place. Whoever could prove the greatest strength by removing the giant stone, the king decreed, would be the heir to the throne.

On the day of the contest, thousands of prospective rulers arrived, each proudly boasting their strength and ability. One by one they went up to the stone and pressed and pushed and pounded with all of their might, but despite their best efforts no one could move the huge piece of masonry so much as an inch.

The day wore on. Finally, a man appeared from the crowd who was different from the rest. His arms were not so thick as the other contestants, and he was not so boastful. The spectators observed him with humor, thinking that here was a fool who would soon be put in his place. But after a moment of taking the stone into consideration, the weaker man whistled, and from among the watchers came hundreds of other fellows, strong and weak alike. Together, the hundreds of men pushed and shoved at the stone until finally it began to move; first an inch, then a foot, until finally it was cleared of the courtyard.

The crowd watched in confusion. They looked to the king, who fortunately was having one of his clear-headed days. He stood and, with a great grin, pronounced the man the winner. The courtiers and other contestants were outraged. "He didn't move the stone by strength alone," they cried. "He just called up his friends and had them help him."

The king looked around for a while, his grin growing wider. "Friendship," he said finally, "is the greatest kind of strength."
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