(copy-pasted from LD) :
The Wheelbarrow – a parabola (or potentially a hyperbola)
Fri 10 Aug 2012, 18:40 0 Comment(s) Email article
There once was a man who watched how earth was moved in great building trucks.
He watched in fascination how this earth was moved up a steep road to the top of a hill, so that a rich man could build a nice house up there.
He watched how more trucks drove up that hill as more rich men built their houses up there.
And the man said to himself: What they can do, I can do too.
So he stopped one of the truck drivers and asked him to drive some dirt up there for him too so he could build himself a house.
“What kind of a house do you want?” asked the driver.
“A nice and large one, like those rich folks,” replied the man.
The driver laughed aloud and drove on up the hill.
The man tried this various times, as he’d heard of others who had got there by asking the truck drivers. Every time he got a brush-off, sometimes in kinder and sometimes, more scathing tones.
So the man got annoyed.
I can do this myself, he told himself. Who the heck needs truck drivers? I’ve got a nice little plot earmarked up there for my house, I only need to get the dirt up there.
And so he bought himself a wheelbarrow and started wheeling the dirt up there himself.
He met every stone, every ditch in the road and tripped and fell and spilt his dirt and shovelled it back onto the barrow, and continued, calling it all “experience”.
When the trucks rattled by he waved and grinned: See? I’m doing it myself, I don’t need you guys!
He reached the little plot that he’d earmarked for himself, and noticed how small it was. But that was alright; he was going to build his house here. He ditched the earth and went back downhill for more.
He did this for many days.
The hill around him became built up. His own little plot looked bare and underdeveloped with nothing but its little dirt heap on it… but the dirt heap was growing, so he wasn’t giving up.
He grew older as he valiantly battled on with his wheelbarrow, day after day, waving cheerfully at the passing trucks.
Until one day he stopped and turned to look at the sunset.
The valley was lying beautifully beneath him. The skies were wide open above him. Everything was glowing.
His back hurt all the time now; his hands had welts that would never heal; and his shoe soles were walked through. He was dusty and unkempt and looked like an old vagabond. His dirt and his plot and his wheelbarrow were all right there, waiting for him; his small mound of earth had grown but still it was not yet enough to fill the slope for even a small house.
And something in him went “click”.
The man left his wheelbarrow standing exactly where it was and followed his heart out into the world, into the freedom of the Great Beyond. His back unbent as he walked, and his step became lighter, and his eyes regained their youthful sparkle. He was free!
The wheelbarrow is still standing halfway up the hill. By now, morning glory and dandelions are growing in its dirtload.
Moral: Be nice to the truck drivers!