The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

100 word stories. Post all you like, maybe we'll dip in and use yours?
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Scattercat
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The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by Scattercat » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:50 am

Over at Mirrorshards, I've had a sort-of mascot sort-of tradition going for over a year now. Back when I started, one of the first stories I did was called "The Wisest Stone." The Wisest Stone's truculent pseudo-philosophy appealed to me and I wanted to do more stories about him, but I had promised myself that I would stick with the premise of my blog, which was individual stories of 100 words, not 100-word chunks of a coherent storyline. As a compromise, on the first of every month, I allow myself to write another little story of the Wisest Stone's journeys (or those of his only acolyte to date, Taku.)

Wisest Stone stories are favorites among my friends. I thought I'd share them en masse and see what ya'll thought, since at this point we're barely acquaintances and your perspective is likely to be less biased.

---

The Wisest Stone

They swooped through the sky, twirling and spinning, executing flawless loop-the-loops and dangerous synchronized turns. There were collisions, of course. Two of them got confused and jigged when they should have jagged. The impact rained shards and choking dust down onto the morning traffic, causing delays. A short time afterward, most of the downtown offices closed after another large boulder nearly destroyed a corner office after not paying attention to where it was going.

“Why are you doing this?” Taku asked his friend, the Wisest Stone.

The Wisest Stone thought. “We grew tired of staying still,” he said at last.

---

The Stone Who Loved

Taku sat beside the Wisest Stone. “She has rejected my advances,” he said, scraping at the wooden bench with his knife. “I feel as though I might die.”

The Wisest Stone thought before he spoke. “I once had a love,” he said.

Taku glanced over, eyebrows raised.

“I loved a river. She was beautiful, and she danced in the sunlight. I strove mightily to please her. But when I had achieved it, I found it was not to be, and it would have been better had I not pursued her.”

“What happened?” asked Taku.

“I used to be a mountain.”

---

The Rolling Stone

The Wisest Stone traveled for a year and a day. He conquered mountains and swam seas. When at last he returned to his resting place, his friend Taku was waiting for him.

“What have you learned on your journey?” asked Taku.

“It is easier to roll downhill than to roll uphill,” answered the Wisest Stone, “but easiest of all is to remain still.”

Taku thought on the Wisest Stone’s words for a time. “That is either very wise or very foolish,” he said at last.

“Come and tell me when you have resolved the matter,” said the Wisest Stone, yawning.

---

The Things He Learned

Taku bowed before his father. His brother and sister knelt with him.

“You have all been to study. Tell me what you learned.”

“I have been to the Nestling Tree,” said Taku’s brother. “I have learned growth and self-sustenance.”

“I have been to the Singing Fish,” said Taku’s sister. “I have learned to dwell in the dark and the deep.”

“I have been to the Wisest Stone.” Taku thought hard before he spoke. “His lessons were not always easy to understand. I have learned patience and hardness.” He gathered himself and leapt. Everyone gasped. “And I have learned to fly.”

---

Patience


“You must learn patience,” said the Wisest Stone. “I will teach you the way of it.”

“Your lessons have always served me well,” said Taku. “I will listen.”

He waited for the Wisest Stone to speak, but no words came. Taku’s feet grew weary, and he squatted. Then his knees grew weary, and he lay upon the ground. The cold winds came, and the rain, and Taku shivered and endured. When the warm season returned and the water dried, Taku spoke: “I understand. Thank you for the lesson, o Wisest Stone.”

“Oh, are you still here?” said the Wisest Stone.

---

The Illusion of Solidity

“We are trapped,” said Taku. He laid a hand on the wall.

“Not so,” said the Wisest Stone. “The hardness of rock is only an illusion. Once we were as soft as clouds, but we grew tired of being constantly penetrated and violated, and so we adapted an inflexible attitude in order to better preserve our preferred shape. Still, it is only an attitude, and not fact.”

Taku frowned skeptically, but his friend was often proven right in the end. Taku walked with confidence towards the wall. He banged his nose.

“It is a good illusion,” the Wisest Stone admitted.

---

Pangs

As they waited, the Wisest Stone recounted the story of his creation for Taku, who had not asked.

“The ground was shattered,” he said, “and fire rained down from the sky. The sea shook with the force of the blast. Great cracks split the island and smoke blackened the sun. My brothers and I screamed as we plummeted down, hurled into the air by the violence of the eruption.”

Taku wrapped his arms around his legs. “It sounds horrible. Why was your birth so traumatic?”

“There is always pain at a birth,” said the Wisest Stone. “Nothing new comes easily.”

---

Among the Fallen Stones

Taku moved slowly through the rubble and scree. He called every now and then, but without much hope. There were many boulders of sufficient size, and more that had been shattered by the force of their impact. Taku was worried. His friend had been silent a long time.

At last Taku sat to rest, holding his head in despair.

“Hello,” said the Wisest Stone from beneath him.

Taku jumped. “I could not find you amid the stones!” he said. “Why did you not answer my calls?”

“I knew which one I was,” answered the Wisest Stone.

---

Trajectory

The boulder clipped the top of the curtain wall, knocking several smaller blocks loose. “Hello,” said the Wisest Stone amid the settling dust. “You folks seem more reasonable. Now, this territorial dispute you’re having…”

“A talking stone!”

“It’s of the devil! Fling it back!” Soldiers scattered.

“You are the Wisest Stone!” said a small block. “Why do you not simply leave?”

“Ah,” said the Wisest Stone, “but here, traveling between the two sides yet bound to neither, I am in a unique position to arbitrate.” Rough hands strapped him into the catapult. “I’m sure someone will want to listen. Eventually.”

---

Foundations

“It is the problem of all buildings,” said the Wisest Stone, as Taku worked to dig him out of the soft sand.

“I think it is a problem of sand,” Taku said.

“The sand cannot be blamed. The trouble comes in the weight of the thing.”

“You should not land upon the beach,” Taku pointed out. “We have spoken of this before.”

“It is best,” the Wisest Stone went on, as if he had not heard, “to build upon a foundation of rock. But even piling rock upon rock, at some point you will still be building upon the sand.”

---

Frontiersman

The farmer found, to his dismay, that the stone which had halted his plow was rather larger than he'd thought. His digging revealed what was almost a boulder, out of place in the soft loam of the countryside. He nearly dropped his spade when the stone spoke.

“What are you doing?” asked the stone, in a polite but disinterested baritone.

“I'm a farmer,” the man answered. “I tame the wilderness to bring order and plenty.” He indicated his plow, horse, and tools.

The Wisest Stone thought a while. “I do not feel particularly tamed,” he said.

---

How Not to Fight

"I mean to kill you!" the warrior cried.

"Why?" asked Taku.

"Our tribes are enemies. Come down! Fight me!"

"The Wisest Stone taught me patience. I have food."

"Pah! Superstitions. My god is greater."

Taku shrugged. "Mine is smaller, but he teaches sufficiency."

The warrior grinned. "Fight me... or I will burn your village!"

Taku thought on this, then slid from his perch. "I will fight, though I am unskilled. I was not taught warfare."

"You are soft!" The blade plunged forward. The warrior's face fell.

"No," said Taku, looking at the shattered knife. "That is not something I was taught, either."

---

Guest Lecturer

Taku consulted the shiny paper map. “I think the Philosophy Department is that way,” he said, pointing over his shoulder.

The Wisest Stone stood beside the sidewalk, out of place without a coat of garish paint portraying the school’s mascot. “What is the point? They talk and talk, endlessly, and yet they never take any actions to bring about change in the world. What value is someone who always criticizes and never accomplishes?”

Taku folded the map away. “You are much as they are.”

The Wisest Stone was silent for a moment. “True. But the difference is: I am right.”

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strawman
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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by strawman » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:21 pm

Okay. Okay. Great stuff! I'm a fan. But all of this in one bite? I feel like a cake that has been slathered with thick icing.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by dreamrock » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:40 pm

:lol: I'm precisely the wrong person to be asking for objectivity on koans and koan-like literature. I love the hell out of that stuff.

Anyway, pretending that I could be objective, this is f'n brilliant.

Putting on my blurb-writer's hat for a moment, these combine perfect understanding of a cohesive philosophy with strong writing skills.

While I wouldn't remove any, thirteen in one thread at a time may, as strawman noted, be a bit much. :D
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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by Scattercat » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:24 pm

Yeah, but thirteen separate threads would've been halla spammy, ne? I dunno. I s'pose I can take half of 'em down or something...

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by ROU Killing Time » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:59 pm

Scattercat wrote:Yeah, but thirteen separate threads would've been halla spammy, ne? I dunno. I s'pose I can take half of 'em down or something...
Yes, that would have been appalling. They might have ended up calling you a forum hog or something. Based on the reviews, I'm going to sip at these drabbles like nice espresso. First, though, I owe it to the reverend to go read up on his new stuff.

Glad you found your way to these forums Scattercat. You are our kind of people.
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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by strawman » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:10 pm

Why don't you start a new Wisest Stone thread? I know ROU is already composing one in his notorious head.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by dreamrock » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:14 pm

Scattercat wrote:Yeah, but thirteen separate threads would've been halla spammy, ne? I dunno. I s'pose I can take half of 'em down or something...
Well, now that I have them backed up, I don't mind if you take half down. :lol: However, I'd rename this thread to [title it already is] #1 and then make a second one with the same title formula with number incremented by one. And put half in the second thread.

That way, it's not too much trouble for you, and people who like their stuff in smaller chunks needn't fret.

I sent this thread to my favorite beta and she said "weeeeeeeeeeeird." I generally take it as a compliment when she says that. Just thought I'd pass that on since I haven't managed to convince her to listen to DC and thus to join the forum.
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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by crazyhorse » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:08 am

That was great!

I may be in the minority but I didn't mind all 13 at once. Of course, reading them at work in between actual work may have had something to do with that.

The Illusion of Solidity was my favorite. I love the comedy mixed with the philosophy. Makes it much easier to digest.
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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by Scattercat » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:18 am

I wasn't really intending them to all be read in a lump sum, really; I just put them all in one 'cause multithreads are more obnoxious than singular long posts, to my mind. I fully expect people to pick out one or two to read at a time; I only post one story a day on Mirrorshards anyway.
Based on the reviews, I'm going to sip at these drabbles like nice espresso.
By all means, take your time. Don't wait too long or else it'll go cold, though. (Unless espresso is that stuff that comes in the teeny little cups. I've never gotten the hang of coffee, really.)
I know ROU is already composing one in his notorious head.
All of my microfiction is put out on a CC-Noncommercial-Attribution-Derivatives license, so I'd be pleased as punch if people did their own Wisest Stone ones. (Well, not completely thrilled, 'cause the Stone is, as I said, kind of my semi-official mascot and I feel kind of territorial about him, but it'd make me smile to know someone enjoyed it that much.)
Just thought I'd pass that on since I haven't managed to convince her to listen to DC and thus to join the forum.
Comments also welcome at mirrorshards.org, mind; I get an e-mail anytime anyone says anything, so even comments on way-old stuff come to my attention. If I ever get to having more than 15-20 daily hits, I might have to change that option, but I appear to be a niche taste thus far.
The Illusion of Solidity was my favorite. I love the comedy mixed with the philosophy. Makes it much easier to digest.
It's one of my favorite 'zinger' ending lines, definitely. I like to keep the Wisest Stone in the limbo between a genius and a holy fool. A little like the Irresponsible Captain Tyler. Taku gets something out of the nonsense, anyway. I'm not sure I do...

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by strawman » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:29 am

How about a Norm read?
I can hear the song of the Koto, and the wise voice of Ling Ling, (which should have been Norm's Japanese accent, but sounded exactly like Walter Brennan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqpROXVW ... re=related" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false). I bet it would be classic.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by Scattercat » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:17 am

strawman wrote:How about a Norm read?
I can hear the song of the Koto, and the wise voice of Ling Ling, (which should have been Norm's Japanese accent, but sounded exactly like Walter Brennan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqpROXVW ... re=related" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false). I bet it would be classic.
Well, that'd require 'em to be noticed and chosen, ne? :-P

Brennan has the tones of wisdom, but I've always heard the Wisest Stone as less accented, and a little deeper and echo-y. Like Darth Vader on Quaaludes.

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by strawman » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:03 pm

This could be an alter ego to Connor Choadsworth. Maybe Connor meets and falls for Nimbarin's Mongolian monk cousin.

Usually I thought when you pitch a project, you get to eat lunch at a toney Hollywood restaurant.
Hey Norm, any geld in the PayPal acccount?

...but I'm doing this for you, man...
...Luke? Kendall? But they never actually do anything, really, do they?...
...Alright, alright, alright, I love your dad too, don't I?...
Look, scattercat, uh, Norm's tied up for a bit on an Eley/Pixar deal I set up. But I know this is gonna be great, babe. Don't do anything without talking to me first, okay?
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by eric_marsh » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:53 pm

These storys have been most enjoyable to read.
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole
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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by Scattercat » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:57 am

It's the first of the month! Time for the Wisest Stone to unveil more of the secrets of the universe!

---

The pilgrims had traveled many miles. They laid down offerings of fruit and wine, and sang songs of praise.

“Will you not go out to them?” asked Taku.

The Wisest Stone sulked by the fireplace. “They are fools.”

“How can you know unless you speak to them?”

“A wise man wears fur at the antipodes, but that wisdom is foolishness in the desert. Wisdom learns where it finds itself. I know they are fools because they have come so far to question me.”

“I have sometimes wondered,” Taku said, “why any wise man would seek your advice, o my friend.”

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by ROU Killing Time » Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:22 am

Wise men needn't seek out the advice of the stone, for they are already wise. Our little Zen rock seems a bit cranky today. I think he woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by strawman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:15 pm

Wisest Stone has been listening to Glen Beck.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by Scattercat » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:25 pm

He can't be like Glen Beck, though. He doesn't have tear ducts. Or a chalkboard.

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by strawman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:24 pm

No need for tear ducts if you have heart of stone;
No need for chalkboard if you have chest of slate, and chalky Taku.
Wisest Stone appears to be self-reliant Tea Partier. :)
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by ROU Killing Time » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:38 pm

Nobody boo-hissed my reply. Was I too subtle?
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Re: The Various Adventures of the Wisest Stone

Post by strawman » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:11 am

Your comment inspired my reply, so we're naming the rabbit trail after you: ROU 66
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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