Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading”
The most beautiful work of all
There was a great stir in the sculptor’s workshop. A squared stone had just arrived, and eight strong men had put it right in the middle of the room. Eight men, just think! That was heavy work!
The sculptor paid them for their service and dismissed them.
Then, he looked at the block, caressed the stone, walked about the room and followed the carriers out.
The room was then empty of people, but full of statues. Some had been finished and were ready to leave. Others were waiting for the sculptor’s last touches. With no people around, it was their turn to speak.
Do statues actually speak?
They do, in stories they are allowed to. Listen to them!
The one, who was farther away from the block of stone, asked the others:
“What kind of a phantom is that?”
They sneered. Then, the one representing vanity declared:
“That’s the type of fellow we don’t need to have around.
It only obstructs the room and shades those who, like myself, need to be in the limelight.”
She was really vain, that statue of vanity.
“It’s ME she’s shading.” Clarified the statue, which represented a sitting monk reading a book. “I’ve been here for ages, reading this old book and I can’t get to the next page.”
The statue representing harlequin also complained:
“The air is so sultry here. I’d like to jump and run, but this stone always stands in my way.
The unfinished statue of an unknown king tried to mutter:
“I order...” but, being so incomplete, he couldn’t finish the sentence.
The following morning, the sculptor started working on the block of stone. He rough-hewed it. The rock started to take shape.
The other statues looked at them suspiciously and in silence. As soon as the sculptor left, a statue inquired from far away in the room:
“What can come of this?”
The harlequin answered:
“Well, an elephant. What else could you expect?”
In fact, it was intriguing. The sculptor worked day after day and, slowly, from the heart of the stone, a figure started taking shape. There were hints of two shoulders, a head and two knees. It looked like a seated person under a crumpled sheet.
The other statues wouldn’t keep silent all through the night:
“One of the shoulders is higher than the other.” One of them noticed.
“What a monstrous head!” Another one added.
However, the art of the sculptor was slowly turning that monstrous head into the delicate head of a woman. It was a seated statue. With her hands on her lap, she seemed to be holding some strange thing.
“Maybe she’s reading a book.” Suggested the monk.
It was no book, after all. It was a child.
The sculptor had spent his entire day working on the baby’s facial expression. At the end, before leaving, he enlarged the mother’s smile and departed.
The other statues, jealous, went on gossiping:
“What a squander of time!” Said the statue of vanity.
“What a silly puppet!” Laughed the harlequin.
That’s when a clear, fresh voice in the room stood out from the poisonous uproar of the other statues, and pronounced these words:
“Stop talking! My baby boy is sleeping.”
“That was a respectful voice. The statues stopped talking.
The following day, the sculptor worked late into the night on the statue of the mother and the child. The most beautiful of all!