Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer May, Celestine of Reading Pleasure

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Day three of our May 2014 Ghost-Writer week is on. Today Celestine of Reading Pleasure is our Ghost-Writer I will enclose her post after the 'regular' prompt Stone, based on The Stone Cutter a Japanese folktale.

I love to bring already something on for next month (June 2014). In June we will again have a Ghost-Writer week and I am searching for new Ghost-Writers for that month. Our third Ghost-Writer week will be in week 24 (June 9th (pentecost) until June 13th) and maybe you can remember that we will have inspirational music prompts by a young Portugese Composer.

Ok ... back to the now ... here is the story of The Stone Cutter:

The Stonecutter

Once upon a time there lived a stonecutter, who went every day to a great rock in the side of a big mountain and cut out slabs for gravestones or for houses. He understood very well the kinds of stones wanted for the different purposes, and as he was a careful workman he had plenty of customers. For a long time he was quite happy and contented, and asked for nothing better than what he had.
Now in the mountain dwelt a spirit which now and then appeared to men, and helped them in many ways to become rich and prosperous. The stonecutter, however, had never seen this spirit, and only shook his head, with an unbelieving air, when anyone spoke of it. But a time was coming when he learned to change his opinion.
One day the stonecutter carried a gravestone to the house of a rich man, and saw there all sorts of beautiful things, of which he had never even dreamed. Suddenly his daily work seemed to grow harder and heavier, and he said to himself: "Oh, if only I were a rich man, and could sleep in a bed with silken curtains and golden tassels, how happy I should be!"
And a voice answered him: "Your wish is heard; a rich man you shall be!"
At the sound of the voice the stonecutter looked around, but could see nobody. He thought it was all his fancy, and picked up his tools and went home, for he did not feel inclined to do any more work that day. But when he reached the little house where he lived, he stood still with amazement, for instead of his wooden hut was a stately palace filled with splendid furniture, and most splendid of all was the bed, in every respect like the one he had envied. He was nearly beside himself with joy, and in his new life the old one was soon forgotten.

The Stone Cutter

It was now the beginning of summer, and each day the sun blazed more fiercely. One morning the heat was so great that the stonecutter could scarcely breathe, and he determined he would stop at home till the evening. He was rather dull, for he had never learned how to amuse himself, and was peeping through the closed blinds to see what was going on in the street, when a little carriage passed by, drawn by servants dressed in blue and silver. In the carriage sat a prince, and over his head a golden umbrella was held, to protect him from the sun's rays.
"Oh, if I were only a prince!" said the stonecutter to himself, as the carriage vanished around the corner. "Oh, if I were only a prince, and could go in such a carriage and have a golden umbrella held over me, how happy I should be!"
And a prince he was. Before his carriage rode one company of men and another behind it; servants dressed in scarlet and gold bore him along, the coveted umbrella was held over his head, everything his heart could desire was his. But yet it was not enough. He looked around still for something to wish for, and when he saw that in spite of the water he poured on the grass the rays of the sun scorched it, and that in spite of the umbrella held over his head each day his face grew browner and browner, he cried in his anger: "The sun is mightier than I; oh, if I were only the sun!"
And the mountain spirit answered: "Your wish is heard; the sun you shall be."
And the sun he was, and felt himself proud in his power. He shot his beams above and below, on earth and in heaven; he burnt up the grass in the fields and scorched the faces of princes as well as of poorer folk. but in a short time he began to grow tired of his might, for there seemed nothing left for him to do. Discontent once more filled his soul, and when a cloud covered his face, and hid the earth from him, he cried in his anger: "Does the cloud hold captive my rays, and is it mightier than I? Oh, that I were a cloud, and mightier than any!"

Stone Sculptor

And the mountain spirit answered: "Your wish is heard; a cloud you shall be!"
And a cloud he was, and lay between the sun and the earth. He caught the sun's beams and held them, and to his joy the earth grew green again and flowers blossomed. But that was not enough for him, and for days and week he poured forth rain till the rivers overflowed their banks, and the crops of rice stood in water. Towns and villages were destroyed by the power of the rain, only the great rock on the mountainside remained unmoved. The cloud was amazed at the sight, and cried in wonder: "Is the rock, then, mightier than I? Oh, if I were only the rock!"
And the mountain spirit answered; "Your wish is heard; the rock you shall be!"
And the rock he was, and gloried in his power. Proudly he stood, and neither the heat of the sun nor the force of the rain could move him. "This is better than all!" he said to himself. But one day he heard a strange noise at his feet, and when he looked down to see what it could be, he saw a stonecutter driving tools into his surface. Even while he looked a trembling feeling ran all through him, and a great block broke off and fell upon the ground. Then he cried in his wrath: "Is a mere child of earth mightier than a rock? Oh, if I were only a man!"
And the mountain spirit answered: "Your wish is heard. A man once more you shall be!"
And a man he was, and in the sweat of his brow he toiled again at his trade of stone cutting. His bed was hard and his food scanty, but he had learned to be satisfied with it, and did not long to be something or somebody else. And as he never asked for things he did not have, or desired to be greater and mightier than other people, he was happy at last, and never again heard the voice of the mountain spirit.
Source: Andrew Lang, The Crimson Fairy Book (London: Longmans, Green, and Company, 1903), pp. 192-197.


And here is the post by Celestine of Reading Pleasure:


I must admit that I was a bit hesitant when Managua nominated me as  Ghost Writer for the CD. I felt I was not up to the task. Besides what on earth was I going to write about? Not even when I learned of the prompt 'Stone', was I at ease. Refusing would have been in poor taste so I had to accept.
When I started blogging two years ago, I had never heard of Haiku. The poetry forms I studied at school, did not include haiku. As a matter of act, most of my friends here have never heard of haiku until I started writing in the form. Thanks to wonderful blogger friends like Kristjaan and Leo of Haiku Heights, I have come to love haiku and to a large extent have evolved in my writing of it though I have a long way to go!

But haiku exist in Ghana and I'm sure we have poets who write in the form. About a few months into my blogging I came to know of Nana Fredua Agyeman of http://nanafreduagyeman.blogspot.com/, a fellow Ghanaian blogger who writes excellent haiku on his blog. Please pay him a visit and sample his work.

Now to the prompt Stone, based on the Japanese folklore, the Stone Cutter. Since I'm sure you would all have heard about or known about this folklore, I won't touch on it but rather, narrate a legend from Ghana about the Mystic Stone of Larabanga (La-ra--ban-ga)

During the British times, there was a road that was laid near the Larabanga Mosque, in the West Gonja region of the country. During the construction of the road, a stone was removed to make way for the road. The next day, the stone was found again on the same place it was displaced from. The stone was again removed from the way and the same thing happened the next day. Later, the officials decided to build the road around the stone and it became the mystic stone. What; do you make of this legend?

Mystic Stone of Larabanga

Larabanga Mosque

Here are a few haiku from Basho himself based on the prompt word.

the autumn wind 
is more white
than stones in a stony mountain

in the utter silence of a temple,
a cicada’s voice alone
penetrates the rocks

over a stone
what is flying
is only clouds

And also a couple of haiku from Ghana courtesy of Nana Fredua Agyeman. Two are about mountains, (well they are sort of stones right?)

fog mountain..
looking for the trees
I see my breath

the morning crowns
the mountain in fog -
almost Christmas

trailing its prey
the mantis sways
with the leaf

And finally my humble offering:

hide and seek
story rides the winds
cast in stone

Not very inspiring.  Let's try this!

buried in earth
the soul of a people
under a stone

Over to you dear Haijin. Be inspired and give of your best, though the prompt is not an easy one. But we always come through with lovely inspirations.


Well ... I hope that you all like this post and episode of Ghost-Writer written by Celestine. It's open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until May 9th 11.59 AM (CET). I will try to post our next episode of this Ghost Writer week later on today.


  1. Brilliant post Kristjaan. The whole concept - beautiful, Celestine, really treasurable stuff.

  2. Kristjaan what a wonderful post. I love the story of the Stone Cutter and I love haiku. My dear friend Celestine has tried to persuade me to join your excellent prompts! Celestine's haiku are always inspiring and I aspire to be as good as she is.
    I have been to Larabanga and have a photo of myself beside the mystic stone on my blog. Good work Celestine as Ghost writer :-)

  3. Thank you Kristjaan for this lovely opportunity!

  4. I've just encouraged two of our colleagues who write beautiful posts to ghost write, hope they'll be contacting you soon Kristjaan - both contribute here.

  5. A wonderful story with a good moral, Celestine.

  6. I really enjoy both posts--both Kristjaan and Celestine here. I am glad for the ghostwriting so we can hear more from our haiku kai family.

  7. This was a really nice post! I enjoyed reading the Japanese folklore (which was familiar to me), and Celestine's post on her introduction to Haiku and the mystic stone of Larabanga. Also, very much liked the Haiku! Of the official ones posted "fog mountain...looking for the trees I see my breath" is my favourite! Celestine's second Haiku was also really good! :D