The Man Who Built the Castle - A Short Story
There was once a man who wanted to build a castle with no machinery, only his hands.
People laughed at his dream because of the absurdity and his physicality.
He was short and scrawny, and he could easily hire a construction crew with bulldozers, cranes and cement mixers to build it for him.
The world didn’t understand why he wanted to build the castle with his bare hands.
He knew not the entire reason why, but he knew it would be fully known once he embraced the task.
The stones from the quarry came to the plot of land where the scrawny man eagerly waited.
A crowd gathered on the hill to watch, the delivery men from the quarry stayed to watch the joke of a man.
The scrawny man with great enthusiasm went to lift the first heavy stone, the cornerstone.
He heaved with all his might but only lifted it two feet before the dropped it.
The crowd laughed and mocked at his first stumble.
They called him silly and foolish and laughed harder as they watched him pick up the stone again and drop it a few feet later.
This went on until the crowd became hungry for supper and decided to continue the mockery at their dining tables.
He set the cornerstone at dusk; nearly a full days work for one stone.
One stone down.
The next day some of the neighbors stop by before work and saw the scrawny man on his land again, this time working on the second stone.
They stopped and watched for a few minutes, mocked him and then went to their lonely cubicles.
They drove by after work to see the infeasible progress.
This time they saw a second stone set with the cornerstone with the third being carried slowly by the scrawny man.
They mocked him for his slow progress and then went home to watch reality tv idly.
The neighbors quickly lost interest and went along their dull lives.
Work, T.V., Eat, Drink and Sleep.
A safe life.
Except for the scrawny man.
He was on a mission.
Each passing day he became stronger from every stone he set.
His sinewy arms became muscular, and his chicken-like legs became massive.
Every day he was able to move one more stone then the previous.
Within a few weeks, he had the foundation set, and he began work on the walls.
A few months went by, and he had the first story completed.
Some of his neighbors looked at him now with amazement as he was actually doing it.
Some felt ashamed of the mockery.
But a few felt anger and jealousy.
Their small minds saw the man’s daring task as an insult to them.
Who was this man to define his fate? The scrawny man needs to be normal like them.
Like cancer with a ledger, the company they proudly worked for was slowly killing them by removing their humanity; but the few masked it with denial by calling it hard work, job security, and loyalty.
The few plotted and decided this man shouldn’t be able to build his castle.
One night, the now short but muscular man went home and went into a deep slumber.
The few, drunk off of beer and jealousy, went to his impressively partially constructed castle and began tearing it down with sledgehammers, crowbars, and hate.
The walls fell, and the foundation was broken beyond repair.
The few watched from the hill that following morning as the man ran to his fallen castle, cursed and cried in defeat.
The few laughed and felt like they taught him a lesson on being an individual.
They laughed as they went to their cubicles and were reminded of their misery.
They gleefully went to get another hit from the man’s misery after work but were surprised at what they saw.
The man had begun rebuilding his castle.
Word spread across the country of the cruel act and the man’s defiant response.
The word fell on the right ears, and it was interpreted as a call to action.
The first that came to the short-muscular-defiant man was a mason.
The mason understood what the man was doing and why even though they could not articulate the reason.
The mason had extensive knowledge and experience of stonework and knew how to make the castle stronger.
The short-muscular-defiant-man accepted the mason’s help on the condition that the castle will only be built by hand.
The mason smiled and began his craft.
A glass blower from California came to the partially built castle and offered his help.
Towed by his truck were a portable kiln and his equipment.
The glass blower, a talented and renowned artist, said that the man’s castle would need exquisite stain glass windows.
He will make glass so remarkable that people will come all over the world to admire the windows.
The short-muscular-defiant-man gladly accepted, and the glass blower began making the windows in his makeshift workshop.
A lovely, complementary couple followed the glass blower.
The husband a blacksmith and the wife a carpenter.
They heard his story and understood why he was building the castle, and they offered their services to his dream.
Both together would create doors, furniture, cabinetry, even the smallest detail of the nails will be envied by royalty.
The short-muscular-defiant-grateful-man gladly accepted.
Steadily people from around the world heard the call, even though they could not explain it, and came to offer their services to the monumental task.
Plumbers came and teamed up with the blacksmith to make the pipes for one of a kind plumbing system.
Electricians, roofers, and engineers offered their services and began using their hands and expertise to construct the castle in a way that will demand the best of their respective arts.
Artists, spinsters and world-renowned gardeners offered their crafts to bring beauty to the castle.
The honest rich who earned their keep understood what the man was doing, and they donated money and resources; for they too have built castles.
The neighbors who once mocked him left work to help the short-muscular-defiant-grateful-man in any way they can.
Some moved stones, some cooked and did laundry for the crew, but most assisted and became apprentices to the masters of the world.
The company lost employees, and the jealous few who attempted to defeat the man found themselves bitter and lonely in their office.
The few were given promotions but only because there was less competition.
But, with the promotions and raise came the extra work and longer hours in the office.
Too afraid to quit and seduced by their new cash, they accepted their prison.
Denial was the castle they built for themselves.
Ten years later the castle was built, and the world had a new wonder.
Gothic in essence.
Modern in look.
Built not for a King, nor a God, but for an idea which cannot be spoken but only understood.
An idea which lives in all of us.
The short-muscular-defiant-grateful-accomplished man was no longer the same man from the beginning.
He went on the hill and watched the sunset behind his castle and began to cry in ecstasy.
He finally fully understood why the castle was built.
Everyone had a place, a room and their crafts had found a home.
They felt a deep sadness though.
The man felt the same.
What was next after this great feat?
Nobody was the same, and they wished to keep going.
The man smiled and said, “Go into the world and practice your love. Share your talent, your art, yourself. My castle, your home, will always be here for you.”
Some stayed, lived in and maintained the castle.
Most left to share their gifts with the world.
To inspire others with their craft.
The short-muscular-defiant-grateful-accomplished-wise-man finally rested and admired the castle.
For it was not only a symbol of not one man’s daring feat but a culmination of the best of humanity.
A paradise on Earth.