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Hypnotism stories (or hypnosis stories as they are also known) and metaphor are closely linked because although the use of metaphor is primarily to demonstrate a teaching point or points, the more the listener becomes embroiled in the story or metaphor, the deeper she goes inside herself and the more her unconscious is able to pick up the deeper meaning.
The mind ought sometimes to be diverted that it may return to better thinking. Phaedrus
Once upon a time there was a quarryman. In the summer he toiled under the hot sun quarrying stone for his employer.
In the winter he continued to work in the wind, rain and cold, and he knew unhappiness.
He felt hard done by. The wages he received for his labours were surely little reward for all his efforts, and as time went by he grew more and more fed up.
Then one day an angel appeared and said, “What is the matter? You really seem peeved.” The quarryman said, “Yes, I am. I am sad and miserable in this job and I would like to be happy.”
“What would make you happy?” asked the angel.
“I would like to work in the city”, said the quarryman. “I would be really glad if I lived in a flashy city penthouse with views across the metropolis.
I could go to fine restaurants and the theatre in the evenings, and I could dress in a smart suit to go to my modern city office in the day.
I would have a slick sports car and take girl friends away for weekends. That is what I would like to be: a city business man earning big bucks and enjoying a great lifestyle. That would make me really happy.”
“Very well”, said the angel, “consider it done. You are that businessman you desire to be and you have the job and all the possessions that you dream of.”
There was a flash of light and the quarryman was instantly transported to a luxurious city apartment where he lived happily enjoying all the things he wished for.
One morning the businessman awoke and, as he was eating breakfast in his penthouse, he heard noise from the street below.
He hurried to the balcony from where he viewed a magnificent procession led by soldiers on horseback, and then he saw an ornate golden carriage carrying the queen followed by her entire entourage. Once again he became unhappy.
"What power that woman has, he thought. She is able to command all those soldiers and to rule over the entire country.
The palace vaults are filled with gold bullion and she is as rich as anyone could ever wish to be, and she has so many servants to wait upon her hand, foot and finger.
Oh, I wish I were her", he thought; "I am so unhappy." And he went back into his penthouse, sat on the edge of his bed and wept.
The angel appeared to him once more: “I am sorry to see you so distressed again. What is the matter?”
So the businessman told the angel about the queen and how he could be so happy if he were to be a monarch instead of a businessman as he now was.
“Then let it be so” commanded the angel. For the second time he experienced a blinding flash of light and in an instant he was transported to a splendid palace to the king’s bedchamber where a personal footman waited upon him for the 24 hours of the day.
He had only to snap his fingers to have anything he desired at any moment.
No longer was it necessary for him to have to trudge off to a city office or even dine in fine restaurants and visit theatres for entertainment.
Now the finest chefs in the land visited the palace to prepare gastronomic dishes for him, and the world’s most accomplished actors and entertainers almost fell over themselves for the opportunity of attending at the palace to entertain the king.
The king held sumptuous banquets to entertain visiting heads of state and thought to himself, “I am really happy.”
Until one day he looked out of his window and his gaze fell upon the sun. “Oh, look at the power the sun has” said the king.
“By his very appearance he can make a cold place hot, he can shine upon the earth and cheer everyone up or he can just sit in the sky and glow.” I feel so desperately unhappy. So he went back to his chamber and wept.
As he dried his eyes he looked up and saw the angel again. “What makes you unhappy?” said the angel.
The king explained his predicament and the angel said, “That is OK. There is nothing I cannot do. Close your eyes and in a moment you will be the sun.” And he was.
The sun shone happily and brightly for some time, lighting the sky and warming the people below until one day his eye spied a cloud.
“Oh, look at that cloud," he said to himself. "See how he hovers over the arid desert and, at a moment of his choosing, descends, turns into rain and gives life to the plants below.
He fills dried up reservoirs and rivers and turns the grass green again. What wonderful power. I do wish I was a cloud.” Once again he knew unhappiness and the angel came to him yet again.
“If that is what you want”, said the angel, “let it be so. You are a cloud.” He floated happily as a cloud, demonstrating his power by blotting out the sun when he felt like it, flooding deserts with heavy rain in order to bring new life and filling rivers until they were overflowing.
One day his gaze fell upon a rock. “Look at that magnificent rock” he thought. "He stands there in all winds and weather.
"The sun does not affect him, neither does the rain. He remains steadfast for thousands of years looking up at the sun and the rain knowing that he is invincible. What power. I do so wish I was a rock.” And he became deeply unhappy once again.
It wasn’t long before the angel detected his latest episode of unhappiness and paid him a visit. The miserable cloud explained his present predicament. The angel waved his hand and said, “Then you shall be a rock”.
Again, there was a flash, and he became a rock. There he stood proudly soaking up the heat when the sun shone, allowing the water to wash over him when it rained and the wind to blow around him when it was windy. He was unmoved and happy.
Then, one day, along came a quarryman …
After reading Hypnotism stories, you may wish to go now to the page on hypnosis stories.
A version of this story appears in The Magic of Metaphor by Nick Owen
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