Why Workmen Worked

Why Workmen Worked

A traveler in a faraway country, as he walked down the road, saw ahead of him in the fields a large number of men busily working. As he walked nearer the men, led on by his curiosity to see what was going on, he saw also a big derrick and great piles of stones, and he heard noises of chiseling, hammering, and pounding.

It was a July day and the hot sun was beating down upon the workmen. Their shoulders were bared to the sun, and the muscles of their arms were tanned to a bronze color. The men were pushing and pulling and struggling. Oxen were pulling huge blocks of stones on carts with big wheels while the men shouted to the slow-moving oxen, "Gee-haw, gee-haw, gee-haw," as they dragged forward the heavy
loads. Other men were pounding the stones with great sledge hammers, keeping a kind of rhythmic tune which seemed to sing "zing-ring," "zing-ring," "zing-ring."

Soon the traveler came up to the nearest man who was standing over a block of granite with a hammer in his hand. He also had a very sharp chisel in his left hand.

"Good day, my friend," said the traveler cheerily.

Grumpily the man replied, "Hello, stranger."

The traveler said, "May I ask, my good man, what you are doing here?"

With an unfriendly grunt, the man replied, "Can't you see for yourself I am chipping stone, chipping stone, chipping stone, all day long I am doing nothing but chipping stone, chipping stone, chipping stone, till I'm tired and sick of seeing stones and chips and dust?"

The traveler walked along to another workman, hoping he might find a more friendly person. This man, with the help of other workmen, was lifting heavy stones and loading them into an ox cart. The stones were very heavy for the man to lift, and the muscles of his arms stood out and the muscles of his back were strained. He was perspiring as he groaned and helped to lift the stones in the hot sun.

"May I ask, my good man," said the traveler, trying very hard to be friendly, "what you are doing?"

"Well, if you ask me," said the man in a very harsh voice, "I'm get­ting some money. At the end of the week, I expect a pay envelope with some money in it. That what I'm doing, stranger, getting some money, getting some money, getting some money. Does that satisfy you?"

Much disappointed at this unfriendly reply, the weary traveler walked off, still wondering what all this noise, hammering, and chiseling, and all the piles of stones, and the oxen and derricks could be about, and to what purpose.

Finally, the traveler saw a workman who looked as if he had a kind, friendly face. In fact, sometimes he was whistling at his work, and sometimes he was singing a merry tune. "Here is a friendly man who can answer my question," thought the traveler. "May I ask, my good man," he said cheerfully, "what you are doing here?"

"Why, yes," said the workman, "I am proud and happy to tell you. What I am doing here is a wonderful thing. I am building a cathedral for the worship of God. You may think this sounds foolish that I, a single man, am building a cathedral, but all of us working together will soon erect to the praise and glory of God a beautiful temple where many people will come to pray, and where great choirs will sing, and where the organ music will roll through the arches like the sound of a thousand angel wings. Yes, good stranger, I am building a cathedral."

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