The story that I am about to tell is very old. I heard it first when I was about 13 years old. I am telling it to the best of my ability as I remember it.
The story is set in feudal Japan.
Once there was a young newly married samurai couple who were very much in love. The young couple shared a deep love for nature. Every day they would take a long walk in the forest together. One day while on their walk they were ambushed by a tiger. Although they both fought valiantly, sadly the young woman was killed and dragged off by the tiger.
Heartbroken by the death of his love and ashamed that he could not save her. The young samurai vowed that he would train himself and one day get revenge on the tiger. Knowing that his enemy was very fierce he trained himself diligently in the ways of archery and swordsmanship. Day after day, week after week, and month after month he trained with only one thought in mind, to kill the tiger. Each day after training he grabbed his sword and bow would take a walk along the same path where he and his wife encountered the tiger. Hoping to have a chance at his revenge.
Many months went by and the young samurai was beginning to feel he would never find his nemesis. Until one day while walking he saw in the distance a tiger sleeping beside a tree. Certain that this was the tiger who killed his beloved he slowly and silently drew an arrow. He thought about his wife, their lost dreams and their lost love. With all his love and all his hatred he loosed the arrow. The arrow flew deftly through the air and landed dead center of its target penetrating deeply. Tossing his bow to the side the young samurai drew his sword and moved in to take the head of his enemy. As he moved in closer he was shocked to see that it was not a tiger, it was actually a striped stone. But how was it that an arrow made of bamboo could penetrate stone?
When word of this reached his village everyone asked the young samurai to demonstrate how he could pierce stone with his archery skill. Time and time again he tried but his arrows would always bounce off the stone. As much as he tried he could never repeat the act again.
The moral of the story is that all men (and women) have the ability within themselves to do great things. And although hard training is important, it is the mind and the heart that matter most.
This story is the basis for the ancient proverb …
“A strong will can pierce stone.”
© Copyright Sifu Todd Taganashi 2017