From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander
A poor stonecutter, at his work one day,
Was grieved to see a rich man pass that way—
A rich man, in his costly garments dressed,
His proud heart beating ‘neath a silken vest.
“O, would that I were rich!” the poor man said,
“That I might take my ease on silken bed,
Or walk abroad in garments soft and fine,
And menial labor nevermore be mine.”
An angel heard him, and, in pity true,
Said: “Thus it shall be granted unto you.”
Joy thrilled his heart. A rich man now was he;
His gloating eyes his grand possessions see.
In ‘broidered, silken robes his limbs he dressed;
On soft and perfumed couch he took his rest;
But—lo!—on looking forth one balmy day,
He saw the mighty emperor pass that way,
The haughty ruler of a goodly land,
Whose word was law, whose nod a high command;
Slaves ran to wait on him at beck and call,
And held aloft the golden parasol.
“Ah!” said the man, and spurned his silken bed,
“I would that I were emperor, that o’er my head
That great and golden parasol be spread.”
While yet he breathed his bold, aspiring prayer,
“Thy wish is granted,” echoed in the air.