The Mighty Russian Mason

By Ed's Chain

"And I expect this wall to be FINISHED by dawn tomorrow! Fail me, and your families will regret it!"

With that, the Czar stormed back into his carriage through the fresh dusting of snow. When he and his men were out of sight, the peasant bricklayers fearfully muttered amongst themselves about the impossible task before them. The wall was supposed to be flawless and impenetrable, but the bricks that were shipped to the construction site were all of irregular shapes; only a mason of legendary skill could piece them all together and leave no gaps. The peasants ordered to do the job had exactly enough training to know how doomed they were.

Without warning, the shout of a man rang out as though it came from all directions at once. "DO NOT DESPAIR, MY FRIENDS!" A huge man fell from the sky and shook the ground with his boots. He was eight feet tall, they say, and he had a thick brown beard and a jaunty fur hat. Though he wore beautiful hide armor, he had no weapons save for his own enormous hands and teeth the size of babies' heads.

The peasants stood back in amazement, too afraid to ask any question of him, as he set straight to his work. With the strength of fifteen drunken bears, he took up a mountain of bricks in his arms and arranged row after row of them into a great wall. When one layer was complete, he climbed upward to begin the next, laughing all along. He worked with impossible speed; the pieces of the wall seemed to simply fall into place as he gleefully threw them here and there.

The peasants were soon no longer fearful but overjoyed, and one of them began singing a merry song for their visitor to work to. Soon everyone joined in, dancing and stomping their feet.

The huge mason from the sky worked dutifully into the night, and when he was finished, the wall he had built stood imposingly, perfect yet made of imperfect parts. No mortar held the bricks together, but the wallhas remainedin one piece even until the present day. The huge man drank and celebrated with the peasants until sunrise. Though many men asked him his name, he would not reveal it.

The Czar returned at dawn accompanied by his personal guards, each of them armed to the teeth. Through reports of the townsfolk, the Czar had learned of what had happened, and he believed that he could coerce the mason from the sky into his service. He stepped out of his carriage with an oily smile on his face.

"Thank God you have come to us, stranger! Our people all have dire need of you, as much as these people here needed you! We have more walls to be built, each higher than the last! We also have wells to be dug, and roads to be repaired, and borders to defend, and some of my personal effects to be moved into my winter home, and…"

"I'M SURE YOU SPEAK TRUE, LITTLE FRIEND, BUT I ALREADY HAVE A MASTER, AND A MAN CANNOT HAVE TWO!"

The mason angrily stared into the eyes of the Czar's horses, and they immediately ran home as fast as their legs could carry them with the carriage trailing behind. The guards prepared to attack, but the mason pulled his armor open and showed them his chest hair. At the sight of this,they too fled, and their wives would claim that they had lost theor manhood that day.

The masonthen spoke to the Czar again. "WALK HOME BY YOURSELF, LITTLE FRIEND, AND MAYBE YOU WILL BE MORE HUMBLE TOMORROW!"

Wasting no more words, he took his leave of the Czar and the peasants. Though he came from the sky, he left by burrowing deep into the Earth with his hands and teeth until he could be neither seen nor heard.

And the peasants rejoiced.