TRUST or How to turn Stone into Gold


Once there was a village that laid on the edge of a vast mountain range. The people who lived there were very different, but one thing they shared was …  a rumor.  The rumor was about a man living in the mountains and having the magic ability to turn stones into gold. One day a young man decided to explore this story and he left the village despite all the warnings about the dangers of the mountains and the dubiousness of the rumor that he so persistently called a story.

 After a week of wandering the young hero came to a cave-like dwelling from which a thin old man stepped out seeing him coming closer. Without hesitation, the young man asked the old: “Are you the man who can turn stones into gold?” And the old man replied unexpectedly in a very clear manner: ” Yes, I am”. The young man shyly asked further: “This is certainly a very complicated process that is impossible or difficult to learn! “” No, it is quite easy” replied the old man instead.

The young man had tried to anticipate many things: not to find the man, to despair of his secrecy or not to be able to fulfill his high demands. Now he stood in front of him and everything suddenly seemed simple. So simple, that suspicions arose in him. But now he had no other choice but to put everything on one card and to believe in his good fortune. Encouraged by the straightness of the old, the young man asked him then to reveal his big secret.

To his greatest surprise the old man did not hesitate, after he sat down, to spread the mystery before him: “First you have to look for a stone. It must be a stone that really suits you. Choose him carefully and do not hesitate to take it, once you find it. Then get up to the top of the next mountain that seems most appropriate to you and wait for the full moon. Make a fire there and one hour after midnight you throw the stone in the fire and it will turn into gold before the morning dawns. “

The young man thanked the old man many times and went along his way. He soon found the right stone and the appropriate mountain. While he was waiting for the full moon, he started to doubt. “What if I have forgotten something?” “Everything goes so easily and without obstacles. Can this really be?” With the time passing, his doubts grew and he decided to go back to the old man to ask him if he had forgotten something important.

When he comes to the cave, the old man came out greeting him as friendly as the first time. “Master,” the young man began a little embarrassed, “I have done as you have told me, and I fear to have forgotten something.” The old man listened to all details of the young man’s experience and assured him that he did everything right. The young man stayed obsessed with the fear of doing something wrong. On his way off, he stopped walking, turned around and poured his doubts into a final question:

‚Master, a very last question: is there anything I should not do at all in the full moon night?
The old man took a while watching the young man thoughtfully and gave an answer he had not wanted to give: Yes, there is something you should not do at all in this night and that is …. to think of a White Bear.’

Thanks to my friend, mountain expert and co-storyworker, Wolfgang Tonninger, for sharing this beautiful tale about ‘Turning Stone into Gold’ and reflecting it into business culture work and ‘forbidden questions’ ( ). Building on this, I focus on the question ‘how could the young man not have arrived at asking the last question?’

This brings me to the phenomena of Trust. We spent much energy in control, we want to predict the unknown, to fight the fear to be disappointed. As long as we control, we are in continuous tension. But how to get to this luxury state of Trust? The following little film shows two Cirque de Soleil acrobats in their need and excellence in trusting.



To trust is not an easy, but a slow and steady process. Once we are able to trust, we can relax, we can let go and live in the very moment. Let me go further and say, trust is not only a relational phenomena. Referring to the story above, the main obstacle for the young man was not that he did not trust the old man, but that he did not trust … himself? or in magic to happen?

Trust is the relationship to the unknown. So how can we turn  ‘Fear into Trust’? When we succeed to find a meaning behind crisis or challenges, we can turn fear into trust and find the strength to go through difficult situations. Working with stories is one way to open a space for dialogue and for exploration and for sharing a deeper meaning.  That is why stories are such a powerful tool in facilitating change. They are able to transform stones into gold. Trust me!


Fear, magic, self belief, story, story work, Storytelling, trust

Comments (4)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let your story work!

Contact Us
+49 (0) 176 13 13 50 70