The three blocks of stone

By Paulo Coelho

An Australian legend tells of a wizard who was strolling with his three sisters when the most famous warrior of the region came up to him.

– I want to marry one of these beautiful girls – he said.

– If one of them gets married, the others are going to think they are ugly. I am looking for a tribe whose warriors can have three wives – answered the wizard as he walked away.

And for many a year he traveled all over the Australian continent but never managed to find such a tribe.

– At least one of us could have been happy – said one of the sisters when they were already old and weary from so much wandering.

– I was wrong – answered the wizard. – But now it’s too late.

And he turned the three sisters into blocks of stone.

Visitors to the Blue Mountains National Park near Sydney can see them – and understand that the happiness of one does not mean the sadness of others.

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  1. Julia says:

    I just read this story in one of your books! Nice story, but I was wondering where this story comes from.
    I’ve been there myselve and I heared a completely different story…. about the three brothers who wanted to get merried to the sisters, were not allowed…..
    I was doing some research and so far I could only find the story told the way I heared in Australia!
    I would be very courious to know where you got your story from! Probably there are different storys?!

  2. Great story Paulo, I have seen the stunning three sisters in the Blue Mountains but did not know this story behind them :)

  3. Maryon says:

    sorry, I meant the three of them

  4. Maryon says:

    I decided to turn the 2 other sisters into gold

  5. Natalya says:

    i feel… when one of the sisters could have been married off, the two could have been married later on….
    a very strange thought though, when this is a fable…..
    but after the years i ave lived i feel that there is more truth in the fables…..than what we feel are in the stories
    that we read…supposedly more connected to the real world

    we must not lose any opportunity which gives us happiness…
    however small, life passes by so quickly…..

    that was the approach of the wizard….ther other two will feel bad, they could have felt- just like the one who found a warrior on the way, even we can find someone…..

  6. hope says:

    Well i think people’s mind are twisted thinking that what makes them happy should also make other happy.Like rich people might think poor will be happy with money,but infact people who have less money are more happier than richer coz they have somehow learned to be happy without it.Not every1 focuses happiness on same thing.I mean people should not judge evrything from their point of view.What u see like sadness to other might not be exactly sadness but it was there just to make you realize how greatful one should be for what he or she has coz you could have been on that place but you are not.It is not about happiness or sadness it is about being thankful.if rich people complain about how their water system is not working properly and they get less amount of water compared to before.Then they decide to have a meeting and try to solve the solution.They advertise everywhere,how the world is plagued by less amount of water coz the city they lived in don’t supply more water to car wash and other extra stuff or basic stuff.Then one man comes from desert and tell them about a place where they hardly see rain or water and tell them how hard it is to live in desert.So the rich men will feel that the desert man is complaining thinking that their happiness before had been their reason for sadness.Well they can think that way but all desert man was tryign to say was to be thankful for that little supply of water coz you never know tomorrow rather than complaining that how hard and this and that look around the world how people survive evryday with less amount of water.You see it matters on perspective.

  7. Pandora says:

    Sisters are always feeling each others pain and happiness, I have many and many are we. They are my soul friends. A man could never get in the way of a true sisters happiness….

    Funny how lots of ancient dolmens or standing stones are named Sisters, but this legend is made up by the tourist industry, hardly necessary, they are beautiful Sisters in their own right each of them, and they will always know it.

  8. THELMA says:

    Thank you Brigit for the information.

  9. SFG says:

    The happiness of one does not mean the sadness of others… wow…
    i hope this does not mean i am worshipping pagan gods…

  10. Brigit says:

    The wizard obviously wanted happiness for all three of his sisters, and thought as a wizard he knew that the answer was 3 husbands. He travelled the continent to secure happiness for his sisters, rather than trusting that they would find their own happiness. We so often have expectations of what would be best for those closest to us, or what would make them happy. Why did he turn them to stone after realising he was wrong? Was it as an eternal reminder of his error or to maintain the control of a wizard and keep the three of them together?

    The rock formations of the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains, standing tall and alone, able to be viewed but not touched, isolatated but surrounded by the extraordinary beauty of the landscape of the Blue Mountains.

    The actual legend of the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains is:

    There were once Three beautiful sisters named “Meehni”, “Wimlah” and “Gunnedoo” from the Katoomba tribe. The three sisters fell in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe but their tribal laws forbade their marriage. The three brothers did not accept this law and tried to capture the three sisters by force. This caused a major tribal battle and the lives of the three sisters were thus threatened. A kaditcha man (witchdoctor) decided to turn the sisters into rocks in order to protect them and thought to reverse the spell only after the battle. Unfortunately, he was killed in the battle and the three sisters remained as the enormous and beautiful rock formations until today. The magnificent formation stands at 922m, 918m, and 906m respectively.

  11. oli says:

    to not forget this is a legend,from ancient times,when the women haven*t had yet realizes they*re equall to…
    for me the sad part is that there are still places where the women are treated so.even in the modern world,the one who pretends to be more advanced. I see and live it every day….maybe i should make a blog too,to make go out all that*s oppressing me and to find some advise.
    i hope i didn*t bore u.
    power to the women :))

  12. Adina says:

    Good evening in 2009!

    When someone close to us is happy, that should be an inspiration for us. Happiness is a shining think and enlightens everyone is close to it. Only if this envy won’t come around…

    Looking back into my past life, there are few moments when I had the chanse to be the closest friend of some people that became very happy (sometimes following my “under cover” advices). Time when they turned to me their back and start evitate me as they were afraid they would never be able to tank me too much. So they ran away (not all, just few exceptions).

    Also, sometimes in my early youth, before my closest friend to get a boyfriend and never called me back (well, for a while, till she was alone again), I felt as MY reason on Earth was to make sure my best friend finds the right person for her. I mean I took other people’s problems on my shoulders and tried to solve them, so that my destiny became a common destiny with my friends’. When they got the desired results, they went happy and I felt their happiness was mine too.

  13. Alexandra says:

    thats a bad story.i didnt like it.

  14. aditya says:

    ya monika

    that’s the way ? lousy wizard, could not he think of a more happier ending ? what a waste of three beautiful creations of god !!

    even wonder why we ( the masses ) prefer to remain in ignorance, even though all wisedom has always been available and in every language, with ‘wizards’ old and new telling us the wise approach, why do we prefer otherwise ?



  15. wendylei says:

    Being truely happy for anyone’s success is almost impossible,even ourselves cant bear it,you see sadness in other’s soul,even those closet in blood,your father and cousins,I have no idea why things goes this way,I am always in doubt about this aspect about my life,its such deep water,looks so mysterious to me~~~~however,I do find spend sometime alone helps clean the clusters of those bitter eyes,hurting comments,even being addressed isolated,and I know my dream is awaking during the long meditation,and quite times,by not wasting energy upon undeserved people,I am thinking back the year I have spend with a calm and fair attitude……How stupid those people think I am a idol,and I so have to live up their impossible dream instead of my own.I want to consider my own legend from now on,and follow my own heart,not disturbing by those lazy minded people who only want to depend on me.

  16. Grasshopper says:

    This is a self esteem story. The father didn’t think his daughters had enough in them to find a partner. And the daughters, they bought his thoughts. I would have run away from such a family to make mine.

  17. orly says:

    most people have known already that u can choose to be happy. in my personal life when ever i see my family and others happy , i feel happy, but some people who have been selfish in their life, cant see some one else happy and their horizon is really narrow, by learning not to be selfish and learning to be happy they could understand this amazing choice and understand that good feeling and happiness – brings others that feeling with THE POWER OF ENERGY!!!!

  18. Mirjam says:

    For me this is a tale of how you cant make decisions over the lives of others. Why does the wizzard has to decide for his three sisters?
    Let them decide for their own. Maybe he could have asked them from the start what they wanted.
    Its also a tale of how jalousie could destroy the happiness off all.



  19. Marina says:


    The story has me wondering about the good fight and that even those with good intentions in their hearts are prone to making mistakes. The saddest point for me in this story is not that the wizard did not “allow” his sisters an opportunity at happiness but that he too suffered and disturbed his happiness as a result of choosing to make decisions for others.

    Think about it: his intentions (apart from your views on monogamy/polygamy topic) were good in that he wished all of his sisters to be happy and relying on some knowledge of his sisters I suppose he did not want to cause any one of them unhappiness (because the other two would have their vanity smeared if they were not chosen; although, who knows, perhaps the brother misjudged his sisters).
    The point is though that the wizard is likewise unhappy for the sisters’ conditions of unhappiness in the end. Perhaps he feels himself a failed brother who could not fulfill some duty towards his sisters. I wonder how their relationship changed over the years as the sisters remained solitary.

    The sisters suffered too. Yet, I wonder how their destinies would be changed if they let their hearts speak and let their brother know that, perhaps, he was wrong in judging their reactions. Happiness is a wonderful state of being – and matrimony is certainly not the only source of it. Happiness is also a choice – seeing the positive in everything, learning, yearning for knowledge, taking the time to notice the beauty abound us, and finally finding peace in a grain of sand.

    So! My wish for all of you is always to listen to your heart and to never ignore it! Take chances – take that leap into the unknown. Be brave to take the route less traveled or even make your own :D Believe in yourselves as God believes in us all.

    Peace and Love and Happiness everyone!


    ~ Marishka

  20. Gina says:

    And this is the Wizard’s block of stone: THE WIZARD can understand that the woman’s heart is not the toy. If one man want to stay in PEACE WITH GOD, he can’t have two,three or thousand wives. Remember Solomon!!! :-P

  21. T.K. says:

    Profound. One person held the destiny of others in the palm of his hand. I want to behold my own destiny.

  22. Are says:

    Many women these days do not have that courage to to the right things. Most men are occupied with power and women are looking at them in hope that there will be true love and passion. Unhappy couples are looking for true love, but they cant find it because thay are not true to their harts. Is says that there is a soulmate foreverybody. I belive that there are several as told in the witch book.

  23. THELMA says:

    It seems that the Wizard of the story was not a …wise one. He could perform .. miracles, like turning his sisters to … stone, but he could not think that happiness and love are different for each one of us. Everyone has his own dream and ..personal legend. Everyone is unique.
    Another thought that has just came to my mind is that he could travel to another country and put them in a ‘harem’!!!

  24. Dear Coelho,

    This is interesting to know that, there was such a warrior who came to see these three girls and the wizard thought if the warrior marries the one other two will think themselves as ugly.

    What if, Wizard would have let all of three girls married with Warrior?
    What would have happened to all three girls? Would they have been happy then?

    There is many stories where people used to have multiple girls as there wives.

    Sadness is not the result of sacrifice, but just result of waiting.

    Happiness is very difficult to describe, some might feel happiness for nothing and some might not feel happiness even though they have everything in their lives. or,

    Happiness is fresh just like a red rose. Those three girls would have been very happy if wizard would have asked with warrior to get married with them all.

    As you said, he regretted on his decision later, Rather than regretting later on your own decision- you should try different alternatives in life. Because life once gone cannot be reset.

  25. yuzhu,chen says:

    I think I am not a good friend for all my friends ,because I always fell uhappy when friends make a progress or have something I don’t. Today,read the passage The three blocks of stone by By Paulo Coelho,I know the happiness of one does not mean the sadness of me.

  26. geni says:

    “The happines of one does not mean the sadness of others”, but doesn’t mean for them, the same happiness either. Everyone lives his own life and hapiness, in a specific way, and the others can be just good to him, just understand his hapiness, not really feel it. Or, understand this hapiness, only if they lived it before. :)

  27. Sefer JAN says:

    We have to make important choices at the right time. Or it will be too late to chose.

    Be happy ;-)

  28. Marie-Christine says:

    Monika – to me fits the profile of a missionary -

  29. Monika says:

    Where is the problem? There are many warriors, who can make a women happy – even in early times in Australia.

    …and then he has no better idea than to turn them into stones – lousy wizard! He should conjure up two other (or more, to have a choice) crisp warriors right in the beginning! ;-)

  30. Sidharth says:

    Economically speaking, one person’s gaining a resource will lead to anothers sadness eg. A meal in a developed country leads to a meal lost in a developing one because resources are limited.

    But this is not apply to happiness which, when shared only multiples…