It is Zach's birthday, and he is making plans for his party. Even though it is his birthday today, his parents planned on having the party on Saturday. Zach has even planned out who he wants to invite. However, his guest list seemed awfully long. His parents have been thinking of something smaller. They could have a little party at Zach's house with pizza and games. They could only afford to invite four or five friends. Zach doesn't think it's not even a party. In comparison with Billy's birthday party, it was at an amusement park and there were thirty friends. Zach gets upset and disappointed about his party, so he goes to Plato's Peak.
Zach tells his friends about the party plans his parents made. He doesn't think a pizza party is cool enough. Annie says to Zach that he may be surprised, but Zach doubts it. Aurora, Ari, and Sock do know about Zach's birthday. Ari and Sock have made a cake for him. Plato tells the two that Zach's parents are throwing a party for him, but not the kind he was expecting. That meant getting few gifts. Zach was expecting more. Ari knows about wanting more himself. Plato assures Zach that there is nothing wrong with wanting more so long as he's greatful. He tells Zach a story about a man who didn't have much and wished for more.
A long time ago in Japan, there lived a poor discontented stone cutter named Hofus. Although poor, he was happy and worked hard. He had a little cricket friend named Hoki. Hofus worked at the mountain side cutting stone for long hours. One day, Hofus brought granite to the home of a wealthy man. Back at his home, Hofus told Hoki how he longed to have such riches like the man he brought the granite to. Even though Hofus lived a happy life as a stone cutter, he sometimes wished for more. Just then, someone appeared. It was the great Spirit of the Mountain who had come to grant a wish for Hofus. And so, Hofus made a wish to be a rich man. And so, the spirit used his powers. At first, Hofus thought he had been dreaming. But when he looked around, he was living in a house of a rich man. He ran throughout the house looking at all the riches he desired. Hofus thought he would never have to work again now that he was a wealthy person. Hofus sat in his garden for hours. As time past, Hofus grew more interested in counting his money. When he saw a prince riding by on a carriage with horses and servants, Hofus wished to have some of his own. So he called for the Spirit of the Mountain to grant him a wish to live in a palace. Pretty soon, Hofus had a royal palace and gardens, and he became a prince. Why, Hoki even had a golden cricket cage. As for the flowers in his royal garden, Hofus didn't have the power to control the sun--even when his servants watered them for him. Hofus called for the Spirit of the Mountain and told him about his problem. The spirit told Hofus that the sun has its own powers. Hofus wished to be powerful like the sun. When Hofus became the sun, he used his powers to dry everything in sight. When a cloud blocked his way, Hofus couldn't even control its powers. After making a wish to be a powerful cloud, Hofus caused a powerful storm and made everything fall over by the power of the wind. But Hofus couldn't even blow down a mountain. When Hofus asked for another wish from the Spirit of the Mountain, he wished to be a mountain. There he stayed still for many years until a stone cutter came and started chipping away at him. He told the Spirit of the Mountain to be a person with the power to bring the mountain down. And so, Hofus was once again a stone cutter. That's when Hofus realized that he can't wish for anything more and should be greatful for what he had in his normal life.
It is time for some cake. Zach isn't sure about having a "small" party, but Annie says she herself likes small parties. Having a small party could mean spending some personal time with your friends. Aurora adds that gratitude is also about the appreciation of people in your life. This reminds her of a story called Cornelia's Jewels.
This story takes place in ancient Rome. Cornelia was the daughter of the Roman general and wife of a politition. She had twin boys, and she lived the life of a rich woman. But things changed one day when she heard that her husband was killed during a battle. She had to sell her furniture and jewelry and give up her servants. Cornelia was left with an empty home and her sons. She raised the twins as the years went by and took up jobs like washing clothes and cleaning houses for other people just so she can pay for her expenses. One day, Cornelia received a letter from an old friend named Alexandra who was coming over for dinner. The twins helped their mother clean the house while she made the meal. Alexandra and Cornelia have been friends even before the twins were born. Alexandra was wealthy and had her own horsedrawn carriage. The twins were amazed when Alexandra arrived. She looked as beautiful as a princess. To Alexandra, Cornelia just looked charming. After Alexandra was introduced to the twins, she told them and Cornelia about her travels. She bought a different piece of jewelry in every town she visited. Alexandra ordered her servants to bring in a chest full of the jewelry she collected. The twins were interested in Alexandra's treasures. After her servants took back the treasure chest, Alexandra asked Cornelia about her gems. Cornelia has jewels of her own that are more valuable than Alexandra's--her two twin sons. She is very greatful for them. In return for their mother's love, the twins gave Cornelia a comfortable place in her home.
Zach himself appreciates his parents and his friends. Deep down inside, he knows the most important thing is spending time with them. Plato explains to Zach that bigger isn't always better. It's the little things in life that are more valuable. Zach is aware of that himself. Annie leaves for home and wishes Zach a happy birthday, and Zach decides to go home and appologize to his parents for getting upset about their party plans. It seemed that he had been a little "ungreatful" this morning. Plato reads some lines from a poem, For Mother Love and Father Care.
When Zach gets home, he sure is surprised to see everyone for his little party, and he certainly was greatful for that. Zach gives his appology to his parents for being ungreatful. What a birthday surprise Zach got!