The Great Stone Face I – Summary

The Great Stone Face is written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, where he describes the confusion and search of person in identifying the face made on hills as real man.

The Great Stone Face was the work of nature. It was formed on the side of a mountain by some rocks. Seen from a distance they looked like a human face and alive. Going near, the face turned into a heap of rocks. The people believed that the valley owed much of its fertility to that face.


One day a mother and her little child, Ernest sat at the door of their cottage. He wished that the Great Stone Face could speak. The mother hoped to see a man some time with a similar face. She told a curious story, she herself had heard in her childhood. A great man bearing that stone face would be born some day. That was a prophecy.

Ernest could never forget that story. He was very helpful to his mother. He grew up to be a gentle, quiet young man. The Stone Face became his teacher. The child used to watch it for hours.

Once a rumour spread that the great man, who was to bear a resemblance to the Great stone face, had appeared at last. Many years ago, a young man had left the valley and settled at a distant sea port. He became very rich. Then he decided to return to his native place. He was Mr. Gathergold. People welcomed him as the great man because he resembled the great stone face. But Ernest didn’t agree with these people.

Years went on. Ernest grew to be a young man. He drew little attention. He had nothing remarkable. But he was hardworking and kind. He still loved to gaze upon the great stone face. He wondered why the stone faced man was taking so long in coming to that valley.

Mr. Gathergold died as a poor man and was buried. People then agreed that there was no likeness between the ruined merchant and the majestic face upon the mountain.

It so happened that another son of the valley returned to his native valley. He had become a famous commander. The people turned to him blindly and accepted him as the Great Stone Face. But Ernest could not see any similarity between them.

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