The Touchstone is a small pebble that could turn any common metal into Gold.
The writing explained that it was lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles that looked exactly like it. But the secret was this; The real Touchstone would feel warm, while ordinary pebbles are cold.
So the man sold his few belongings, camped on the seashore and began testing the pebbles. He knew that if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down because they were cold, he might pick up the same pebbles hundreds of times. So, when he felt the one he picked up was cold, he threw it into the sea. He spent the whole day doing this but none of them was the touch stone. Yet he went on and on this way. Pick a pebble, throw it into the sea if it was cold. Pick up another, throw it into the sea….this went on and on…
The days stretched into weeks and week into months. But he was not ready to quit…He believed in what he was doing....
Finally, the day arrived….
About noon, he picked up a pebble that was warm….
….and he threw it into the sea before he realized what he had done.
He had formed such a strong habit for throwing the pebbles into the sea that when the one he wanted came along, he still threw it away.