Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Story

One day, a kind and good king took off his splendid robes and dressed himself in beggars’ rags and left his palace with an alms bowl in his arms.

Walking for several miles, he entered the city walls and began wandering the city square in a slow, uncertain manner, holding out his bowl in a show of mercy. Men and women of stature who had dined with him on several occasions in his kingly palace gave him looks of distain and even his lowliest subjects scoffed at him and showed him no compassion.

With a downtrodden spirit, the king left the city and walked back to his palace. Days went by and the citizens of the country were alarmed. They had heard that their beloved king was sickly. Palace pages pronounced that the king had contracted a mysterious disease.

The Palace seers said that the king was feverish and delirious, proclaiming that every sin in his countryman’s heart produced a diseased black spot that appeared on the king’s skin, causing him great pain and suffering.

The king’s citizens were sad for they loved their king. He was a fair and generous man. At the announcement, hundreds of people trekked to the palace to pay their last respects to their beloved king.

As they paid him homage, they recognized the beggar man in the square who had begged for alms. Ashamed and weeping, they begged for forgiveness. His royal highness in a somber and measured tone replied, “I will always love you, no matter if your heart is hard. Do not weep for me for where I go, beggars and thieves will dine with princes and kings. Never forget this.”

After his death, the country people became the most compassionate and patient people in the land. The End.

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