The unhappy king

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ONCE there was a mighty, oh so, mighty king with a short fuse. One night in autumn, the king fell into a deep melancholy.  He could neither eat nor sleep, and tears of unknown origin fell frequently, which infuriated him, triggering angry fits that made those around him quake in fear.

Each day, the king summoned a new adviser from  his circle of esteemed sages to figure out his baffling condition. In they came and out they went — the court physician, the stargazer, the psychic, the herbalist, and the philosopher. All were dismissed as charlatans for their inability to unravel the mystery of the royal black spell that made him so unhappy.

“Surely, there must be one among you, who knows that cause of my sufferings.” But his pathetic grunts and groans were greeted only with awkward, if not cold, silence, for all were wary of his wrath.

Finally, the royal gardener was moved by compassion, for the poor king and slowly, approached his throne. “Come into the garden, majesty, beyond the wall of your imprisonment…I will disclose your dilemma.”  The mighty King, was so desperate and did, what he was told.

When he went out to the garden, for the first in many weeks, he noticed that the bright and vivid colors of summer had faded and the royal garden seemed bare, although not normally bereft of beauty. It was regal in autumn’s brilliant hues of crimson and gold, the air so refreshingly cool and crisp, and the sky pure blue.

“Speak gardener,” the king ordered. “but choose your words carefully, for I seek the truth.”

“Majesty, it is not your body nor your mind that is ailing, it is your soul that is in need of healing. For a while, you are a mighty and privileged king, you are not divine. You’re suffering from a human condition that afflicts us all. Earthly souls ebb and flow in sorrow and joy according to the seasons of emotions, just as the season of the natural world move through of  the cycle of life loss and rebirth.  Days to prepare for the coming of the year’s closure.

Even now, the season of daylight diminishes and the time of darkness increases, but the true light is never extinguished. Like the light on your soul- these are the days of the harvests of the heart. Embrace the ebb and do not fear the darkness, for as night follows the day, light will return and you will know contented hours again…of this I am sure.”

The unhappy king considered this wisdom thoughtfully and asked the gardener how he processed the secret knowledge of inner peace during the season of emotion. The gardener led him to a brass sundial. It read:

“This too, will pass.”

– Inspired by a verse from Edna St. Vincent Malley – “Rhythmn of Life”


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