THE BEGGAR KING
Once a country was ruled by a king who had no son to succeed to the throne. Since the king was getting old, he wanted to select a suitable heir to rule the country. The king sent out notices throughout his country. The notices invited every qualified young man in the country for an interview with the king. The outcome of the interview with the king would decide a possible successor to the throne. The only qualification for the candidate was that they should have immense love for their fellow human beings.
Every young man across the country was very excited at the possibilities of being the ruler of the country. A poor young man from a remote village also read the notice and started to prepare for an interview with the king. The man was a kind, hardworking lad but he was very poor due to various circumstances. The man had no good clothes to be presentable in the sight of the king. So the young man worked really hard and saved some money to buy proper clothes and supplies to support him for a long journey to the palace.
After he got his supplies and proper attire for the interview, the young man set out on his quest. He traveled many days and had almost completed the journey when he came upon a poor beggar by the side of the road. The poor beggar sat trembling in the cold, covered only in tattered rags. The beggar extended his arms and pleaded for help. His weak voice croaked, “I’m hungry and cold. Please help me sir.”
The young man was so moved by the pathetic condition of the beggar that he immediately stripped off his new attire and offered it to him. He also provided him with his very limited food which he had carried for the journey. The beggar thanked the man immensely. Since the man had given up his good clothes to the beggar, he was a bit hesitant to go for the interview. However, he gathered enough courage to enter the palace in his old dirty clothes. Upon his arrival at the palace, a king’s attendant showed him the way to the great hall. After a short respite to clean off the journey’s grime, the man was admitted to the throne room for the interview.
The young man bowed low as the king entered the room. When he raised his eyes, he gasped in astonishment as he noticed that the king looked very similar to the beggar he met on the way.
The king saw the shock in the man’s eye and said” Yes, I was the beggar, you met on your way.”
“But why did you dress up like a beggar. You are the king. So, why did you do this to me?” the young man said after gaining some composure.
“Because I had to be sure that you had a good heart and you genuinely love your fellow human beings,” said the king. “I knew that if I came to you as king, you would have done everything you could to impress me. But then I would never have known what is truly in your heart. So I used a ruse. As a beggar I had nothing to offer you. The generosity and love to the one in need without expecting anything in return is the sign of a great heart. Looking at your love and generosity towards the beggar proved that you sincerely love your fellow human beings. This country needs a leader who would work for the welfare of all of the nation, not just the ones who would offer and cater to the throne. You have proved that you are the right person to be my successor,” promised the king.
Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom. Theodore Isaac Rubin
Posted on Sun, July 5, 2020
by Ken Hart